In an exclusive interview with the leading SLPP flagbearer aspirant at his private residence at Juba on Friday 6th January 2017, Brigadier (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio described himself as “a man of peace”.
Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio assured the Global Times that he was prepared to do anything “for peace to return to the SLPP”.
According to Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio, he finds it difficult to negotiate with members of the so-called Alliance within the SLPP because the group has no identifiable leadership. “It is difficult to negotiate with a group of people who do not have a broad-based agenda…Their only agenda is to see me out of the flagbearer race…And that is a red line”, Brig (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio told the Global Times.
According to the SLPP Presidential hopeful, some people of goodwill have approached him to initiate dialogue within the party. “I have told them that, I am prepared to meet anybody, anywhere and at any time as long as they are genuinely committed to a peaceful resolution of the impasse in our party”, Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio said.
The SLPP flagbearer aspirant called on his colleague flagbearer aspirants in the SLPP to put the interest of the party above their personal interests. “It is almost impossible for the APC to defeat a united SLPP…That is all the more reason why all of us in the SLPP should be prepared to make concessions in order for peace to prevail in our party…For my part, I have already told some of my strong supporters that, in the name of peace, we have to make some sacrifices…And I mean what I say…I am a man of my word”, Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio said.
According to the former Military Head of State, he made a lot of personal sacrifices for peace to return to Sierra Leone. “Mrs. Haja Zainab Bangura is correct to have said that, I championed the peace process in Sierra Leone”, Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio said.
According to the former Military Head of State, two of his West African colleague Heads of State at the time wanted him to continue in office after he overthrew Capt. Valentine Strasser. “I told them that, the interest of the country is far more important to me than my personal interest…I was never forced to conduct elections in 1996…It was a personal commitment I made and I wanted to prove to the world that I am a man of my word…I overthrew Capt. Valentine Strasser because he wanted to stay in office against the will of the people of Sierra Leone…That is all the more reason why I decided to pursue the electoral process and after the elections in 1996, I handed over power peacefully to the elected President, Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and I exited the tumultuous political scene”, Brig (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio said.