First Family’s maiden Leadership Award to spur excellence -After UTG’s top two win

By IAfrica
In Gambia
Mar 24th, 2014

The maiden ‘National Leadership Award’ instituted by the First Family of the Republic of The Gambia to recognise the invaluable services of distinguished personalities across the broad spectrum of the Gambian society has a great potential to promote excellence in the country, analysts have said.

The unprecedented initiative dubbed “President Yahya Jammeh and Madam Zineb Yahya Jammeh’s National Leadership Awards” were unveiled at the Eighth Convocation Ceremony of the University of The Gambia at the symbolic July 22nd Square in Banjul. It saw Professor Muhamadou M.O. Kah, the vice chancellor of the UTG and Jenung Manneh, the university secretary, named as the first winners, much to their surprise and elation.  

Professor Kah received ‘His Excellency, the president of the Republic of The Gambia, and chancellor of the University of The Gambia, Sheikh Professor Dr. Alhaji Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh National Leadership Award for 2014’, whilst Jenung Manneh was awarded the ‘Madam Zineb Yahya Jammeh’s National Leadership Award For 2014’.

Reacting to this feather in his cap, Professor Kah said he was deeply honoured and humbled to be a recipient of this accolade, while returning thanks and gratitude to the Almighty Allah for giving him the opportunity to serve his country as the first Gambian to head the country’s highest institution of learning as well as the overseer of The Gambia College.

He remarked: “I thank His Excellency, our chancellor for his bold vision in establishing the University of The Gambia and for having confidence in my ability to lead my colleagues and put UTG on the path to becoming a world-class university. One person cannot build an institution and certainly, not this vice chancellor. Thus, I thank the hardworking men and women at UTG and The Gambia College, who have joined hands with me to implement our chancellor’s vision.”

Professor Kah is also grateful to the Gambian people for their continued support, prayers and words of encouragement, while dedicating his award to his family, friends, the UTG and The Gambia College. “This award came with a total surprise and appreciation. These coveted awards potentially represent an inspiration that all can aspire to attain and means a lot for all,” he concluded. 

The retired Gambia College principal cum university secretary, Jenung Manneh, said he received the Award with a great sense of pride for the fact that his “little contribution” to the development of the country has been recognised and appreciated by the state.

 He continued: “The award has reaffirmed my unalloyed support, loyalty and solidarity to the development aspirations and nation building crusade of His Excellency, the president and chancellor of the University of The Gambia. The Award also means that His Excellency, the president and chancellor of the UTG has a commitment to transform the university to an academic centre of excellence and is willing to cooperate with all those who are interested in the overall development of a critical mass of highly trained and competent professionals.” Quizzed as to whether he was expecting such an award, Manneh said, “it came as a big surprise to me”.

While dedicating the Award to his entire family, friends and well-wishers the veteran educationist said his desire is to joins with others to upgrade UTG to a world class university and an academic centre of excellence for the overall development of a critical mass of highly trained and competent professionals.

“We want to see that through our efforts UTG becomes the powerhouse for the transformation of The Gambia through the creation and application of knowledge. We want to see the university providing relevant, sustainable, and high quality research in respect of the socio-economic development of The Gambia,” he stated, while responding to a question about the kind of legacy he hopes to leave behind at the UTG. 

Bios: Prof. Muhamadou M.O. Kah

Prof. Muhamadou M.O. Kah is the current vice chancellor and Professor of Information Technology & Communications at The University of The Gambia. Prof. Kah is also the overseer of The Gambia College (The teachers college of The Gambia).  He has been recently appointed as the vice chairman of the National Committee on Science, Technology & Innovation by the president of The Gambia.  Prof. Kah is the third vice chancellor of The University of The Gambia and the first Gambian to be appointed to the post. He was involved in the pre-dawn of the UTG. 

Prof. Kah and his wife (Dr. Jainaba Kah) were the first Gambian academics based abroad to teach in the St. Mary’s University’s Extension Programme (UEP) in 1998. He was also involved in 1999 during the dawn of The University of The Gambia (UTG). His involvement included being among the first team of international academics from selected universities across the world to convene in Banjul for the initial structuring and architecture of the faculties and administration of the UTG. He was also tasked to volunteer to be the focal person receiving and validating the academic credentials of the first academics applying for teaching positions at the UTG. He served in the first Appointments Committee of International academics tasked to review and recommend appointments of the initial faculty members of the University of The Gambia. 

