The Acting Principal of the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology (MMCET) polytechnic, Dr. Philip John Kanu credited the Ministry of Higher and Technical Education, lecturers, staff, students, the police force and the college’s security for the peaceful, transparent and accountable conduct of this year’s elections which he attributed to the collective efforts of all stakeholders reminding students that acquiring quality education should be their topmost priority for which his administration would force them to become responsible citizens.
The major decision taken by the college administration that was applauded by all stakeholders was that all students must vacate the campus immediately after voting and listen to AYV and Star Radio for the election results.
Dr. Kanu also revealed that his administration examined the causes for last year’s botched elections that resulted to violence and destruction of college property, the reason they consulted all stakeholders this year as well as the three presidential candidates to take decisions underscoring that all external factors such as past students, lecturers and staff, that influenced past elections, were removed in addition to firmly warning them to stay out of the entire process revealing that campaigns and manifestoes were conducted and declared in the open to the satisfaction of all parties, underscored that his administration provided all the support to adequately prepare the presidential candidates and commended the management of AYV and Star television stations for the opportunity given to the presidential candidates to debate and campaign through their stations.
Dr. Philip John Kanu also revealed that this is the second Students’ Union election conducted since his appointment a year ago and clarified that he is not interested in any of the candidates but the one who would seek the best interest of students recalling his days as President of the National Union of Sierra Leone Students (NUSS) and disclosed that some students who were arrested last week during the campaign period have been suspended indefinitely until the matter is thoroughly investigated intimating that the culprits were shown the CCTV footage of their disorderly behavior but stressed that not all students are bad as 99.9% are very good, the reason the bad ones will be weeded out.
He furthered informed that the three presidential candidates “are all matured and solid”, that they slept in the same place on the eve of the elections, ate breakfast and lunch, voted and even travelled together in the same vehicle to the two other campuses of Congo Cross and Brookfields on election day accompanied by the Warden of Students to demonstrate peace, tolerance and non-violence to their supporters affirming that this is the turning point in the history of the college and frowned at the use of the word camps but groups to which the various candidates belong.
According to the Acting Principal, the responsible Chairmen of the presidential candidates handed over the students who were involved in skirmishes and commended all for their unflinching support to the conduct of the credible elections.
The Regional Police Commander West, Acting Inspector General of Police Thomas Mustapha Lahai said the three campuses of the polytechnic were peaceful which he attributed to through planning to curb indiscipline that has the potential to undermine development affirming that there was police presence before, during and after the elections reiterating that police presence was very visible all over the three campuses.
All the representatives/observers of the presidential candidates asserted that they are satisfied with the electoral process revealing that there were 600 eligible voters for the governorship election and 500 for the presidency but clarified that only fully paid up students were qualified to vote and must present their identity cards.