As an unassuming ordinary Gambian, who is by self-confession, a very paltry figure in the political, economic and social landscape of a small, but highly prominent country internationally, it has always been increasingly pleasing to observe that Gambians are making exceedingly impressive advancement in higher education and professional competence both within and outside of the country. Several prudently scoured sources have given unprecedented solid affirmations to this personal observation and equally provided additional fortified layers of credible authenticity to the incontrovertible claim, which is now a recurrent theme in the public discussion forums, and among them is the social media, precisely LinkedIn, and Facebook.
Over LinkedIn, Gambian’s academic talents and professional achievements are easily visibly evident anytime one makes a visit to this site of which I am also member. I have connected with many of my country men and women who are very educated and are specialized in myriad fields of academic and professional specialties.
The pool of talent is so wide and it covers all spectrums of academic and professional arenas. Gambians, it must be recognized, are highly educated people and their scintillating professional competence and brilliant academic qualifications are self-evident all over. The wide array of specialized Gambian professionals include doctors, nurses, engineers of all concentrations, bankers, journalists, accountants, scientists, economists, professors, academics to name just a few out of the many areas of specializations. These fine Gambians have earned their degrees in prestigious universities in the West, Asia, Africa and the budding University of the Gambia. Most of these towering talents are working for multi-national and international organizations like the UN, African Union, Islamic Development, African Development Bank, UNICEF, ECOWAS, World Bank, IMF, and the list goes on inexhaustibly. A significant number also works for corporate America, multi-nation corporations, state and federal governments, while another good percentage works for the Gambia government, NGOs, community and civil service organizations, or running successful private businesses and consultancies within and outside of the Gambia.
The vast human resource pool for our country continues to be broadened and looks great for the sustained progression of our county and even for generations yet born if harnessed maximally. Apart from the advanced degrees earned by Gambians, there are successful Gambians in the informal sector with excellent technical acumen or vast wealth of experience and expertise that may be match any college degree. These are our great and esteemed farmers, traders, welders, plumbers, masons, electricians, market vendors and acclaimed business owners. Arguably, this category comprises the powerhouses of our informal economy and their contributions to the overall health of the country’s economy cannot be quantified.
This reflection calls out for honest celebrations and formal national recognition. We should all say big congratulations to each other on this great achievement and encourage Gambians to form the necessary networks and alliances to lay the foundations for appropriately transforming these talents and resources either collectively or individually into the development of our great country. Though small in land size and population, the Gambia still positively illuminates unabated among League of Nations and Gambian citizens are more visible and adequately recognized in all major international organizations the world over. Let us all thank GOD for this blessing and pay tribute to our religious leaders both past and present for their ardently prayers for the continued peace and prosperity for our dear nation.
This brings to mind the steady proliferation of young Islamic religious scholars, who are determined to take the difficult terrain of teaching and preaching words of Allah and HIS Prophet, Muhammad (PBUH) and take on the mammoth responsibility of making attitudes align with the accepted stipulations of the noble Qur’an and the teachings of the prophet (SAW). With the mushrooming of Arab-educated scholars in Figh, Sharia, Hadith, Qur’an, Seera and other Islamic areas of specialization, Gambians would no longer have to laboriously seek either divine guidance or knowledge of the Qur’an and Sunnah from outsiders. The Gambia may proudly make a darling claim as a rising citadel of Islamic schools that are progressively churning out young men and women who commit the entire holy book to memory.
We have our esteemed religions such as Islam and Christianity and our true Senegambian family norms and values to always cling on to for our high moral standing or moral compass. These inspirational values consistently encourage humility, love and compassion and respect for each other even if we differ in opinion, faith, gender, economic status, education level, physical appearance and a host of other differences. Those in leadership positions are particularly encouraged to assertively immerse into these values as dependable bulwark against arrogance, indiscipline and self-glorification, and be rather totally submissive to the wishes and desires of the people they lead as political and community leaders. There is where our God-fearing religious clerics and imams need to take the center stage to over communicate the important qualities of a truthful and obedient leader in line with our religious doctrine, because leading is GOD’s calling and those at the helm must be humble and never inoculate themselves against positive criticisms, accountability, transparency, responsibility and imperative servant leadership traits. This golden reminder is equally appropriately germane to our scholars and elites as prescription for their inoculation against distasteful and reprehensible manners such as vainglorious, boastfulness, flippancy, dishonesty for imbuement with ethical conduct embodying humility, discipline and moderation.