His Excellency the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, Mr. Adama Barrow on Wednesday 28 February 2018 received the Commandant and faculty staff of the National Defence College of Nigeria at the State House in Banjul. The Commandant, Rear Admiral AA Osinowo, who is leading a total of twenty-eight course participants from the College, was accompanied to the Presidency by the Nigerian High Commissioner to The Gambia, His Excellency Oluwasegun Ibidapo-Obe.
In his welcome speech to the course participants, His Excellency President Adama Barrow said that Africa is taking the right direction towards democracy and thanked the ECOWAS block for the support in maintaining peace and democracy in The Gambia. He reiterated his appreciation for the leadership especially Nigeria took during the impasse as well as her important role in nurturing democracy in the sub-region.
President Barrow went further to advise the security forces to learn from the direction the world is heading and assured them of the political support for them to succeed in their career. He also urged them to maintain the spirit of unity, as The Gambia is known for peace, and added that having won the war, they must all fight to maintain the peace.
In introducing the delegation to the President, the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff of The Gambia Armed Forces, Major General Yakuba Drammeh, expressed gratitude and assured President Barrow of the commitment of the GAF to maintain peace and stability in the country. He harped on the importance of the National Defence College in impacting knowledge and skills in the Military noting that the delegation was on a regional tour to conduct research, which according to General Drammeh was a requirement for graduation.
Speaking on behalf of his delegation, the Commandant of the College Course 26, Rear Admiral A. A. Osinowo, said their mission was to conduct research on the theme: Post Conflict Peacebuilding in The Gambia – Lessons for Nigeria. He observed the complexity and loyalty of The Gambia Armed Forces to foster peace after the presidential election for the political class to enjoy stability. He also expressed appreciation for The Gambia and ECOWAS for looking inward to find possible solutions to local problems. Rear Admiral Osinowo said there would be challenges during the next phase of peace building in The Gambia but was quick to add that GAF has an important role to play in the decisions to move The Gambia to greater heights. He concluded that GAF has an important role in the realisation of the will of the Gambian people for socio-economic development.
Group Captain Olayinka Olusola Oyesola in his vote of thanks stated that they learnt about the various arms of government and their roles in enhancing the peace building process during the course of the tour while thanking the President for honoring their invitation to meet him despite his busy schedule.
The faculty staff and participants of Course 26 were earlier received on behalf of the Chief of Defence Staff by Major General Yakuba Drammeh at a colorful ceremony at the Joint Officers Mess in Kotu on Tuesday 27 February 2018.
It is imperative to state that tours like these fall within the regional studies module of the college curriculum. The team which comprised 28 participants with their Directing and Admin Staff also included participants from the republic of Germany, Bangladesh and Congo Brazzaville. Over the course of their visit in The Gambia, they received briefings and interacted with distinguished resource persons from various institutions such as the Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Justice, the ECOMIG Force, Members of parliament, GAF, etc. The visit climaxed with cultural visits and a dinner in their honour hosted by the Chief of Defence Staff at the Joint Officers Mess.