By Sailu Bah and Rohey JadamaThe APRC government, under the leadership of President Yahya Jammeh, has celebrated 20th anniversary of the military coup d’etat that brought them into power on 22 July 1994.In a march pass parade held on Friday, 10 October, 2014 at the Independence stadium in Bakau attended by the Heads of State of Senegal, President Macky Sall, President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania now Presiding over the African Union, President José Mário Vaz of Guinea Bissau and Dr. Zakir Naik ,among other foreign guests as well as The Speaker of the National Assembly, The Chief Justice , Cabinet Ministers , National Assembly Members, Members of the Bar and the Bench, Religious leaders, Chiefs, Governors , Members of the Discipline Force, Civil Servants, Cultural groups, APRC party militants and school children.Dr. Zakir Naik , a prominent religious scholar from India emphasised that President Jammeh had informed him that he wants to see a united islamic Umma without division into sects and guided by the Quran and Hadith. He prayed for God to make that a reality. He prayed for the government and the people.The Bishop of the Mehodist Church, Bishop Hannah Faal led the Christian prayers. She prayed for the President and the government and asked for the lords grace to be showered on the country.
After the opening ceremony, President Jammeh delivered a statement on the performance of his government in the past 20 years.
See below the full speech of the president:“All praise and thanks be to the Almighty Allah, the Exalted and the Lord of the Universe for this special commemorative and joyous occasion, and thanks to His bountiful benevolence to our dear country and her people.We are gathered here today to celebrate 20 years of the glorious Revolution that started on the 22nd July 1994. But before I proceed let me first of all express my profound gratitude and sincere appreciation for having in our midst, our true friends, my brothers and colleague Heads of State – Their Excellencies President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, President José Mário Vaz of the Republic of Guinea Bissau and President Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal. I am deeply honoured to welcome Your Excellencies to The Gambia and your presence here is a testimony to the strong bonds of fraternity and friendship between your governments and peoples and the government and people of The Gambia.Fellow Gambians, I stand before you today with an immense sense of gratitude to the Almighty Allah for the accomplishments of my Government over the past 20 years.This year, being the 20th year since I assumed leadership of this country is a momentous milestone in our history. We are celebrating 20 years of sustained and progressive development in all aspects of life in our country. Therefore, we are very thankful to the Almighty Allah and proud of the achievements of this glorious and forward looking Revolution which has turned the dreams of all patriotic and Allah fearing Gambians into in to reality. We have constructed first class paved roads all over the country, built state-of-the-art hospitals and major health centres, a flourishing university and numerous primary, junior and secondary schools, a television station; and substantially mechanized and modernized agriculture by providing tractors and other farming implements just to name a few.Fellow Gambians, my Government could not have made such progress without your patriotic and self-less dedication and support. In this regard, I pay special homage to the women of The Gambia for their hard work, dedication and steadfastness to the ideals of the Revolution. I thank all patriotic Gambians in all walks of life and all true partners of The Gambia for their contributions to the unprecedented achievements of the Revolution over the past decade. Fellow Gambians,
The unparalleled record of accomplishments should spur us to even greater goals. In other words, we should not rest on our laurels but continue to work harder in order to attain our development targets sooner rather than later because the future belongs not to the infidel or to the stagnant mind, but the faithful optimist, the imaginative and the resourceful. As Allah fearing and worshipping people, we put our destiny in the Hands of the ALMIGHTY ALLAH ONLY and INSHA ALLAH, we shall turn this country to an Economic Super Power status in the next few years without fail. We cannot fail to achieve this noble objective because the ALMIGHTY ALLAH DOES NOT LET HIS FAITHFUL Servants down.We must continue to worship only the ALMIGHTY ALLAH, work together with our true friends and brothers around the world to build not only a better Gambia but a more peaceful, prosperous and ALLAH THE ALMIGHTY WORSHIPPING HUMAN RACE.We must be an example to the rest of humanity in terms of True Religion and Religious Tolerance, Acceptance of Human diversity and being hospitable to all shades and creeds of our diverse human family.This is the only country that I know where people of different races, origins, cultures, religions etc are welcomed wholeheartedly by the entire citizenry and are made to feel at home more than their countries of origin.This is because the Holy Quran teaches us that no matter the colour of one’s