Prof. Kah served as a faculty member in several reputable universities including: Howard University, Washington, DC; Rutgers University, NJ and American University, Washington, DC; American University of Sharjah, UAE and the American University of Nigeria. He also taught as an Adjunct Associate Professor at George Washington University, Washington, DC; and Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada’s Extension Programme in The Gambia.  Prof. Kah was the founding Dean of the School of Information, Technology and Communications (2005-2009) and doubled as Interim Dean for the School of Business & Entrepreneurship (2006-2007) at the American University of Nigeria. 

He was the founding director of the African Center for ICT Innovations and Training (2005-2009) and doubled as Chief Information Officer (CIO) (2008-2009) at the American University of Nigeria. He also served as chairman of the Information Systems and Operations Management Department at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (2003-2005). His corporate work experience includes AT&T Bell Laboratories, Strand Management Solutions, Inc., Educational Testing Services (ETS) and The World Bank, etc.

Prof. Kah serves the local and international community in various capacities. He is currently the vice chairman of the Association of Information Systems (AIS- International Association of Information Systems/IT Academics) – Special Interest Group on ICT and Global Development; chairman of the Board of Zenith Bank, The Gambia; board member of The Gambia Chartered Institute of Bankers; board member of The American University of Nigeria, Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria; board member of the African University of Science and Technology, Abuja, Nigeria (AUST); board member in the Nigeria Federal Government’s Abuja Technology Village (ATV);  board member of the Nigeria Communications Commission’s Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), Abuja, Nigeria; board member of The Gambia Standards Bureau, member of the Network Advisory Committee (NAC) of the African Growth and Modeling Consortium of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPIRI), Washington, DC; member of the Scientific & Technical Committee of West and Central African Council on Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD); board member- the West African International School (WAIS), The Gambia; board member, Francis Degaul Njie Foundation, The Gambia, board member of the Africa Brain Gain Foundation, Kenya and is a charter member of the KPMG Information Systems Ph.D. Project (USA), etc. 

Prof. Kah was recently honoured by the president of the Republic of The Gambia with a National Award with the insignia of Member of the National Order of the Republic of The Gambia (MRG). In addition, his efforts in higher education in Africa were recently honoured with a Chieftaincy Title/ Recognition- Ezi Enyi I, by the Obi-Mbieri Autonomous Community, Mbieri, Mbaitoli, L.G., Imo State, Nigeria. He was also recently recognised for a Distinguished Award of Excellence as Great Ife Fellow- Great IFE Alumni Association – The Gambia Chapter- OAU, IFE, Nigeria.

Jenung Manneh

Jenung Manneh was born on 12th July, 1947 in New Jeshwang, Kanifing Municipality. In 1990, he got a certificate in Institutional Administration at Wolverhampton Polytechnic, UK.  In 1988, Manneh also got a certificate in Administration and Management, Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Truro-Canada. 

In 1983, he bagged Masters of Arts degree (MA), majoring in Agricultural and Extension Education with Educational Management and Administration as minor. Again in 1981, Manneh got Bachelor of Science degree with honours (BSc. Honours) in Agricultural Education. In 1976, he bagged a Higher Diploma in Agricultural Education, Egerton College, Kenya. 

In his continued search for knowledge, Manneh in 1970 bagged Ordinary National Diploma in Agriculture from the Amadou Bello University in Nigeria. He also attended international short courses in the United States, France, and Zimbabwe among other countries.  

He was the principal of The Gambia College from 1st January 1991 to 30th October 2004, before moving to the UTG from January 1st 2005 to February 2006 as a lecturer. From 2006 to 2009, he was a senior lecturer at the university. He was also the UTG registrar from 2009 to 2011. 

Manneh had also served as a lecturer at The Yundum College from 1978 to 1982 teaching Crop Husbandry, Extension Education, Soil Science, Entomology and Plant Pathology. He was also an executive member of West African Distance Education Association from 1991 to 1995; a member of Commission for the Establishment of the University of The Gambia in August 1996 as well a member of University Implementation Task Force in April 1998. 

He had also been a member of the National Consultative Council on Economic and Social Policy at the Office of the President in 1993. Manneh was also a member of The Gambia College Governing Council from 1991-2004.

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