William Shakespeare once wrote in his lines, “the world is too much for us, getting and spending we lay waste our energy, little we see the nature that is ours”, men toil day and night without finding time to pay attention to the glorious gifts of nature, the moon, stars, seas, hills, mountains, snow falls and the rest of the things nature has endowed us with. Also the gift of President Adama Barrow to the Gambians. Most of us are yet to see the positive reasons why Allah sent him to the Gambia for a divine assignment. The past regimes in the Gambia and Nigeria beleaguered the current tenants of power with retinue of gross liabilities economically, politically and in the area of national security. Only time and it will be very soon, people will begin to appreciate and cherish Barrow presidency.
Having been elected and sworn in as the Executive President of the Gambia, a little unknown, humble, simple Politician provoked anxiety and pleasure in the hearts of many people, who really became desirous to know more about his background and other stories that catapulted him to such sudden incredible height. I made strigent effort to chart with a few Gambians and Nigerians, who were close to him before his assumption of office. Kindly see a capsule summation of their responses, “a simple, unassuming, honest and morally sound inexperienced Politician” the only departing view was from the person who spoke more on his integrity. He qualified him in this manner, “an estate Agent who managed a few properties for people, mostly Fulas, Serrahules of the Gambian descent. He was very generous in his honesty that none of his Clients ever faulted him on remittances, and there was no record of any that withdrew properties from him till his resignation to join active politics.
Having formally assumed office, he declared and unveiled the face of the new Gambia to the entire world. I often enjoy this air of infinite enthusiasm whenever opportunities to write or comment about President Barrow come up. This is because his stories portray rewards from industry, honesty, patience and perseverance, and the metamorphosis from grass to grace, that ALLAH’s destiny for anyone can not be obliterated. As people push, punish, persecute you to distance you from realizing it, they will even discover been possible agents of God to getting you closer and closer to realizing it.
Barrow’s election was funded by the Almighty Allah through market people, the youths on the streets, men and women tiling lands to earn a living and thousands of the downtrodden who milled out in great numbers at the peril of their own blood to vehemently vote out Jameh. His election became the very first peaceful democratic transition since independence, from a tenant of power to an opposition group without recourse to gun barrels or martial music. With his firm promise to demystify corruption, poverty, press bondage, insecurity, inequality, ensure accountability and to reposition our youths, the whole hell became loose with criticisms and attacks coming in different directions.
Few months ago, President Barrow sacked four Managing Directors from office, a move that took everyone by surprise, particularly by this same seemingly quiet man. Shorty after this, a group of 9 NIA officials were docked to answer different charges ranging from lesser crimes to critical cases. Those charged in these cases under reviewed had already being dismissed from office. The hurricane still blows around and no one knows the next victims, so people are simply crossing their hands waiting for the unpredictable hurricane. As people were being sacked, this same hurricane became favorable to a few people who were brought back to service, the likes of CP Sanyang, the newly recalled officers of the Police service and State Intelligence Service like Bojang.
Again few weeks ago, the Minister of Justice under Presidential directives approved the freezing of $5M worth of Assets belonging to the past President Jameh, an interesting social twist meant to send a strong signal to all the Gambians, that the new face of the Gambia under Barrow’s presidency recognizes no sacred cow or immune personality. With this, those who felt they were untouchables in the Gambia are now fidgeting and running helter skater. The past Minister of Interior and others took to marathon races to escape the wrath and fang of the invading hurricane, which can only be avoided for the time being before our incomparable, never tired, courageous Justice Minister catches up on them.
Just basking on the aforementioned cases, I read an interesting report from the Gambia on the effacing Jameh’s statue carrying a child, symbolizing the popular Gambian revolution. This gigantic portrait must have been there for quite a while, or could even be as old as the revolution date. This issue elicited many actions and reactions, and virtually everyone that so far submitted made very significant and intelligent inputs. The issue is very topical and contemporary owing to the current situation in the Gambia, and I will equally want to lend my own voice to justify the removal from security perspective, and they are as inter alia,
- The new face of the Gambia should be brand new, and not mixture of dirt and stenches of a rejected old order. Anything that has been pronounced bad is bad and should be rejected in its entirety. Allowing it to stay means that the institutional weaknesses that enabled evil thrive under Jameh and the principal actors that participated in it, and oiled the system are still very much in charge. These troubling perceptions, whether accurate or not must be addressed frontally by this regime and statue obliteration is a stronger language for such.
