Jul 23, 2009, 7:13 AM
There is no denying that in the history of any country, successive generations must have individuals who serve as pillars of society, talk of the country and, of course, some extraordinary men and women who provide inspiration to young upcoming and promising nationals of the state. Mr Pa Macoumba Njie, Managing Director of Trust Bank, the leading bank in today's Gambia, falls under this phylum of people.
Being highly cognizant of this fact, Armitage Senior Secondary School in Jangjangbureh, CRR on Saturday 5th June invited Pa Macoumba Njie, Trust Bank MD, who was also a former student of the school as Guest Speaker to its annual speech and prize giving ceremony held at the school grounds.
Below we reproduce the full text of Mr Njie's landmark speech on the occasion.
"Mr Chairman, Board of Governors, Principal, Teachers, Parents & Guardians, Invited Guests, Students and Well Wishers of Armitage Senior Secondary School, it gives me great pleasure, immense sense of pride and honor; and profound gratitude to be invited as Guest Speaker on this very important date in the school's calendar. Thank you, Mr Haffner and the Board for inviting me. For the graduating students, I also want to thank those who made it possible for you to be here today and graduating. For those not here let's go home and say a big thank you to them.
For those of you who don't know, I did my secondary education in this great school and I remember my time here as one of the most memorable of my educational career. I will never forget the sense of achievement I and my fellow students felt on speech and prize-giving days and so I think I have a pretty good idea how most of you must be feeling today.
Armitage has built an enviable reputation as a citadel of learning, testimony to which is the list of Gambians who have been educated here and gone on to develop great careers, in medicine, law, business, politics, academia, banking, and the list goes on.
This great bastion of secondary education has been able to produce a long list of luminaries who have led exemplary lives and contributed immensely to the development of our great nation. It has done so by making discipline paramount in all student activities, by instilling a sense of sacrifice, service above self and a dedication to duty for the benefit of the whole student body. Above all, every student who had the benefit of attending this great school knows about the unparalleled emphasis put on hard work and the pursuit of excellence.
These are just some of the attributes that have made Armitage special and have left lasting impressions on the lives of all those who have passed through its great halls.
Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, the environment in this country and the world at large has witnessed rapid changes over the years and demands that people adapt to these changes in order to remain competitive in the global marketplace. I am very proud to say that the virtues of discipline, hardwork and sacrifice that Armitage represents are the virtues that continue to be relevant in confronting the challenges of this new millennium.
Mr. Chairman, when the decision was made to opt for Armitage at the time I was doing my Common Entrance Examinations, I viewed such a prospect with apprehension and trepidation because I was venturing into the unknown away from my parents and the environment I was accustomed to. I arrived here in this state of mind but soon started to adapt guided by the entrenched culture of hard work and discipline which is the hallmark of this great institution.
In my time here I embraced and benefited from all the virtues that make this place a cut-above the rest and by the time I left I had already developed a very strong bond and an acute sense of belonging. The rigors and regulations of the boarding home, at the time, paid special focus and attention on punctuality, cleanliness, discipline, respect for seniors, self reliance, sharing, independence, honesty and dependability, amongst other virtues. This experience proved to be invaluable to me throughout my life.
Graduating Students, having finished your secondary education you are now faced with an array of options and the choice you make now may have a lingering impact in your future career direction. Many, many, years ago, I passed through the same path that you are presently going through. I also faced the same challenges that you are currently facing, ranging from the difficulty of selecting a career path to sourcing the necessary finances to fund my university education. I eventually chose a career in Banking, a choice I have never once regretted due to the pivotal role that Banks play in developing nations. My first job was at the Gambia Commercial and Development Bank (GCDB), and I have worked in banking ever since. I started off as a Bank Clerk in GCDB, and today I am the Managing Director of Trust Bank Ltd, one of the leading banks in our nation and a Bank that I have been with since its inception 13 years ago. I am extremely proud to tell you that Trust Bank Ltd is a Gambian success story and I can say unequivocally that the values that have taken it this far are similar to the virtues that Armitage has always represented in this country. Banking is in itself a profession that has an amazing congruence with the virtues instilled at Armitage.
Banking is a profession that demands honesty, discipline, forthrightness, diligence, conscientiousness, hard work and awareness; but above all the realization that it can be a force for good in transforming the socio-economic realities of one's country. Banks offer Personal and Corporate finance services in the form of deposit taking, the provision of loans, overdrafts, money transmission services and finance for international trade. In short, banks mobilize funds from surplus units and facilitates in distributing it to the areas of economic activity where it is needed the most. A country's financial system is essential to an economy because it is responsible for resource allocation. Empirical investigations provide evidence that there is a positive, yet bi-directional relationship between a country's financial system and economic growth meaning that financial development is crucial for economic growth and economic growth is also essential for promoting financial development.
Trust Bank Ltd. not only partakes in financial development by operating a profitable financial system that has become relevant to every Gambian but also contributes actively in financial sector activities that stimulate economic growth. The Bank has not only been instrumental in promoting the development of public and private enterprises but is well known for its Corporate Social Responsibility activities. Since its inception, Trust Bank Ltd has actively complimented Government efforts in poverty alleviation, increasing healthcare and educational opportunities, improving unemployment rates and providing support to major sectors like tourism, agriculture and construction that are instrumental in adding vibrancy to a Country's economy.
