By Abu Sorie
The million dollar unanswered question right now on the lips of many political analysts following developments in the run-up to flag bearer elections in the country’s two major political parties expected next year is, will the ruling All Peoples Congress suffer the same fate as the opposition SLPP, with too many people aspiring to replace the current APC leader?
It could be recalled that after the 2012 flag bearer contest, in which about nineteen candidates vied in the SLPP for the position, the party suffered from a lot of internal divisions, leading to some prominent members jumping ship to the APC with their support bases, including Usu Boie Kamara who after the election was appointed by the APC government as Minister of Trade and Industry.
Too many candidates vying for the party’s flag bearer position, political analysts say, was one of the main reasons the SLPP contested the 2012 presidential election as a very weak and impotent entity.
On the other hand, the APC went into their flag bearer contest fielding only one candidate – Ernest Bai Koroma – who had the overwhelming support of the party’s executive branches and grassroots followings.
The solidity of the APC into the 2012 elections made their standard bearer boast even before the elections that there was going to be no run-off; and indeed, so was it.
But now with eight people said to be eyeing the APC 2018 flag bearer position, many people wonder if this will not create the kind of personality and regional conflicts that now plague the SLPP.
However, amidst the uncertainty surrounding how many more prominent people will emerge to register interest in vying for the APC flag bearer position, the current Chairman and Leader who the party’s youth wing are clamoring for and advocating to remain in that position even after 2018 has said that this is not the time for politics; adding that those who are going about campaigning are only detracting the party from its agenda of delivering on the election promises it made to the electorate in 2018, which is very important for its re-election in 2018.
The APC leader made it categorically clear recently at the Makeni APC Youth League Conference that those vying to become the party’s next flag bearer should be mindful that their ambition does not divide the party, as it has done in the SLPP.
He warned that anybody behaving otherwise risks being relegated to the bench.
He stated further that when the time comes, the APC party will sit down and decide on a single candidate that will be acceptable to the entire party.