Fepulea'i humbled with Salega No.1 win
The preliminary results for the electoral constituency of Salega No.1. shows that the Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) candidate has secured the seat for Samoa's XVII Parliamentary term.
It is a result that Fepuleai Fa'asavalu Faimata Su'a says came unexpectedly as he did not think he was capable of defeating the former M.P. and election opponent, To'omata Aki Tuipea.
"It wasn't just that," Fepuleai told the Samoa Observer.
"As you are aware, I was also up against the leader of the Tautua Samoa Party and an economist, Afualo Luagalau Wood Salele so it was not an easy battle.
"I am a nobody compared to my election opponents and I am nothing but a servant with a strong desire to serve and help with the development of Samoa and my constituency."
Preliminary results show that Fepulea'i is ahead of Salega No.1.'s election race with a total of 374 votes, with former M.P. To'omata trailing just behind with a total of 361 votes.
Leader of Tautua Samoa, Afualo collected 359 votes, and another candidate, Leumuava Asalemo Tuimauga gathered 62 votes.
When asked to explain how he felt when the preliminary results were released, Fepulea'i smiled and said: "I was shocked!
"I didn't think I was capable of winning against veteran politicians."
But this was not Fepulea'i's first time to contest a General Election.
He also ran for Parliament, but unsuccessfully, in the 2016 General Election under the banner of the Tautua Samoa Party.
Despite winning the tough election contest according to Friday's result, Fepulea'i said his battle is not over.
"We are done with the pre-polling and the main election on Friday. But we still have to count the special votes and the results of the final count.
"As you can see, To'omata is not far behind but we still have to count the special votes. So it's too early to be celebrating."
However, as a Christian, Fepulea'i said he is placing his trust in God whom he relied on from the beginning of his preparation.
"I worked and prayed really hard for this (election), I did my very best, sacrificed a lot just to get to where I am today. I humble myself and accept this result, but the glory goes back to He who made it happen for me.
"He instilled this courage and knowledge in me to fight and pursue this wish, and I strongly believe that he carried me through it.
"And as we wait for the final results, I am once again placing my trust and faith in the Lord."
Fepulea'i said whatever the results will be, he will humbly accepts it.
"This is a test of my faith," he said. "I am not worried and relying heavily on God to guide me through this."
He also took the opportunity to thank all of his families, friends, supporters and F.A.S.T. family for the ongoing support in his journey.
The 47-year-old is a businessman and the owner of the Island Trust Refrigeration.
Running for office, was not an easy decision to make, said Fepuleai.
"For your information, I did not wake up in the morning and decide I should prepare for this. I have been preparing for this for a very long time,” he said.
Fepuleai said his desire to run under a different party banner this time around was a result of his drive to see a change in the way the government operates.
While he acknowledges the work and efforts of the Government in the development of Samoa, Fepuleai believes that there are still some areas that need to be prioritised in the future.
"The livelihoods of our people is key," said Fepuleai. "We can have big developments and big houses, but what's the point when most of our people are living in hardship every day?
"That, in my opinion, is something we should really look at. I am a true believer that if our children are well educated, we will not have to question the prosperity of this nation in the future.
"Moreover, I also believe that if we all work together in building up (our children) starting from our families, we will not have to worry about tomorrow and the future.
"Everything begins at home, so if we build a strong and solid foundation for them, we will not have to deal with the many issues we face nowadays."
Fepuleai Fa'asavalu Faimata Su'a is married to Lucy Fa'asavalu. They have three children.