Outgoing President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) Philip Neville has said in Freetown that the man he lost last Saturdays SLAJ elections to Umaru Fofanah is his President also.
Mr Neville was speaking to Awoko a little after the final elections results were read out at Youyi building where the elections were held.
In the interview Mr Neville was asked about allegations that outside interests like mining companies and political parties had sort to influence the elections. He replied “If that had been the case then it would have been clearly manifested in the outcome of the results but I conducted my campaign singlehandedly nobody financed me I financed myself so the allegation is very very untrue now we see the outcome, perhaps if a mining company had been involved or if a political party had been involved on my side I would have emerged as the winner”
On the allegations that he spent a lot of money on his campaign Mr Neville said “I didn’t spend a lot of money as people imagine. I think I spent between five and ten million that’s going around preparing food and lodging during the campaign that’s very small money it’s about three thousand plus dollars.”
Questioned whether this will make him lose interest in SLAJ and SLAJ activities, Mr Nevillie said “No. What I know is that human beings are very flexible you don’t predict a human beings intention. That will not make me lose interest in the profession as you know I am a major stakeholder in the business so I can’t give up the business I can’t do that because it is the business that I depend on for my livelihood and it is the business that my family depends on so I cannot give it up.”
Questioned about whether the loss will affect his participation in SLAJ, Mr Neville said “Well I will participate but you know that in SLAJ the official spokesman is the President so I will not be speaking as I used to do in the past, I hope that he (Umaru) will speak accurately and correctly in the interest of the members and during his display of words he will be very mindful not to hurt anybody.”
On the question of whether he considers the winner – Umaru Fofana as his President too, Mr Neville answered “He is my President, he has got the mandate of the people he has got the mandate of the journalists so he is my President also. No I am not going to say he is not my President he is my President I will respect him as I used to do, because he used to respect me and we share things in common if he comes to me for assistance and I am in a position to do that I will do that for him just because I love my profession.”
On what his role will be in the new executive since as past President he will be an ex-officio member in the new executive, Mr Neville said “My role in the new executive will not be anything that will be too active. I will just keep at the back and see what they are doing. Like I said if there is any need for them to call on me for assistance I’ll be there to help them. I am somebody very open this is just a friendly exercise it is not a do or die battle. Like I said today is his day my day will come like my day came sometime ago so my day will come one day.” By Kelvin Lewis