More often than not, when ourpublic officials speak, they talk of values like patriotism, commitment, hard work and so on, as fundamental to triumph for any aspiring nation. Indeed, these are not mere words of fantasy. They are echoed for a purpose, and the ultimate aim is national development.
It is therefore important for us, the citizenry, to understand the objectives of these words and conduct ourselves well to attain them. The state belongs to no individual or group. It is a product of collective effort and hence a common property. Being patriotic to the nation simply means being patriotic to oneself.
This is the angle from which President Jammeh was speaking as he presided over the swearing-in ceremony of the two new cabinet ministers and the secretary to cabinet.It is a well-known principle within development discourse that for development to be achieved by a society, the people have to be the driving force behind it. All development undertakings must involve the people, who ought to be seen in the initiation and implementation stages of development projects.
However, it is also worth mentioning that fulfillment of these conditions do not in any way guarantee development in the absence of teamwork among the people. This is because no objective, however great the aspiration might be, is attainable on the basis of individualism. Several people have to strive together if even the simplest of things is to be achieved.
Gambians, particularly those at the helm of state affairs, must therefore exercise the highest sense of patriotism before we can explore any chance to make our national development aspirations materialise.This will make us became active participants in shaping our destiny so that we can have command over what belongs to us and exploit it for our own progress.