- Under Jameh, things really worsened dramatically in twenty years or more. Indeed indiscipline and impunity are some of most serious challenges Barrow’s presidency will have to confront. Such action will continually remind our Citizens to be consistently disciplined, respect rules and obey the law. This will be a lesson to political leaders to do the sae, and as usual to confirm that they will lead from the front.
- Any day the statue had stayed longer than the day of its demolition, would have meant a propaganda victory to a party and a President that were willfully voted out of office. This is a phenomenon that needs to be nurtured, moderated and mobilized for the overall good of inculcating discipline in the new Gambia. There are bitter lessons to be leant from this by our past, current and upcoming leaders. In Nigeria, the same thing was done by a few states that named certain streets after the then President Sani Abacha. These states went ahead to remove every known symbols and identities of this same ruler for misruling and crashing the ship of governance in the Nigeria. Even the military barracks named after him dismantled every resemblance or close approximation of his identity and existence, even in his state, home-town and village.
- Jameh, being a leader of a strong political party, which is currently in opposition, would have meant a leadership direction for his people, if his statue had remained there longer. The evils that men do must inter with their bones. He is gone for bad, so let his carcasses go with him.
- Corruption monies, extremity of man’s inhumanity to man and institutionalized avarice create unproductive society with weird incentives. Today, Gambians best and brightest people are attracted not to productive endeavors and sectors like agriculture and manufacturing, but get-rich-quick schemes particularly in the telecoms, financial services, wholesale and retail trade, extractive industries that appear to offer quick returns without creating jobs, adding very little value or doing little or nothing. Whole generations of Gambians now believe that not only does corruption and bad leadership pay very well, but handwork and honesty do not pay at all. This has to change and only under Barrow presidency will the Gambians borrow the antecedents to handle this headlong.
- The statue well sited and centrally located at the national gate was sensitive and strategic; it is a welcoming gate of reception for every visitor to the Gambia. It will be speaking negatively to the people and visitors with a greatly amplified voice. Duration is as important to them as volume for conveying a message and creating a public concern that Jameh is indispensible. Allowing it longer would have meant to keep his perpetrated crimes in the lead of newspapers, images, impressions throughout the Gambia. This is as long as it is possible, as even decent people cannot ignore indecent observations, as it is often natural to be pushed to talk and discuss such indecency. Gambian government did very well under Barrow presidency by stopping these parties and individuals from realizing these dastardly dreams.
- Allowing Jameh’s statue there would have meant granting unending coverage and unpaid publicity to irresponsibity and criminality. Such cheap and wide publicity will motivate and encourage others, at a time most multinationals like Cocoa Cola, lever brothers, Cadbury and the rest are looking for money to keep their product lines on advertisement showcases weekly, then here in the Banjul Seat of power, a priceless advertisement is offered to Jameh’s corruption, absurdities and criminality free of charge without solicitation.
- Finally, if he Jameh retains his statue there, where will the statue of the current occupant of the office be sited? It simply means the current tenant of presidency only documentarily exists, while physically and sculpturally Jameh is still in charge.
- The statue of a military man carrying a baby, who bud-oozed into power sacrilegiously through the barrels of the gun, forcing an elderly legitimate occupant of the office into exile is an anathema in every democratic ramification. It passes a wrong message to the right people, our youths, therefore it needed to be dismantled. It tantamount to painful recollections of the past to allow it longer in the Gambia.
- Again the baby Jameh was holding then was probably between 1-2 years, and after 22 years should be 24-25 years. He still carry’s the same baby, refusing him to crawl, move around, feed, talk and interact with others to determine his future, his country and the way forward. Does he want the baby to be dumb, deaf, crippled or incarcerated? The baby, now an adult was one of those that said, enough is enough, you have got to go man!
