Sierra Leone: Hearty Cheers To President Bio As He Turns 60 Today

Sierra Leone: Hearty Cheers To President Bio As He Turns 60 Today

Sunday, May 12, 2024 5:15 pm


President Julius Maada Bio

President Julius Maada Bio


Abubakar Hashim

President Julius Maada Bio is 60 today, May 12, 2024. His journey so far, is quite eventful, with lots of twists and turns, with joys and sorrows, with achievements and challenges, with triumphs and travails.

He was born in a tiny village called Tihun, in the southern Bonthe District. He was the 33rd out of 35 children born to a prominent Sherbro Paramount Chief, Charlie Bio 11 of Sogbini Chiefdom.

After finishing primary school in Tihun, he was sent to neighbouring Pujehun District, to live with his elder sister, Agnes, a primary school teacher, who passed away recently.

Late Agnes became his guardian and mother. She enrolled him at Bo school, rising to become a school prefect and graduated in 1984 at 20.

He then enrolled at the military academy at Benguema in 1985 at 21, under head of cadet, Fallah Sewa.

He was commissioned 2nd Lt in 1987 at 23, posted to Lungi garrison in 1990, then to ECOMOG in Liberia, together with Valentine Strasser, Solomon Musa, others.

When they were redeployed from Liberia to Sierra Leone, they were assigned in Daru barracks by late President Momoh and they later staged a coup in 1992.

At this time, he was Minister of information and a key member of the NPRC ruling council.

I was privileged to conduct an exclusive interview with him. He spoke extensively on the rot of the nation, but was quick to state that the military intervention was only temporary.

On January 16, 1996, he ousted Strasser and handed over power on March 29, 1996 to late President Tejan Kabbah.
He then retired from the military and was granted political asylum in the US, returned home in 2005 to join the ruling SLPP.

He contested as a candidate in 2012 with 37%, defeated by Ernest Koroma with 58%. In 2018, Bio defeated Samura Kamara with 51.8% to 48.2%, returned a second term in 2023.

In 2020, during the thick of COVID 19, I interviewed him again as President Bio. He spoke well, in eloquent language, on the key reasons his government performed well, economically, during the global ravage of COVID 19. I found him to be articulate and well grounded on issues of prominent importance.

The story of President Bio at 60 is a story of a great hero. Like Olusegun Obasanjo who was a two term leader, destined to rule by divine intervention, Bio will celebrate his birthday today with a deep reflection and introspection.

The current situation in the country desperately needs his acquiescence and fatherly support. Sierra Leone is deeply divided along ethnic and tribal colouration. The once Athens of West Africa, needs a united approach to national development, something similar to the late President Kabbah s strategy to national cohesion and development.

Happy Birthday Mr President

Happy Birthday Mr President!

*Abubakar Hashim is the West Africa Bureau Chief of the NEWS Magazine based in Sierra Leone

Join The Conversation

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.