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Presidential adviser describes Manneh’s OIC criticism as nonsensical

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By Omar Bah

Presidential adviser Dodou Sanno has described criticisms of the Banjul OIC summit as ‘nonsensical and pity’.

Sanno was reacting to Lamin Manneh, the deputy secretary of external affairs at the main opposition UDP, who called the summit a failure and an embarrassment to the country.

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Sanno said Manneh’s criticism is out of jealousy and hypocrisy, “but I don’t blame him because he is a newcomer to Gambian politics.”

Sanno said the National People’s Party and President Adama Barrow are very proud of the accomplishments of the Banjul OIC Secretariat.

“We are satisfied with the fact that they were able to host a very successful summit. The fact that a country like The Gambia could successfully host the second largest world event is a dream come true that all Gambians should be proud of,” Sanno added.

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He said it is disappointing that some Gambians, especially people like GDC leader Mamma Kandeh and UDP’s Lamin Manneh, who have served in very respectable regional institutions, are politicising the summit.

“People like them cannot even differentiate between national interest and politics. What do they hope to achieve by tarnishing the image of The Gambia? Who are they seeking to satisfy by speaking badly about their own country? These people should know that the OIC summit is a Gambian thing,” he stated.

Mr Sanno said the success of an event is a nuanced concept, adding that while success relies heavily on attendance figures and financial outcomes, it also includes more abstract personal insights from attendees.

“Attendee satisfaction, engagement levels, and the achievement of predefined goals contribute qualitative perspectives, so based on that, we can conclude that the Banjul Summit was very successful,” he said.

He also described it as a big disgrace UDP National Assembly Members’ refusal to attend the OIC Summit.

“How can serious National Assembly Members decide to go round for campaigning when their country is hosting such an important event? The Gambian people should ask themselves whether these people are serious about the welfare of this country and its people. Where are their conscience and foresight in these people?” he said.

Mr Sanno said the attendance of heads of state, especially those in the Middle East, was affected by the Palestine war.

“It was unfortunate that the Banjul Summit coincided with the war in Palestine, but all the presidents who could not make it have contacted President Barrow to tell him the reason why they could not attend,” he explained.

He said critics of the government should always remember that one day President Barrow will leave and The Gambia will stay.

“We should not allow our political differences and jealousy to destroy the image of this country,” he said. Sanno said the majority of those who attended the summit were impressed with the country’s organisation. “We have some people who believe the Banjul Summit was the most successful summit ever,” he said.

Sanno advised the former head of the Banjul OIC Secretariat, Lamin Sanneh, and his colleagues to shut up, arguing that they were dismissed because they were trying to use the summit to empower the UDP.

“We knew they were planning to politicise it. I also want to challenge Mr. Sanneh to tell Gambians what he was able to achieve as head of the secretariat. I think they are just angry because the event was successful,” he said

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