As I was concluding, my Gambian taxi driver inadventedly took me through the Banjul Gate on my way home. I observed it is a drive through currently, a forbidden thoroughfare under the authoritarian Jameh. An English adage tenets it as, one man’s food is another man’s poison. While in Economics, it is said, one man’s expenditure is another man’s income. There is this air of windy, sunny atmosphere of freedom for all, especially the presence of innocent excited children playing around the arena during most sociable hours. What a new face of the Gambia really as declared by President Barrow! Opening the Banjul Gambian Gate is the greatest unveiling of the Barrow’s Gambian New Face.
I heartily commend President Adama Barrow for this unique decision, which is both historical and significant for three reasons as inter alia,
- The democratic veil over the Gambia, “transmutation “was finally removed from our historical records and archives. Dressing in soldierly attire, removing the military uniform to change into democratic clothes to re-assume power was finally buried in the Gambia. It was simply a deception, transmitting from martial regalia to flamboyant civil apparels.
- The gate way to the Gambia’s Economics, Commerce, Politics, and Seat of power was let widely opened to the world and the Gambians. Investors, both prospective and current, who are scared by Jameh’s frightening investment policies and postures, became free and relived.
- That gate way has a link with the National Assembly and the Judiciary, very importance confluence junction that held these groups in bondage and captivity under Jameh. Today, these groups have been liberated as the Gambian People had freely elected their representatives without undue pressure and interference. People had been appointed into judiciary offices basically on merit. The case of the Hon. Minister of Justice, the Chief Justice of the Gambia and the rest are superlative appointments to strengthen my submission. These are tested and trusted technocrats of international repute, some of them were sought and withdrew from the United Nations to serve their fatherland.
- That same Banjul gate leads to the Gambian Law school abode, a training ground for our upcoming legal Luminaries, who would have mistaken Jameh’s lawlessness, illegalities and atrocities as being morally legal. So the defacing brings a new regime of teaching, exposure and responsibility challenging our legal future leaders to often do the right thing because past deeds and legacies must be judged and perused by regimes The past regime in the Gambia beleaguered the current tenants of power with retinue of gross liabilities economically, politically and in the area of national security, and these cannot be handled singularly except through collateral, corporate, national commitment and cooperation.
More of your hurricane, President Adama Barrow as you visit other sectors of the country. May your hurricane be increased in strength, dimension and velocity making no exception to its victims, as it joins with hurricane Buhari to rid the sub region of corruption? President Jameh was not the only one assumed to have stolen from the Gambian treasuries. Presidents do not steal without the clandestine assistance of bureaucrats, friends and Politicians who act as their conduits. And even when they steal, these loots and spoils are secretly kept, secured and ferried across for them by friends and acquaintances.
These evil lieutenants are as guilty as our past Presidents, and must be identified and punished for precedence. We must be able to go after these big, frightening names to bring them down on their knees as no known individual is bigger than an institution. Many Gambian Administrators and Politicians that co-worked with Jameh are bigger and wealthier than their country, the Gambia. These monies and loots are still stalked up in their homes, hands and banks. Loots are not suspended in the midair; they are safely offered safe heavens by banks and bank’s Chief Executives, who have details of such unwholesome suspicious lodgings without reporting to financial intelligence agencies in the Gambia. An intense search light into banks transactions and records will undoubtedly expose these hidden treasures that will add to the Gambian annual budgeting permutations.
In Nigeria, a number of these loots and looters have been exposed under President Buhari, and billions of dollars recovered through these exercises would be dedicated to funding 80% of our current annual budget. As President Buhari recently said, ‘we must fight to extinct corruption and extremism; otherwise they will fight us, our nations and the unborn children’ our countries, Nigeria and the Gambia must change for good, ISHAH ALLAH!
Dr. Ifedimma, Joseph Sunny Moneke,
PhD, Research Expert in Aviation targeted terrorism,