Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has described the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as a strong party that is committed to offering hope to the electorate.
He said this while fielding questions from journalists after the inauguration of President Maada Bio of Sierra Leone on Saturday, a statement by Laolu Akande, the vice president’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, noted on Sunday.
Mr Akande quoted Mr Osinbajo as saying “in politics, as you know, there will always be tension, but the party is strong and the leadership and membership of the party are committed to ensuring it remains strong and continues to offer hope to the people.
“I think a lot of the issues will be resolved as we go along.
“This is the normal order of things; there will be disagreements, there will be those who may feel that they need certain preferences or certain things which may not have been done earlier on.
“I don’t think there is any major problem.”
On the significance of the inauguration of Sierra Leone’s President, the vice president said it was a great celebration of democracy as the transition was peaceful from one civilian president to another.
According to him, it signals hope for the people of Sierra Leone as President Maada Bio is a consummate technocrat.
“Bio was the one who handed power to a democratic government as a military leader.
“He also proved over time to be someone who thought over the problems of the country.
“And listening to him and having met with him for close to an hour, I think there is great opportunity and hope for the people of Sierra Leone and I think he is going to do a great job.”
Mr Osinbajo reaffirmed hope that the new president would collaborate with other African leaders to ensure growth and peace on the continent.
He added that “one thing is for certain, Sierra Leone and Nigeria have a long history. Most recently, if you recall, Nigerian troops gave their lives here in Sierra Leone defending the territorial integrity of Sierra Leone, the people and the country.
“President Bio repeated this in my conversation with him, and said how grateful he was.
“We have maintained very good relationship; I believe that relationship will continue.”
The vice president added that many private sector investors were interested in coming to Sierra Leone, stressing that the Nigerian government had good economic relationship with Sierra Leone.
“I think the future is bright for both countries, and the future cooperation is particularly good.’’
Mr Osinbajo said President Muhammadu Buhari had sent his congratulations to the government and people of Sierra Leone as he was very excited about developments in that country.
He said “he (President Buhari) has asked me to convey his very best wishes to the new President and government and also to pledge our continued cooperation and collaboration with the government and people of Sierra Leone.”
Born on May 12, 1964, Maada Bio is the 5th and current President of Sierra Leone since April 4, 2018.
He defeated Samura Kamara of the ruling All People’s Congress in the runoff vote of the 2018 Sierra Leone presidential election with 51.8 per cent of the votes to Kamara’s 48.2 per cent.
Bio succeeded Ernest Bai Koroma as president, who was constitutionally ineligible to run for the presidency having served the maximum two five year terms.
Bio is a retired brigadier in the Sierra Leone Military. He was the military Head of State of Sierra Leone from January 16, 1996 to March 29, 1996 under the National Provisional Ruling Council.