Without mincing words, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairman Alieu Momar Njie and the college of  commissioners, and Mr. Sambujang Njie, chief executive officer of the IEC, are undoubtedly the national and global most valuable players (MVP) for the year 2021. 

The IEC’s exceptional performance in the 2021 presidential election has garnered accolades nationally and abroad. In the IEC, we found the hope of a new Gambia. 

However, everything we are celebrating today would have evaporated and disappeared into thin air but for the dogged daringness of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairman and his glorious team and college of commissioners. 

During the presidential elections campaign, chairman Alhagie Momar Njie and chief executive officer Mr. Sambujang Njie faced fierce criticism from the opposition and President Adama Barrow’s party. 

However, they maintained an apolitical stance and acted as an independent umpire that they were appointed for.

The IEC staff, with their ingenuity, were brought to the fore with the birth of biometric PV Cards, which largely stemmed from the Gambia’s infamous election malpractices. 

Those who thought they could rig themselves permanently into power could not imagine what hit them with the introduction of the twin invention. By the time they understood the gravity of what was coming at them, they kicked vehemently against the introduction of this efficacious machinery. 

They sought a return to the archaic status quo of conducting elections to maintain the barrel and marbles. Pre and during the elections, it was a fact that the fate of the Gambia was hanging in the balance. 

Allegations about manipulations inundated the print, visual and social media. There was an overwhelming apprehension in almost every quarter of the country about the possible derailment of the presidential elections. 

However, Gambians managed to pull through thanks to chairman Alhagie Momar Njie and CEO Mr. Sambujang Njie and their capable staff.

The “oh no” moment came when the collation of results was ongoing. Gambians watched in real-time as some opposition leaders began vociferously challenging the IEC, alleging the results of the presidential elections were overinflated. 

They accused the IEC Chairman Njie and his CEO  Mr. Sambujang Njie of being partisan in favor of both the President and the opposition. Watching TV seemed like political opposition parties, particularly the United Democratic Party (UDP) and the Gambia Democratic Party(GDC). One independent candidate Mr. Essa Mbye Faal’s action was a cue for something foreboding. 

Polling

However, the IEC leadership kept calm and composure to everyone’s amazement and commendation. They quietly listened to the rantings of those opposition presidential candidates and calmly ushered them away from the spotlight. 

That in itself was one of the defining moments of the 2021 presidential election. 

The foreboding feeling most Gambians felt began evaporating. The icing on the cake was when Gambians learned that the incumbent President Adama  Barrow had become the eventual winner of the presidential elections while collation was still going on in a few hours. 

Discerning Gambians began attesting that the IEC team led by chairman Alhagie Momar Njie and CEO Mr.Sambujang Njie saved the Election Day in realisation and playback of what transpired during the presidential election.

Indeed, the chairman and chief executive officer of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has made a deep, remarkable, and favourable impression on the minds of many in the Gambia and beyond for their handling of the 2021  presidential election. 

For making history where the world will recall that on December 4, 2021, under the leadership of chairman Alieu Momar Njie and CEO Mr.Sambujang Njie of the Independent Electoral Commission, the presidential election was conducted in what Gambians and the world saw as free, fair, and credible; for declaring President Adama Barrow winner of the elections defeating his political Godfather and other political landlords, a feat achieved for the first time in our history since independence, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) team is the runner-up for most valuable player (MVP) of year 2021 award. President Adama Barrow is MVP for the year 2021.

By Alagi Yorro Jallow

Alagi Yorro Jallow

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