By Abdoulie John

President Adama Barrow on Saturday asked Gambians to always pursue the country’s common good and turn away from serving their own personal ends.

“As we celebrate this moment, we must remind ourselves of our collective responsibilities,” said the Gambian leader in a statement he delivered at the 11th Convocation Ceremony of the University of The Gambia (UTG) held at QCity in Bijilo, some 10 km away from Banjul.

Up to 681 students graduated from various academic fields including education, health and journalism. This year’s Convocation ceremony is centred on the theme “Citizen’s Participation In Nation Building In The New Gambia.” Despite challenges, UTG continues to be nationally and internationally recognised as a major pillar in the country’s educational system.

As Gambia is emerging from the shadows of two-decade long dictatorship, President Barrow, who also doubles as the Chancellor of the university, reiterated the need to “defend our hard earned democracy.”

“As citizen we must have that strong spirit of nationalism and citizenship, love and defend our country and sacrifice personal interests for the common good at all times,” he said.

In an attempt to put the theme in context, Barrow said it “simply means a constructive process of engaging all citizens in building social cohesion, economic prosperity, and political stability in an inclusive and democratic way.”

He further emphasized the role Government and citizens play in order to improve the process of nation building.

“In other words, all hands must be on deck to bring about the desired changes,” he added.

Since its inception in 1999, UTG has enriched the lives of many Gambians and non-Gambians.

President Barrow seized the opportunity to commend the Governing Council and the University Management for remarkable achievements “in realising the objectives of the University within available resources.”

Speaking earlier, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of The Gambia, Prof. Muhammad Faqir Anjum, reminded the gathering that UTG has started to yield positive results.

He described the academic 2018-19 as a year of tremendous success.

Vice-Chancellor Anjum thanked members of the Governing Council for providing policy framework, strategic direction and stewardship despite the moutainous hurdles they are confronted with.

In another development, former Education Minister Dr. Satang Jow has been conferred with the honorary degree Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of The Gambia.

Ends