The former Deputy Defence Minister in the Tejan Kabbah led administration and former High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Joe Blell has declared his intention to contest for the National Chairman/Leadership position of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples’ Party.
Speaking to Global Times in an exclusive interview over the weekend, Ambassador Blell said his main objective was to unite the party for ultimate victory in the next general and presidential elections.
He said the SLPP was losing a lot politically from its current state of disunity and urged party members and supporters to put all their differences aside and work together for peace and unity.
“A lot has gone wrong, but together we can all fix it together and that is what I represent”, he told Global Times.
The former Minister said only people like him have the solution to the current infighting in the SLPP. “I’m coming to the race because I have the solution and I know I am trustworthy and capable of attracting party stalwarts to work towards peace and unity”
Ambassador Blell served in the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces in the 1960s. Between1993-2002, he served as Sierra Leone’s High Commissioner to Nigeria. He was recalled in 2002 and appointed Deputy Defence Minister in the SLPP administration, a position he held until 2007.
Ambassador Blell, a double Masters Degree holder in Political Science and Development Economist, from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada and Diploma in Peace and Conflict Studies from Austria said uniting SLPP requires commitment and dedication to peace and reconciliation. “We will not wait any longer for peace, we will pursue peace at all cost”, he said.
Ambassador Blell said if elected Chairman/Leader of the SLPP, he would have to seek the support of his personal friends and friends of the party across the globe to raise funds for the cash strapped opposition party.
He would not say who his friends were but expressed gratitude to former Nigerian Military rulers like General Babangida, General Abdul Salam Abubakarr and the current Sultan of Sokoto who he said made his stay in Nigeria successful.
The former High Commissioner was awarded Officer of the Order of Niger (OON) in 2002 in Abuja, Nigeria.