By Amadou Jadama
In his address at the country’s 54th independence anniversary yesterday at the McCarthy Square, President Adama Barrow called on Gambians to show more patience and patriotism, adding that his government is fully committed to its mandate.
“As patriots and good citizens, I urge you to build on these gains and allow the nation to develop. I also urge you to be patriotic citizens and contribute effectively to nation-building,” he said.
He continued: “As the dictum goes, ‘Rome was not built in a day’. Therefore, as Gambians, we have to learn to be patient, realistic and positive. There must be the required resolve, determination and commitment for us to succeed in bringing about the desired change in our welfare. As a government, we have demonstrated our willingness to consult, listen, involve everyone and act on correct advice and knowledge”.
The Coalition Government, he added, has shown strong leadership by consulting where prudent; by making appropriate decisions in all relevant circumstances and by taking necessary action where required.
“I ask, therefore, that you evaluate government’s performance in relation to the resources and circumstances that exist. We are committed to implementing the National Development Plan in partnership with all sectors of society. We have already started the procedural requirements to implement the NDP projects,” he added.
Barrow added that the government has created an enabling environment for public-private partnership, and is set on high gear to host the organisation of Islamic Conference later this year.
“I assure you all that we will never abandon any of our responsibilities. In consequence, be reassured of the political will, political commitment and political resolve of my Government to develop the nation,” he said.
He went on: “I advise that we continue to demonstrate patriotic citizenship through constructive action and service at all times. Let us express our political awareness and maturity by manifesting a high degree of civic responsibility, and by projecting the image and true value and honour of the typical Gambian through our shared values”.
The Gambian leader further adduced that it is the responsibility of government to unite and exploit individual and collective potential and strengths.
“The reclamation of our freedom should equip us to redefine nationhood and patriotism as genuine Gambian nationals. We must love our nation, and sacrifice in times of need and distress. To this end, we must redefine and embrace nationalism to give it a humane character,” he stressed.
He said the occasion accords the nation the opportunity to take stock of the successes, challenges and progress since the attainment of nationhood, “The National day also provides an opportunity to hold the Government in office accountable to the people”.
President Barrow said the day carries multiple meanings and significance for the country.
“It is not simply about self-rule and freedom from foreign domination; most importantly, it is about freedom of thought and action, leading to our growth and progress as individuals, families, communities, organisations and as a nation. We have learnt also that Independence rests on working with responsible leadership that allows for diversity, choice and acting on correct decisions,” he added.
Speaking further about some of the achievements registered by his administration, Barrow said it is evident that his administration has succeeded in stabilizing the country politically, “Hence the vibrant political atmosphere in the country. The Commissions set up by government are progressing smoothly to establish the truth, build trust, ensure social cohesion and forge cooperation across all segments of Gambian society”.