Safra, a youth sports event being promoted by ECOWAS and the AU, is meant to foster regional integration, cooperation, love and oneness among people of the West African region, which are sound virtues we must jealously guard.
SAFRA is a French acronym meaning “Week of Friendship and Fraternity” involving ECOWAS member states such as The Gambia (Basse), Senegal (Tamba Counda), Guinea Bissau (Gabou), Guinea Conakry (Boke), Mali (Kaye), and Mauritania (Sylebabeh).
SAFRA has been in existence for over thirty years and has brought together people in the sub-region to participate in conferences/meetings, symposia, trade fairs, sports, cultural activities, school exchange programmes/study tours, among others, since its inception in order to rekindle awareness and recognition at the proletariat for a greater community participation and involvement in the ECOWAS integration progress.
From this background, it is clear that Safra is out to promote integration, development, friendship and oneness in the sub-region. So we should not allow un-sportsmanship to sap the real essence of the event. Rather those engaging in the events should bear in mind its established aims and objective.
The deputy director of planning at the Ministry of Youth and Sports has said it all, that there is a need to know the objective of every competition before participating in it: Safra’s objective is to foster unity and friendship among participating nations, which is why “prizes will not be given at the end of the tournament”.
It is, therefore, saddening hearing or reading reports of violence marring such an event.
Although mishaps are inevitable, Safra’s would-be cases must be forestalled to allow the spirit of Pan-Africanism to flow, because it is only under such an umbrella system that people of the region would be able to enjoy the fruit of integration and development.
The Gambia and Senegal are one family, and would ever remain as one family in the true spirit of love and oneness.
We, therefore, wish all Safra delegates a pleasant and enjoyable event on our soil and hope and pray that they return home safely after the event.
“Just as the earth is a planet in its own right, so each of us is an individual in our own sphere of habitation. We are individuals, but we live in families and communities where order provides a system of harmony that hinges on obedience to principles.”
James E. Faust