As usual, many take President Adama Barrow’s interview statement his legacy is where he drew the line out of context. I am not here to speak for the President who is not obliged to come out unnecessarily to clarify a statement as some people amongst us want him to do. The people who only criticize whenever the President speaks. Most intellectuals hasten into criticism instead of being rational or create analytical debate on what the President says. Anyone willing to join President Barrow on building a better Gambia will find him eagerly waiting with open arm and mind. In the same vein, anyone who is bent on shifting the country in a wrong direction hoping for a sad legacy for the President will not be entertained. If you are within the government, you will be flushed out. You will not be accepted if you are seeking a position from outside. This is a clear indication of a strong leader who wants to lead with good example. The result or outcome is what matters or counts in any leadership.
Throughout history, leaders – even worst despots who commit heinous crimes and atrocities – want to be remembered in the good books of history. Despotic leaders with myopic mind think they are doing good for their nation. For the sake of clarity President Barrow is not a despot; he is far from it. He is a Democrat who has rescued his people from the jaws of a human eating Crocodile. Why are many people venturing to Europe and America? Because the leaders of these nations leave behind a solid legacy worth continuing. A good leader that has built a strong foundation will be remembered by generations yet unborn. Steve Jobs of Apple, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Martin Luther King Jr of America, Nehru Gandhi of India are such leaders who build a strong corporate, society and nation. Their legacy still shape the destiny of their nations today and many generations to come. Those who build the current systems of governance in Europe, America and parts of Asia are no more, but their legacy is what today’s people are enjoying. These countries’ leaders leave behind solid economic liberty, high standard of living, good education, good health care and envying Social Welfare system. This is exactly the legacy President Barrow envisages and wishes for all Gambians. Is there anything really wrong with that? The answer to my view to that is a clear NO.
Next time you hear President Barrow mention his legacy, think deeply. He is not referring to what his skeptics perceive or call self-centered or personal grandiose. You see, there are those who are unreasonably dissatisfied, disturbed, uneasy and can hardly come to terms with the fact that we indeed have grassroots President. President Barrow may not come from an academic home neither is he an academic, but his achievements and contribution is so far above all expectations. A jealous, opportunistic and hate monger so-called intellectuals will hardly come to terms with the reality of being ruled and directed by a farmer’s son or a VILLAGE BOY from dusty Mankamang Kunda, just to borrow their own phrases. This is the reality of today’s political landscape and political confusion within our intellectual community. Some Gambian intellectuals want to be something today and preferably instantly. Many patriotic Gambians want to build and see is a better Gambia for all and for generations not yet born. When these generations take over the mantle of leadership of the country, they will take over a country worth proud of and leaders worth to thank you for job well done. Over the past years we have seen some dubious intellectuals come home only to acquire positions they did not have any qualifications for. Haven’t we seen that happen in The Gambia? Some even came and left the country because they presented the attitude of “my way or no way” with the sole argument that they are intellectuals. Don’t get me wrong me. I have no grudges whatsoever against intellectualism, and I believe intellectuals contribute immensely in nation building. Intellectuals can be role models and inspiration for youths and younger generations. The problem with the Gambian intellectual phenomenon is that it is young and concentrated on one geographic area before. We could produce only very few home trained intellectuals. When these overseas trained intellectuals arrived home they are seen to be Saints sent from heaven. This trend, for some reason, is till strong within the Gambian intellectual community. Unless this mindset is reversed, Gambian intellectuals will have difficulty positioning themselves as individuals who will pave the way for a better direction for the country.
The gap between the so-called Gambian intellectuals and ordinary citizenry is huge and the gap needs to be shrunk. It has come to the level of we and them, though this is not publicly declared. Those who are not intellectuals see no obstacle whatsoever of being led by a leader who is not from an academic home. They are not bothered as long as this leader has a vision and down to earth with impeccable character. On the contrary, the intellectuals base everything on their education, which alone is not a prerequisite for a good and successful leadership. To delegate responsibility among government experts is part of quality leadership. What then is wrong with President Barrow delegating responsibility? If those being delegated understand the high trust and responsibility bestowed upon them, they will deliver with outstanding performance.
On a final note, it is evident that some of our finest intellectuals were on the sidelines waiting for Monster Jammeh and his killer machine APRC to exit the political scene. These are the same people who want to take over the government. Instead of uniting our people, the job-seeking intellectuals. To our intellectuals I say politics is about arguing. Rhetoric is about persuading the other side and vis-a-vis. Until next time bye for now. Thank you and may GOD be with the Gambian people.