As today marks the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan, we join millions of Muslims around the world to celebrate the glorious feast of Eid-ul-Fitr. While it isa moment of celebration, it is important for us to reflect on the teachings and significance of this auspicious day.
Islam has set a very high standard for the spirit of unity, love and support for one another. Therefore, Eid-ul-Fitr is not only about remembering Allah, The Most High, and offering gratitude to Him, but also a day to meditate and rededicate ourselves to the religious duty of sharing and caring for one another.
This feast offers us the opportunity to reaffirm our values of gratitude, compassion and generosity, and to give thanks for the spiritual renewal and numerous blessings bestowed on us.
Indeed, Islam has prescribed very clear moral and ethical values for humankind. These should be brought to bear on our attitudes and efforts, as we collectively seek to build a “New Gambia” based on the rule of law, tolerance and devotion to nation building. Obviously, embracing these values can empower us to redouble our efforts towards achieving the goals of our National Development Plan. As our Human Resource is the main source of our strength, we have to utilise this resource in order to derive maximum benefit from all our natural resources.
We are fortunate that God has endowed us with vast arable land, a productive river and a vibrant youthful population to propel development for the common good. Therefore, I urge the youth, as the pride of the nation, to join the farming community, especially the womenfolk, to develop agriculture from rudimentary farming to agribusiness. With strong commitment and determination, we can transform farming from an annual activity to an all-year-round lucrative business.
As evidenced by our achievements so far, my government is working tirelessly to provide the energy and infrastructure required to enhance our economic activities and improve the health and wellbeing of our people. Be reassured, therefore, that we are particularly concerned about the welfare of our youth.
Consequently, weare piously committed to supporting all Gambian youths to develop the required skills and professionalism for effective engagement in nation-building and self-advancement. To achieve this, I encourage all citizensto seize the momentum to renew their commitment to making a difference in every sphere of life and engagement for the betterment of the nation.
We have a collective responsibility to fulfil the hopes and aspirations of the people and, as believers in God, the Muslim and Christian communities alike cannot afford to fail to discharge this responsibility. We owe it to ourselves and our children to safeguard the future in the best interest of all.
The recent pledges at the International conference for The Gambia held in Brussels demonstrate the global desire to support Gambians to strengthen democracy, peace and stability, as well as to take ownership and leadership to develop and transform our economy. The onus now rests on us to fulfil our obligations by rallying around the national flag and working together as a nation with a common agenda.
My government has firmly resolved to safeguard our collective national security and identity. Accordingly, I call on all citizens to be steadfast, as well, in jealously protecting our sovereignty and image, and in championing democracy, human rights, peace, stability and social cohesion to sustain our development gains. Let us embrace and cherish unity as the main thrust of our strength, whether as public servants, civil society organisations, private sector operatives, or as other non-state actors.
All of us have a stake and a role to play in the affairs of the country. Playing these individual and collective roles will help us set the pace for the next generation also to embrace and sustain the values of democracy, development, prosperity and success for all.
As we take cue from our venerable religious leaders for spiritual guidance,I pay my respects to all of them and, in the same spirit, encourage them to continue to pray for sustainable peace in The Gambia and for humanity at large, especially for those suffering either due to maltreatment, conflict, disease, or any other form of hardship.
Together, let us all work for the ideal Gambia we wish ourselves, which we must build collectively.
We can do it if we respect and maintain the principles and values of tolerance, discipline, integrity and hard work. To attain this, I invite every citizento come on-board.
I wish you all a happy and peaceful Eid-ul-Fitr.