Almost five years after its 2017 National Delegates’ Conference (NDC), the APC returned to Makeni on 18th – 20th February 2023 and this time, through the ballot box, elected Dr Samura Kamara as its Presidential candidate.

Kamara’s election affirms the 2017 choice of the party’s former Chair and Leader, then President Ernest Bai Koroma. Kamara was elected through an inspiringly transparent, inclusive, free, and credible process.

In the full glare of the aspirants, their representatives, the police, and cameras with live feeds, over 1,500 delegates, were vetted and confirmed.

One by one, they endured inordinate long hours to cast their ballots. The elections ended in a compelling victory for Samura Kamara who earned almost 1400 votes, over 80% of the total ballots. Way behind him, the others started taking positions, all 17 of them, including void ballots, scooped a negligent 227 votes, less than 25% of the total tally.

But despite the crushing defeat or because of it, the competitors are coming across as people who were satisfied with the conduct of the elections. Unlike the acrimony that characterized the outcome of the 2017 NDC, the results of the 2023 Conference have not only been accepted, but the contestants have also shown courage in defeat and comradeship by congratulating the winner.

Although he stopped short of offering his support, Dr Richard Konteh, widely respected for his fearlessness was the most formidable competitor in terms of the robustness of his campaign, both on the ground and in the media. Konteh, who polled the second highest number of votes, 88 votes against Kamara’s almost 1,400 on his Twitter handle, congratulated Samura Kamara.

“The APC today concluded its NDC and elected its Flagbearer and other National Officers. Let me congratulate all those elected and wish them well. Special congratulations to Dr. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara” said Dr. Richard Konteh.

Third place Dr Kelfala Marah, who polled 58 votes was one of the competitors who were so confident about the victory that he unveiled a truly captivating vision plan, has also twitted his congratulatory message.

“I congratulate my brother and comrade, Dr Samura Kamara on election as the flagbearer of our glorious party, the APC. Together, we will deliver 2023.

Honourable Kemoh Sesay, former minister of Political Affairs widely acclaimed to be a seasoned strategist, shared a voice note in which he congratulated Dr Samura Kamara and offered his support to Kamara’s aspiration of becoming Sierra Leone’s next President.

Alimamy Petito Koroma, one-time National Organising Secretary of the APC, did not do much of a campaign on the ground, may have scored only 6 votes but could lend his experience in shoring up the party’s organizational capacity and in reclaiming the strong grip it had on the strategic district of Kambia.

In a terse but strong statement, Koroma congratulated the newly elected Flagbearer and National Officers.

“Congratulations to the newly elected Flagbearer, Dr Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara, and National Officers. Thank you to the APC and its supporters. We must now endure to the finish line and win the June 2023 elections.”

Abubakar Kalokoh, known for being boisterous and theatrical, said in a statement shared via social media that:

“We must now direct our energy toward supporting our flagbearer-elect, Dr Samura Matthew Wilson Kamara. It is an obligation on our part to remain united and help him win the June 24, 2023 contest.”

On his part, Kamara, acknowledging that the APC has very limited time to campaign, demonstrated magnanimity in victory. In his brief acceptance statement, he said that every single one of his competitors now constitutes his campaign team. He appealed for unity in the pursuit of the goal of winning the June 24 elections.

“We do not have time, we must all come together. There is no Team, all the Flagbearers now constitute the team and together we would work to remove the SLPP and rebuild the country.”

If these words of strong support are translated into action – the energies, experiences, and resources are mobilized in favour of the Samura Kamara campaign, then nothing under the sun will deny the APC its victory in the June 24 polls.