skin, religion, culture etc, we are children of ADAM created by The One and Only ALMIGHTY ALLAH.The past twenty years were not easy pickings for the development of our Dear Motherland. From a retrogressive Nation teethering on the brink of extinction, we have created a very dynamic modern country soon to become an Economic Super Power INSHA ALLAH. We went through trials and tribulations, we faced treachery and cynics and deadly stooges along the way but we conquered all these obstacles because we entrust our entire existence and destiny to the ALMIGHTY ALLAH.We learnt from our mistakes and the mistakes of others. Each mistake taught us a bitter lesson and all those lessons combined made us better servants of ALLAH and the people of this planet in general and Gambia in particular. The most important lesson I learnt is that those who depend on and worship only the ALMIGHTY ALLAH shall never fail. The second lesson is that a united and ALLAH-worshipping country is easier to build and develop than a divided Shaitan-worshipping country. In short, we learnt bitter but useful lessons that have turned us into better, independent and dignified people.Therefore, as we move into the future, we must use the lessons learnt during the past twenty years, to strengthen our resolve to serve our nation in every way possible and to continue to use the various opportunities created to build an ultra modern ALLAH-WORSHIPPING NATION.To you the young boys and girls, adorned in your beautiful uniforms, we will continue to create the enormous opportunities for your education so that you are fully equipped to become useful and productive members of society tomorrow. At the dawn of the 22nd July Revolution, twenty years ago, when my Government made the pronouncement that “for education, the sky is the limit”, it was considered a tall order by many skeptics. Thanks to Allah, twenty years on, I stand in front of you today, with great pride and profound gratitude because that grand undertaking to modernise and develop our educational services has been fulfilled for all to see. From July 1994 to date, my Government has more than doubled three times the total number of children who had access to schooling. Thus we have every reason to be grateful to the ALMIGHTY ALLAH and to celebrate these great achievements.Furthermore, by September 2015, my Government would remove all school levies to ensure that any child born in The Gambia will be assured of basic education as provided for in the 1997 Constitution and Secondary Education will also be accessible to all. As a result of my Government’s all-inclusive education policies, the largest number of today’s youth who have successfully completed Basic and Secondary Education come from families that would not have been able to afford the cost of keeping their children in schools up to the level of senior secondary education. During the British colonial MISRULE or the puppet British Empire Worshipping First Republic – 1965-1994, education received nothing but lip service.Therefore, I urge all of you to continue to take your education with utmost seriousness and keen sense of responsibility so that you can fulfill your own individual dreams and contribute to the attainment of national objectives of ensuring sustainable and equitable national development. As future leaders you have to imbibe a culture of worshipping and depending only on the Almighty Allah, and the virtues of honesty, discipline, hard work, respect for your parents and teachers, as well as the laws of your Motherland. On our part as a Government, we will continue to set the highest standards for quality, discipline, honesty and performance for both teachers and students. Fellow Gambians, distinguished invited guests,
I urge all Gambians and non Gambians in this country to stand firm and play your part in National Development. You must jealously guard against destructive vices and satanic behaviour as drug abuse, homo sexual, dishonesty, parasitic dependence on others etc. If not you will not only compromise your own future but be an obstacle to the rapid development of the country which depends entirely on you as future leaders, scientists, doctors, teachers, parents and artists etc.Fellow Gambians, we have to look forward to the future with greater optimism for as long as we continue to depend and worship only the Almighty Allah, our country will always remain on the right footing towards greatness. Therefore we should all as obedient and faithful servants of Allah march in unison regardless of our diversities differences in line with the old adage “united we stand, divided we fall”.The enthusiasm I have sensed among Gambians about our Revolution and how that landmark date in our history, July 22 is venerated, always gives me the courage and the strength to continue to dedicate all my energies to the services and betterment of this great country.I wish you all happy celebrations and May the Almighty Allah guard, guide, bless and protect us all for eternity.Allah bless and reward you for your attendance and attention.Long Live The RevolutionLong Live AfricaLong Live Human Solidarity of the FaithfulLong Live The Gambia”. Editor’s note
Foroyaa will do a vox pop to sound the opinions of the public on the commemoration so as to balance national public opinion.