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 Condolences: O.J - Alhaji Omar Amadou JALLOW

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Momodou Posted - 15 May 2023 : 10:40:19
The sad of the passing away Alhaji Omar Amadou JALLOW widely known as OJ.
OJ was the the leader of former ruling People's Progressive Party. He served as a minister in both President Jawara and President Barrow’s administration as cabinet minister.

My sincere condolences to his entire extended families and friends and the entire Gambian nation.
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Momodou Posted - 15 May 2023 : 21:45:32
OJ. We Remember Him for His Fight against Dictatorship
By Madi Jobarteh

As OJ leaves us, we are bound to show him gratitude for his stand against Dictatorship since the overthrow of his PPP Government by rogue soldiers in 1994 who came to unleash untold suffering and humiliation on Gambians. Many in the overthrown PPP Government decided to join the AFPRC/APRC regime, and many more even went silent ever since while others fled the country. But one person did not only speak up against the Jammeh Tyranny, but he also remained inside the Gambia and missed no opportunity to expose and condemn the excesses of the despotism in the country. That man was OJ Jallow.

Even when DK Jawara who was the head of the PPP party and Government eventually mended fences with the Tinpot Dictator, OJ remained consistent and constant in his opposition to Yaya Jammeh and his tyrannical regime. The passing of OJ today therefore marks him as the last man standing of the PPP old guard – with pride and dignity. He deserves commendation for that.

OJ’s stance against dictatorship and his yearning for democracy and human rights in the Gambia was second to none. I recall the many forums that TANGO and GPU would convene to mark Deyda Hydara Day or World Press Freedom Day in the Gambia at which OJ was always present. Not only did he sit at the front row, but also OJ was more than eager to grab the mike to release marathon speeches in exposing the litany of abuses of the regime and calling for justice and accountability. Here he is in 2011 in the TANGO Hall marking Deyda Hydara Day. Even at an advanced age and having endured uncountable arrests, detentions and torture and the risks of which remained present, OJ was never deterred from expressing himself as he liked.

As we mourn OJ, and pay glowing tributes to the man, rightfully, there is also lot of lessons that as a society we could learn from him – his life and work as an elected and appointed public official. More so, our political leaders and the young budding politicians should see the political life of OJ as a guide. There is need to study deeply and critically the life of OJ to draw lessons. From his time as a young PPP politician in the First Republic to his role in the fight against Dictatorship to the part he played in creating the new Barrow Government until his retirement from politics and final demise.

A national conversation is necessary to subject the lives and work of our leaders to open, honest and blunt conversation so as to enable our society to learn from them and guide ourselves better. We must therefore not only pay glowing tributes, but we must also evaluate and analyze their decisions and actions as well as their successes and failures to better understand our leaders in order to improve our society. OJ’s life is rich in this regard for his life spans the three epochs of post independent Gambia, comprising three governments and three presidents which are so different yet also similar in many ways.

I hope our media, beginning with GRTS and the independent media will open talk shows where various experts, officials, politicians, critics, friends, family, and observers from all sides will sit to critique and showcase the life and work of OJ. Indeed, a man who lived and work for so long in his society has a lot to give back to his people even in death. Therefore, let us make the life and work of OJ a school and a classroom to learn in order to improve.

I have lost a friend, who I called Dad, Comrade, and Mentor and he used to refer to me as the ‘most troublesome Gambian’, with love. OJ was a humble man, approachable and absolutely humorous such that his presence always brings life and energy to the situation.

May Allah grant his gentle soul eternal peaceful rest in Janatul Firdawsi.

For The Gambia Our Homeland
Momodou Posted - 15 May 2023 : 20:08:48
*Old Man Musing*

Short tribute to a titanic figure and a friend of all the world, Mr. Omar Amadou Jallow alias “O.J”.

When in February 1965, we attained our Independence, it seemed that we were destined to steer the affairs of our nation with resolute determination and move with quiet dignity to our place on the world stage.

But regrettably in 1995, we couldn’t stay the course as events changed the scene beyond recognition, with blatant abuse of human dignity and wanton disregard of human rights and human life with extrajudicial killings and disappearances.

In truth, we found ourselves being tested to the very utmost as a nation and as a people.

Nonetheless, independent Gambia had also produced, at the same time, some few but great, selfless, unforgettable and committed leaders.

Undeniably, “O.J.”, as he was fondly called and widely known, was a giant amongst such worthies.

In passing, he had held high positions with ministerial portfolios (notably in the Ministries of Water Resources and Agriculture) in the 1st and 3rd Republics respectively.

Nonetheless, towering above all, “O. J.”, had on uncountable occasions been arrested, detained, tortured and maimed by the group of military misfits that had held our country under autocratic rule since 1994 and for 22 years.

