“I don’t care how bad your situation is. There is a solution to your problem and you can profit from it if you would open your mind and maintain positive outlook.”
Were the words of Former Presidential Affairs Minister and Founder of Sabally’s Leadership Academy (SLA), Momodou Sabally, as he addressed hundreds of students and youth leaders during a symposium organised by the Assembly for Youths Development Association, marking the official launch of their organization.
The forum, which attracted various speakers and dignitaries including Honourable Halifa Sallah and former Gambian National Team icon Malleh Wada, was held at the University of The Gambia Law Faculty on Saturday.
In a speech infused with references to Holy scriptures and stories of great leaders from around the word, Mr Sabally told the gathering: “Look beyond Joseph down the alleys of history and you will find many other versions of this beautiful story: power-prison-power! They rise to power, fall down lower and then rise to power again.
So was the story of Presidents Obasanjo and Buhari of Nigeria. Ghandi of India presaged their experience…”
He narrated a bit of his personal story explaining an intriguing bit of his own fall from grace to prison.
He explained that the once peddled rumour that when the former vice president Isatou Njie Saidy handed him his dismissal letter as Minister of Higher Education, he tore the letter in her presence.
“I have never smoked weed; nor do I drink alcohol; why would I tear a letter relieving me of a ministerial job as a young man knowing quite well that I would need that letter as reference later in my life?” he asked rhetorically.
Sabally, who was tasked to speak on the theme “How to Turn Defeat into Victory”, advised the youth to maintain a positive mental attitude throughout any adverse circumstances that may happen in their lives and to pursue their life goals with faith and persistence.
He then waxed lyrical with a poem is said to have written while going through his trials and tribulations, going to prison and enduring a grueling litigation process under former Gambian strongman Yahya Jammeh’s rule:
... Oaks and helms take time to reach fruition
Detained in time to gain strength like Samson
Prison is the nursery for Joseph to blossom
Ghandi and Madiba, oh aren’t they awesome
Fear no prison grow in season
Sabally finally urged the youth to maintain the spirit of positive progressive action despite the obstacles they will have to deal with; he quoted Gambian rapper, ST Brikama Boyo, as saying:
“Singkuntu mang Kunta Kinteh stop-no ntol beh motivate rinneh” which in Mandingka means “the cutting of his toes did not stop Kunta Kinteh”; and therefore urged the audience to never give up on their dreams. Press Release