This is the role that Banking, the sector that I chose as a career for myself has contributed and will continue to contribute to economic growth and development. My time here, at Armitage Senior Secondary School has prepared me very well for this career and it is my hope that someday, you will also be able to use your chosen careers to touch the lives of the average Gambian in various positive ways.
I would like to give all of you the assurance that it was through hard work, perseverance and a hinge of serendipity that I was able to attain my goals. If I can make it to this position, I am positive that by the grace of Allah you can all make it too. I understand and appreciate the fact that for some of you finances may not be readily available for the options you want to pursue but that is not a reason to give up on your dreams. Keep the passion for excellence alive, pursue every legal opportunity and where possible, keep developing yourself. Sooner or later an opportunity may present itself when you least expect it. My advice to you is that whatever discipline you eventually pursue; you must at all times be guided by the spirit of hard work, commitment and fastidiousness. You must realize that there is no short cut to success. Do not be misguided by the illusion of quick success and easy gains, for these, if at all they do exist, are not sustainable and lead to great disappointment and frustrations. You must always cultivate and nurture a very strong and positive attitude towards your work. Indeed your attitude would always determine your altitude in life.
As youths, you must always embrace respect for authority. Respect for authority starts from the home as prescribed and ordained by all our religious beliefs; THOU SHALL HONOUR THY MOTHER AND FATHER. The respect you have at home should reflect on the respect for elders in the community, the school authorities, for each other as colleagues, and eventually for seniors in the work place. The sense of discipline and respect that is instilled in you at home, the community and the school, should guide you and make you worthy citizens of this country and protect you from deviance and crime.
You must eschew crime, corruption, drug and substance abuse, illegal and dubious activities, for these would taint and smear your reputation and character, and cause great sense of loss, humiliation, embarrassment, and shattered hopes and expectation for all those who have sacrificed a lot to make you worthy citizens of your home, community, school, and nation. You must avoid at all cost the temptations posed by the get rich quick syndrome. Indeed there is no greater reward for a parent or a teacher than to be able to announce with pride that he or she is my daughter or son, and this can only be attained if dreams and hopes are not betrayed by deviant behavior. You must all know by now that a successful and illustrious child is the son and daughter of all in the Community, for everyone is always happy to be associated with success and excellence. You must therefore endeavour to attain success or at least aspire to attain it. With hard work and determination Allah would always reward you with success.
We, the older generation have done our quota and look up to you, the younger generation to accelerate our journey to become a middle income country. With your talent and courage maybe, one fine day you will find a solution to malaria; a way to improve productivity on our farms, so that we can become food self sufficient and create wealth for our people; augment the technological skills required for the achievement of our vision 2020 blueprint and so on.
For those of you who have just finished your time here, I tell you that the next phase of your life is strewn with numerous stumbling blocks and uncertainties but at the same time presents a host of opportunities for those of you who have prepared adequately. As you leave this great Alma Mata of ours you must prove to be worthy Ambassadors. The expectation from your teachers and parents is that you must at all times exhibit and live up to the virtuous values that had been nurtured and instilled in you over the years. Dear Students you do not have a choice in this matter, for this is the very reason why your teachers and parents have made the sacrifice to get you where you are today.
Our country now has a university, a teachers college, MDI, GTTI and numerous private institutions that presents you with unprecedented academic opportunities that allows you to get the education you need without having to leave the shores of The Gambia. I am not saying you should not travel abroad but do so only with the right documents, the right reasons and a plan of action when you reach there. In the absence of these you may realize that you have lost valuable time aiming for greener pastures when you could have realized your dreams at home.
You each have the opportunity to make choices and no matter what those choices eventually are, always have the following principles in your lives:
- Ethics as a basic principle
- Respect for the law and rules
- Responsibility of citizen' hood
- Hard work
- Honoring your parents
For those of you who will still be here next year and the year after, I believe that the history of this great institution and all the great minds that have passed through here provides you with more than enough role models to emulate in striving for excellence. You must select role models in your community that are worthy of emulation. In our days we all looked up to seniors who were hard working and received all the academic prizes at speech and prize giving day. We did not only dream of becoming like them, but we went the extra mile to copy their pattern of behavior, identify them as mentors, borrow their books, solicit tutoring from them and used our utmost best endeavors to be as hard working as them. The trend seems to have changed radically these days, as the role models and mentors are no longer the high achievers in academic pursuit. I urge all of you to retrace the tradition of this great institution, and do us all proud by emulating and aspiring to attain excellence at all times.
Mr Chairman, Board of Governors, Principal, Teachers and Students, in keeping with Trust Bank Ltd's Corporate Social Responsibility activities, please allow me to demonstrate the Bank's magnanimity by presenting to the School this token amount of D100, 000 towards the refurbishment of the school lab. I make this presentation here today as a testament to the Bank's very serious desire to create a positive social contribution to the field of education.
Mr Chairman, distinguished ladies and gentlemen I once again want to convey my deep sense of gratitude to the Board of Governors, staff and students of this great institution for the honor and privilege of inviting me to be your guest speaker today. I wish you all the best for the future.
Congratulations to the class of 2009. This is your moment. Enjoy it.
May the blessings of Allah be upon us all. Thank you for your kind attention.