Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 October 2017
The lady tipped to become Sierra Leone’s first female president, possibly in 2023 – Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden – who currently serves as minister of social welfare, children’s and religious affairs, is today being rumoured by newspaper reports to be interested in the 2018 vice presidency. But speaking to the Sierra Leone Telegraph, she categorically denied those rumours.
Dr. Blyden is regarded by many in Sierra Leone as the most popular, hardworking and dedicated minister in the Koroma government.
Her handling of the religious hate crisis in the country, sparked by Nigerian pastor Ajisafe, has increased her popularity even further.
The crisis in not yet over, as the police have only this week handed their investigation report into the malicious conduct of the pastor to the country’s attorney general, who is expected to bring charges of incitement of public disorder anytime soon.
Dr. Blyden is currently in the republic of Niger where she is attending a conference.
Responding to media reports of her interest in the 2018 vice presidency, Dr Blyden said: “I am currently in Niamey – in the Republic of Niger, but my attention has been drawn to a publication in Freetown by the Salone Times newspaper this morning, in which my photograph is placed alongside eight other distinguished APC comrades, whom the newspaper says are vying for the position of Vice Presidency in the next APC led Government.
“I want to make it categorically clear that I have no such intention. Twenty-three years ago, in June 1994, after I became the first ever Sierra Leone woman in History to be elected as President of a University Students Union Government in Sierra Leone, I expressed an intention to be President of Sierra Leone one day. Since then, I have repeatedly stated that this is an ambition of mine – to be President of Sierra Leone.
“Throughout the past twenty-three years of repeatedly stating my ambition to be President, I have never expressed an intention to be a Vice-President.
“It is not going to ever be under consideration by me. I am not contemplating to be Vice President in 2018 or any time in the future. Office of the Vice President is not a position that I have any interest in.
“And for the record, I am not even remotely thinking of running for President in 2018. I am a Cabinet Minister who is currently very well focused on my sacred duties of serving the social welfare, gender and children’s needs of Sierra Leone, as entrusted to me by His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.”(Photo above: Dr Blyden in Niger with a cross-section of the galaxy of First Ladies of West African nations gathered in Niamey – capital of Niger).