Yet, O. J. had never failed for want of determination, not only representing our collective resistance as a people, nay our resilience as a country but, most importantly, embodying the best in us as a people and as a nation.

In the example of great sons of the soil such as “O. J.”, our people have amply demonstrated strength and will to surmount the most daunting of challenges.

In short and indeed for his invaluable contributions to our Gambian society, “O. J.” will forever remain and be seen as a symbol of Gambian resilience and, for that matter, a true generational impact leader.

Yet, in spite of his countless brushes with the military junta which earned him routine detentions and frequent beatings, even to the extent of losing one of his eyesights, “O.J.”, singularly at the TRRC hearings, not only wanted to be a part of his country’s mourning but also its healing when he publicly declared that he had “forgiven all those who had done bad to him”, to paraphrase his words.

Finally, “O. J.” will therefore be dearly remembered as a resilient champion of the ordinary person and of decency in our Gambian society.

Indeed, he will also be sorely missed as a champion of fairness and selflessness among his people.

True that O. J. had forgiven “all who had done him wrong”, in his very own words.

In like manner, may the Almighty God and the Lord of Mercy also forgive him for his shortcomings, if any, and grant him a final eternal and peaceful resting abode in His heavenly blissful “Al Jannah” which he so rightfully deserves.

Adieu, O. J., our onetime brother and friend of all the world.

RIP: Rest In Peace!! Rest In Power!!

Hassan Gibril
Momodou Posted - 15 May 2023 : 20:06:11
" A Tribute to A Great Man: There Will Never be Another Amadou Jallow (OJ)."

Omar Amadou Jallow (OJ), was a truly remarkable human being He was, a friend to all and beloved by many. OJ always made one feel that you were his best friend. Though he was generous to a fault and so principled, and perhaps because of these, he never shied away from speaking his truth. My most memorable recollection and time with him and his wife Awa Jobe, was the before the 2006 Presidential election when we traveled by car from Atlanta, to Raleigh, New York City and to Providence, Rhode Island, to raise funds in support of NADD. We traveled back to Ohio, where I lived at the time. After a few days, we took the long trip back to Baltimore. There was never a lull in our conversation, which made the long trip go quickly. OJ, was a true and dedicated patriot who saw Gambia first and foremost. He was a "Man of the People," in the best sense of that title. I met OJ in the early 1960s, when he served as Cooperative Inspector in my native Kaur. He befriended all and was beloved widely. Always quick with a smile and beholden to the youth, his foray into national politics was only a matter of time- rising, as he did, to national prominence as Minister of Agriculture in the first republic and the short-lived Coalition government headed by Barrow after Jammeh's ouster. OJ loved life and people, his home and office always teeming with visitors and well-wishers. He shared his home and resources with the people- always insisted they stay for lunch or dinner. He came to the aid of many, especially young people, who wanted to travel abroad. OJ suffered numerous atrocities under Jammeh but kept his "ngor," in the face of lucrative job offers from Jammeh and overseas. Even though he was out of office during the dark days of dictatorship, he lacked for nothing. His friends, supporters and well-wishers never abandoned him. He, too, remained loyal to them, especially his childhood friends- the likes of Alieu Koroma, former KMC Mayor, Kebba Jallow, and his brother, Imam Baba Leigh, to name a few. At great odds when the going was tough they stood together, as OJ kept the PPP flag flying high despite threats to his life. He never once abandoned forner President Jawara and at his funeral eulogized him with grace and eloquence. His devotion to Jawara also extended to his wife, the calm, unfailingly gracious, Awa Jobe, and all their children. In OJ's death Gambia has lost an incomparable son and servant who was unflinching in upholding principles of goodness, fairness/justice for the small man, woman and child. Gambia will not likely see, or have another son and humanitarian as O.J. He was a caring person who will give you his last dalasi- testimony to his deep and enduring strong faith. Through all life's challenges and triumphs, O.J., never forgot from where he came- the streets of his beloved Serrekunda. He refined his "ndongo" qualities, turned them as the basis of his national/international good reputation and popularity. He uprightly served the nation and the world. Gambia thanks OJ's family and his wife, Awa, and children for sharing him with so many. Omar Amadou Jallow touched and changed so many lives. And, today, the world and this small enclave called the Gambia, are better places because he had lived. He was a friend to all and beloved by many more. Rest in peace our dear brother and friend. You have had a great run. Now, you can rest in eternal peace- assured that your life will continue to inspire generations of current and future generation of Gambians.

Adios, Comrade Jallow, you fought a good fight with grace and dignity.

Abdoulaye Saine

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