Even as the nation continues to mourn the death of late President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, the former Leader of the Sierra Leone People’s Party, John Oponjo Benjamin was busy this week openly campaigning in his maternal home town of Kailahun District for the post of flag bearer of the SLPP .
Our resident Kailahun correspondent said Mr. Benjamin declared his intention to contest for the flagbearer of the SLPP for the 2018 Presidential and Parliamentary elections at a meeting with a group of women at Mrs. Navo Kaikai’s compound.
Mr. Benjamin made the declaration after the burial and funeral ceremony on Monday of Albert Jambai, the former SLPP Kailahun District Chairman who later became the party’s Eastern Region Secretary.
He appealed for support and vowed to defeat Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio and all other candidates at the National Delegates Conference, maintaining that he has what it takes to give the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) a run for their money in the 2018 Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
JOB as he is also known, also took a swipe at other possible candidates particularly Mr. Andrew Keili.
Many say, the former Chairman’s declaration and utterances in Kailahun have lent credence to wide spread speculations that he sabotaged the 2012 SLPP Presidential candidate, Julius Maada Bio in other for him to take over as flag bearer in 2018, an accusation he has persistently denied.
Meanwhile, a close source to JOB told Global Times recently that the former Chairman/Leader had secretly bragged that some top APC operatives had promised him the Presidency if he were to become flag bearer.
Our correspondent said, news of Mr. Benjamin’s declaration was roundly dismissed and condemned by party stalwarts who accused him of leaving behind a divided party. “JOB doesn’t know how hated he is in Kailahun and within the SLPP”, says a senior party member.