By Momodou Ndow
These days “nation building” and “come home and contribute your quota” is all you hear. But what exactly does “nation building” and “contribute your quota” mean? Does one need to reside in The Gambia to be able to participate in “nation building” or “contribute your quota?”
Nation building does not happen overnight and we have to be pragmatic in our expectations and the promises that are being made. False hope is something Gambia cannot afford right now. Goloh gave enough of those. I heard Mr. Henry Gomez said that he was going to take Gambian soccer from zero to 100, and that Gambia will be in the World Cup. I couldn’t help but question the practicality of that promise, considering that fact that he’s part of a transitional government with a three – year mandate? Setting a goal to qualify for the African Cup sounds more realistic to me.
A lot has happened in The Gambia over the past 22 years, some of which are yet to be uncovered; so the task ahead is enormous. But by the sound of things, it doesn’t seem as if we are reflecting on that very deeply. There are no quick fixes here. I sincerely believe that the task ahead is daunting, but being pragmatic and setting achievable goals will get us there.
As far as contributing, the diaspora has always done so in different forms. Does one need to pack up and go home to contribute in the Third Republic? Not necessarily, given how interconnected the world is these days. Unlike before when Gambians us to graduate from abroad and return home to work, most Gambians have now elected to stay abroad to start careers and establish families, given the economic and political hardships the country has been going through; and this is part of how Gambia has been surviving through the remittances. So it may not be reasonable to expect for them to abandon their family and career commitments and go home on a dime.
And does one need to reside in The Gambia for the administration to hire them? Not really, especially in the technical sector. I can hire someone in India to build a software for me without them coming to California or me going to India. The new administration should look into contracting some in the diaspora for certain things, and that will be a good way for them to benefit from the brain drain currently affecting Gambia. There are many other ways for those living in the diaspora to contribute without residing in The Gambia.