By Aji Fatou Faal
President Adama Barrow has called on Gambians to keep away from ethnic or inter-community disputes over “worldly gains and press ahead to pursue collective gains”.
Delivering the state of the nation address at the National Assembly yesterday morning, the head of state cited the bloody June 18 riots at Faraba Banta, saying the incident made it imperative for him to re-echo the call for restraint, unity, civility in actions and living as law-abiding citizens.
“As Muslims and Christians, guided by the strict spiritual values we preach and live by, we cannot trample on one another’s rights, not to mention vandalising property, or taking innocent lives illegally. Our common cultural values of loving one another, sharing and providing support to family and neighbours are enough to stop us from harbouring any form of anger or hostility towards any human being,” he emphasised.
Barrow said there could have been a national uprising or civil war during the notorious 22 repressive years of dictatorship but, Gambians lived in peace until the situation changed through peaceful means. He said that is what bewildered the world.
Waxing philosophical, the pithy quote-loving president said “whatever land or wealth is accumulated leads to nothing but the grave”. In consequence, he continued, nothing should matter more to us than how well we live, what good we do in this world, and what legacy we leave. The president therefore called on Gambians to unite, work together and develop the country as one people, one nation. “This is not about party politics but national pride and identity, as it is about our future, destiny, children and the generations that would come after them,” he said.
Barrow commended citizens and friends of The Gambia, especially development partners for standing by the country through thick and thin. “My government appreciates all of you, together with your efforts, sacrifices, sense of responsibility and contributions to peace and to our development and wellbeing. I pray that the Almighty Allah continues to bless us, guide us to everlasting success and grant us peace and tranquility at all times”, Barrow said.
He also made a lengthy presentation of his government’s achievements in many areas since coming to power, covering agriculture, infrastructure, communication, youths among others.