President Julius Maada Bio is indeed the Father of Democracy in Sierra Leone
By: Festus J. Lahai
The story of Democracy in Sierra Leone will never be complete without President Julius Maada Bio’s name. Being one of the military officers who deposed the dictatorial regime of APC’s Joseph Saidu Momoh in 1992 and later became Head of State after his predecessor, Captain Valentine Strasser, was relieved of his duties.
President Bio took power at a time when the country was transitioning from a one-party system of government to democracy. In the NPRC, he served in various positions: Chief Secretary of State, Chief of Defence Staff, Minister of Information, Minister of Marine Resources, Deputy Head of State and Head of State. He was then promoted to Brigadier by the military because of his diligent service to the Army and the NPRC regime.
As Head of State, Brig. Julius Maada Bio oversaw the first democratic elections in Sierra Leone in three decades. As promised, he peacefully handed over the power to President Ahmed Tejan Kabah of the Sierra Leone People’s Party in 1996.
When the people of Sierra Leone and the international community agreed to the Bintumani Conference to establish the Election before Peace movement, some elements within the NPRC 1, headed by Captain Valentine E.M. Strasser, tried to overturn what was generally accepted as the ‘voice of every Sierra Leonean’. For the will of the people to prevail, there was an internal coup within the Armed Forces, and as a Child of Purpose, someone who loves and fears God, President Bio was qualified by the divine plan of the Almighty to lead the Democratic Transition of our beloved country.
At 32, Brig. JM Bio became one of the youngest Heads of State of the Republic of Sierra Leone-a young man just as how King David at 17-was anointed by Prophet Samuel to be the King of Israel because his heart was right in the presence of God.
When this great man handed over power to the democratically elected Government of the Late President Ahmed Tejan Kabba, he immediately retired as Brigadier from the Armed Forces and went to build his academic credentials. in both the U.S. and France.
Fully equipped mentally and physically, he was anointed by God to come and save our country from evil forces who had darkened the minds of many and relegated Sierra Leone to the bottomless pit of all United Nations Indexes for over five decades.
Bio showed up in Makeni as a Young Man, and a contender for the top seat in the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) but was denied by men, not by God.
Like Joseph who became Prime Minister in Egypt, His Excellency Julius Maada Bio appeared in the spotlight for the 2012 elections as Flagbearer of the SLPP. He was again denied to lead Sierra Leone. As God’s divine servant, determined to serve his people, he did not give up.
So in 2018 when his time came, his fame went afire, and the whole world knew that God has given Sierra Leone someone to liberate his people and take them to the promised land.
As Head of State, Bio’s first Peace meeting with the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) leader Foday Sankoh in the Ivorian city of Yamoussoukro was the Genesis that brought everlasting peace to Sierra Leone; putting an end to the 11 years of civil war.
Today, President Bio has proven it again, just as he promised the people that he will work with democratic institutions to strengthen and improve their working environment. As the Father of Democracy in Sierra Leone, and without delay, he gave the nod to the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) to announce the date for the Presidential elections. Prior to this, the Press Secretary at State House, Yusuf Keketoma Sandy in a press release informed Sierra Leoneans about dates for Parliamentary, Local Council and Chieftaincy elections.
Bio’s administration has assured all and sundry that 2023 multitier elections will be free, fair and credible and the results will be accepted by all.
To restore our country’s dignity at the international stage, President Bio has taken global positions as the Chairman and Head of the Committee Ten Heads of State and Government (C-10) and also Chairman of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).
Bio’s administration has put Sierra Leone forward for the United Nations Non-permanent Security Council member and backed by other African countries for the first time in four to five decades.
Having repealed Part 5 of the Public Order Act, 1965, he pioneered the Gender Bill, established the Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion and other important laws in order to create a peaceful and stable environment for every Sierra Leoneans.
This is the son of the Land, anointed by our ancestors and the Almighty God to change the story of this nation and his work is not done yet. This nation would never settle for less again and President Bio represents that future. A future that would make Sierra Leone a proud nation again among its fellow nations in the new and emerging world order.