Readers could recall that the Gambia Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretariat at the Petroleum House was established as a charitable organisation under the Companies Act, 2013. This is under the purview of the Office of the President, with the aim to provide coordination role for in preparations for hosting of the upcoming 2019 summit.
The OIC is the second largest inter-governmental organisation which was established in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco, on 25 September 1969, consisting of 57 member states, who decided to pool their resources together, combine their efforts and speak with one voice to safeguard the interest and ensure the progress and well-being of their peoples and those of other Muslims in the World. The OIC organises the Islamic summit, which is the largest meeting, attended by the Rulers and the Heads of State and Government of its member states.
According to its charter, the OIC aims to preserve Islamic social and economic values; promote solidarity among member states; increase cooperation in social, economic, cultural, scientific, and political areas; to back the struggle of all Muslim people with a view to preserving their dignity, independence and national rights; uphold international peace and security; and advance education, particularly in the fields of science and technology. Furthermore, it is financed by contributions and donations of its members and headquarters in Jeddah, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The strategic intent of the OIC as published on its website is to provide first class accommodation facilities, improve accessibility with new strategic and renovated roads across the country. With priority projects to establish a plenary hall with a capacity of 1,031 persons on second floors with other facilities and to construct a new five-star 400 bedroom hotel with 60 royal and presidential suites.
The Point newspaper in its 13 August 2018 publication reported that the Minister of Works and Transportation of The Gambia, Mr Bai Lamin Jobe, led the technical discussions between a delegation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Government of The Gambia. The government attaches great importance to the organisation of the 2019 OIC Summit. Also listed were OIC projects, in the form of road constructions, airport expansion, the upgrading of the airport’s VIP lounge, among others. All these projects, including the construction of high-standard hotel, are all included in the government’s development blueprint, the NDP 2018-2021.
With reference to a press release from the Office of the President issued on Wednesday, 28 November 2018, the secretary general of the OIC Gambia Secretariat Mr Lamin Sanneh pointed that ”if you are talking about the projects, very soon. We are at the prequalification stage for the roads, water, electricity, even the expansion of Bertil Harding Highway.”
Surprisingly enough, the indication to determine the success of the said prestigious summit which is just at the corner as stated by Mr Sanneh is minimal. The OIC Secretariat and its stakeholders should do everything possible for a memorable summit.
Saidina Alieu Jarjou is a blogger and former political activist