In the name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. With utmost humility and gratitude, I return appreciation to Allah for making this day possible. Today is a historic moment and marks an important day in the annals of The University of The Gambia and our nation. The concurrence of events is indeed an irrefutable testimony to the ongoing transformation and development of The University of The Gambia and our dear country.
Here we are today celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the July 22 Revolution and inaugurating the first internally funded building of The University of The Gambia. Thus, I am extremely emotional and humbled to stand before you as the Vice Chancellor of the University of The Gambia to give a brief statement in the presence of our Founder and Chancellor, The President of The Republic of The Gambia, Sheikh Professor Dr Alhaji Yahya AJJ Jammeh, Babilli Mansa and such a distinguished audience.
As we celebrate today, let us clap our hands to return gratitude to God and to thank profoundly, our Chancellor His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya, AJJ Jammeh, Babilli Mansa for his boldness and vision to bring university education to the doorstep of every Gambian, irrespective of socio-economic standing and through Allah’s blessings changing the trajectories of not only our students’ futures, but that of their families, communities, our beloved country The Gambia, Africa and humanity at large!
The Faculty of Law, which was established in 2006 barely eight years ago, under the directive of our Chancellor, has grown exponentially from a modest number of 12 to a total enrollment of 386 with 17 being Non Gambians from Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon! Today, we have graduated 114 Bachelor of Law Holders, 63 male and 51 females. Out of this 48 have gone to successfully complete their Bar at The Gambia Law School under the strict professional purview of the General Legal Council. Others have gone on to pursue LLM’s or other graduate programs. This is no easy feat; this is indeed an achievement to be celebrated!!
Thus, the bold objective to improve access and quality of legal services and justice in The Gambia and abroad has come to fruition. Our alumni, some sitting here today, are already making their mark both nationally and internationally, and the list is honorable where you will find Gambians plying the training and skills obtained here in highly reputable circumstances worldwide. Our alumni are serving in the Gambian Judiciary as magistrates, legal counsels and advocates in the private, public and NGO sectors augmenting quality to the national and international justice systems.
The main structure we are inaugurating today, the former Faculty of Law building, which used to house the Chancery and was the face of UTG at its birth in 1999, will now become the home of our newly launched School of Journalism and Digital Media, which made history in September by welcoming the first-ever cohort of students to receive university level training in journalism and digital media. This spells immense possibility of improvement in the climate of news gathering and news management in order for journalism from being an expression of last resort to a discipline executed by skilled and committed practitioners who have become wholesomely sensitized and trained to become aware of and to practice their craft with standards of ethics, fair play, and business uppermost in their minds. That smaller one under refurbishment under Gamworks will house the Peace and Security Studies program.
This new Faculty of Law edifice comes in fulfillment of efforts not only to modernise but also to comprehensively restructure and reorganise the University of The Gambia. The university was able to eke out and construct this multipurpose complex from our own revenues, given the low student tuition we charge to make university education affordable and accessible as directed by our Chancellor. This magnificent building is now ready for use as the home of the Legal Aid Clinic, which offers pro-bono legal services, 5 special lecture and seminar rooms, a library, 24 toilet cubicles, a coffee shop and cafeteria, a VIP lounge and a conference hall with capacity to hold over 500 guests on the top floor; the Deans office and an adjacent assistant’s office, etc.
Please allow me to conclude by saying that twenty years ago The Gambia arrived at crossroads in her history that would prove to be a turning point in many aspects of life for the people of this country. The University of The Gambia, which today has found its rightful place as one of the sterling manifestations of growth and advancement in the country, has an enviable story to tell having been there already for 15 of those momentous years.
Please allow me to end by thanking and congratulating our Chancellor for his wisdom and for being our greatest advocate and His relentless support to UTG. I also thank the senior administration, the Governing Council, Faculty, Staff and students of UTG. I thank Gamworks under the leadership of Mr Ebrima Cham and his able team Sanna Ceesay, who supervised this project under the direction of Omar Gaye and our contractor, Mr Alieu Jallow and his team for delivering a fine futuristic, green building! I thank the Director General of MDI, Dr Jainaba Kah and her deputy Mr Alieu Jarju and their team for their logistical support, Jose at GTHI and his team and the event planners and everyone that has worked tireless to make this a reality. I equally express our sincere thanks and appreciation to Haddy and her colleagues- Our Faculty of Law infatigible cleaning crew. We also thank Ms Sirra Wally Ndow and her crew for yet again coming to my rescue upon need at the last hour! Thank you Sirra! Finally, I wish to convey my sincere appreciation to my parents and family, my brothers Eddy Jobe, Muhammed Jah, Amadou, Ous Taala for their continued support.
I thank you for coming and for your kind attention. God Bless you all and God Bless the UTG always.]]>