(JollofNews) – My dear Gambians, and nationals of other countries resident in the Gambia, I thank Allah for the opportunity to address you as we celebrate 51 years of internal self-rule. What is appropriate for us as a God-fearing nation is to devote this occasion to prayers and expression of gratitude to Allah both for our achievements as a nation under my government and for the peace and security that Allah has blessed this nation with.
Let us remember that we have reached this stage we are today amidst many odds and animosity. Prophesies of our doom and predictions of our failure were commonplace since the dawn of the July 22 Revolution. We were victims of isolation by the main actors and development partners in the international community.
However, with Allah’s blessings of staunch faith, commitment and dedication we have been able to weather all storms and tempests that come our way. And, Inshallah, our resilience will continue to be fortified by the strength of our faith in Allah, our submission to His will and our abstinence from evil as prescribed in the Holy Books of the Quran and the Bible and as had been the practice by Allah’s Prophets for the emulation of all humankind.
As Gambians, we thank Allah that we are a God-fearing nation. Our faith provides us with the solid basis to live together as brothers and sisters, love each other, care for each other and protect each other. We are further grateful to Allah SWT that we have been able to demonstrate these national characteristics through our culture of inter-ethnic and inter-religious tolerance that has been the envy of many nations. It behoves all of us therefore to guard and maintain these God-given traits so that our atmosphere of peace, security and tranquility will progress towards eternity. This is all the more important in the current world that is beset by violence, hate and upheaval in many quarters such as Mali, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Ukraine and Turkey etc.
Fellow Gambians, such ungodly disturbances, conflicts and mayhem are the enemies of development. Thus our development aspirations, visions and ideals can only be attained through total submission to the WILL OF THE ALMIGHTY ALLAH by worshiping Him and Him alone, doing what is right, shunning evil and satanic tendencies, being pious, truthful and repentant.
Dear Gambians in particular and humanity at large,
I therefore call all of us on this occasion of celebrating 51 years of self-rule and political independence, to renew our commitment and dedication to our religions with sincerity and steadfastness and our resolve to be independent from the temptations and influences of SATAN. Without this continual quest to be closer to Allah and to be distant and freer from the machinations of SATAN, we will all be found wanting in the realization of our needs, objectives and wishes both as individuals and as a nation. We should therefore constantly pray to Allah to protect us from evil and to subject us to His will and bless us with His bountiful mercy.
My Dear Gambians, Friends of the Gambia and the human race in general,
Let me assure that the relationship between my government and your respective religious communities will continue to be mutually supportive and beneficial as it has always been. I am fully aware of the relationship of positive partnership and differentiated responsibilities between religion and my government. I have been constantly on record commending the Christian community for their success in inculcating the virtues of religious devotion, togetherness and law-abiding behavior in young Christians. Similarly, I have always lauded the religious revival among young Muslims manifested in their regular turn-out in mosques for the five daily prayers and their firm commitment to fasting and other forms of worship during Ramadan.
My dear Gambians,
I view this spiritual revolution as dividends of my government’s investment in religious education, support to the religious communities to facilitate the fulfillment of religious obligations such as the Hajj and the pilgrimage to Rome as well as the enabling environment government has created for the establishment of mosques and churches of all denominations in this country.
This culture of religious tolerance and freedom of religion will remain sacrosanct in the Islamic Republic of The Gambia as long as we maintain our culture of peaceful co-existence and refuse to be influenced by satanic forces that use religion as an instrument of division and a source of violence and conflict. I therefore reiterate my call for devotion to the will of the Almighty Allah and to collectively endeavour to build a national psyche and strength of character that will enable us to persistently walk-away from evil and seek the blessings of Allah in whatever we do. In this connection, I wish to call on all mosques and churches to constantly pray to Allah the Almighty for His blessings for all of us to be fortified with these virtues and so that we can realise our development objectives soonest.
This year we have decentralised the observance of our country’s national day in the form of parades in all the regions, and I cannot conclude without sincerely commending all Gambians, especially the teachers, our future leaders – The students and young people, the parents, opinion leaders, and all those who have in one way or the other participated in the preparatory activities of this year’s independence anniversary celebrations. To the students, I enjoin you to hold fast to your respective religions and to take heed of the good advice from your parents and teachers as this will help you to be responsible and productive adults. You must be serious with your education and not venture into mischievous activities such as alcoholism and drug abuse that can compromise your future. My sincere gratitude as well as congratulations also go to the security forces, non-governmental organizations and cultural groups whose participation in these events has always been indispensable and impressive.
On this note, I wish all Gambians at home and abroad, distinguished friends of the Gambia a happy 51st Independence Anniversary celebrations and I pray that the Almighty Allah continues to guide and protect us and shower His blessings upon all of us in an atmosphere of love, peace, rapid progress and prosperity for all.
I thank you very much for your kind attention and I wish you all happy Independence Anniversary celebrations.