By Omar Bah
Bankole Yao Jojo Ahadzie, the dreadlocked scientist and researcher working at the Medical Research Council, also called Banky, has dropped his presidential ambition.
In 2021, Banky announced his bid to run for president but his candidacy was rejected by the Independent Electoral Commission after failing to meet the ten thousand required signatures for nomination. Since then, he has been quiet and even refused to entertain media interviews, insisting he wants to focus on his work.
But speaking in a Star FM exclusive recently, Banky said he dropped his presidential ambition after realising that he doesn’t have the numbers to make any impact in the country’s political arena.
“For me, politics is about being able to have a good number of people who understand your ideology and support you based on that. So, when I realised that I don’t have the numbers because the Gambian electorate is not ready for the change that I am advocating for I decided to quit until such time that the Gambian electorate understands the meaning of politics,” he said.
Banky said he was shocked that despite weeks of selling his agenda, he couldn’t even get the required ten thousand signatures for his nomination.
Asked why he didn’t join any of the political parties, Banky explained: “When I announced my intention to contest for the presidency, some parties approached me but none of them was willing to incorporate my ideas. I will not join any political party that is unwilling to incorporate my ideology. I have my own opinion on how this country should be governed, and that must be respected.”
He said the idea that people would have an opinion and want you to believe in it is misguided. “Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, and the way I see things will be different from how others will see them,” he said.
Asked about his controversial view that cannabis should be legalised and commercialised in the country, Banky insisted that any political party interested to work with him in the future would have to incorporate his idea that cannabis should be commercialised.
“It is my position that cannabis should be legalised in The Gambia just like it has been in other African countries. For me, if alcohol can be legalised, then cannabis can definitely be legalised,” he said.
He said the economic benefits of cannabis outweigh the negatives.
Banky said the opposition should come together in 2026 and unseat the NPP.
He admitted that UDP leader Ousainu Darboe will make a good president but argued that he cannot understand why people are scared of voting for him.
“I think he will make an excellent president, but I don’t understand why people don’t trust him, so because of that, I do not think UDP can win a presidential election alone,” he said.