Kindly allow me space in your widely read medium to eulogise with pen the life of an illustrious man who many consider as a mentor, role model, pal, family, employer and above all a confidant and advisor. A man who had his humble beginnings in Basse, his hometown; growing into a smart, well balanced, focused, principled and tenacious gentleman with unwavering commitment to his duty and family. He was full of grace, wisdom, and charisma with a level of decency and self esteem that was well rounded with humility that only leaves you impressed whenever you dealt with him. He dealt with one and all at the same level to the extent that you will not stop but thinking that he loves (likes) you more than everyone else and this cuts across the board. He was a resource, a working encyclopaedia in audit and accounting as a specialty but notwithstanding extremely versatile; an asset that made all his engagements, meetings and correspondences short of nothing but sensational, informative and productive. Indeed his family has lost a father, son, and husband, Deloitte has a lost a radical pillar as Managing Partner, but make no mistake the country has lost a resource that might take years to replicate; however, we sincerely hope base on the good we know of him that he will be rewarded with the best of his deeds. Let me interject here and say that I had no intentions of writing this tribute but apparently I am still not able to take off his memories from my mind so I was inspired to write just a few of the good I know about him.
He was Cherno Alieu Jallow, friends and old time acquaintances call him Chernojo or Che but we call him Cherno or CJ. A perfect gentleman, a perfectionist with a very high sense of integrity and dignity that was virtually incorruptible. He was married to two wonderful and modest wives and blessed with two beautiful daughters also aspiring accountants and three charming small boys – May Allah give them life in Islam and put Baraka in their lives as well as the unborn child. I personally envy him for his undying love for his mother as well as the way he researches and endeavours to uphold his father’s right upon him. His 28 years professional career has been in audit; most of which has been with the Gambia’s leading and most successful Accounting Firm – Deloitte which has now transformed into DT Associates with over 50 professionals and alike. He has trained and modelled a plethora of accountants some of whom today are serving in both local and International organisations in prominent positions as well as key decision makers. His life was purely centered on work, family and DEEN; he was almost always the last to live the office. He was an epitome of humility per se as evident in his actions and dealings; regardless of his position as the Managing Partner of the firm, his presence in the office was always graced by entering every office and greeting each one by his first name (he will shake hands with the men and call the ladies by their first names). He had a great sense of humor, exceptionally receptive to the extent that when you enter his office to greet him or for a meeting he will get up from his seat to welcome you and will personally walk all his visitors to the exit door of the office and say goodbye cheerfully – qualities that you hardly find in most bosses today!!! His respect for the opposite sex was enviable; whenever we were going for a meeting and there was even a single female in our midst, he will ask her to sit in the front seat while he will sit with us in the backseat and I must say sometimes we have to squeeze each just for the comfort and reverence of the lady amongst us. He was close to his staff that most people feel shy to even walk up to him and say am leaving unless you are completely sure that it’s worth it.
I was personally privileged and singularly favoured to work closely with him during the last 6 years of his life and even more closely during the past 2 years or so. I recall the day he called me in his office to discuss his plans of renovating an abandoned office space situated at the backyard of the Deloitte complex for the purpose of learning Quran and Arabic mainly for the adult working class. Without going into more details, he was the sole sponsor of this noble institution including the monthly salary of the teacher; I saw a devotion and commitment in him for this study that was inspirational. Once we had a meeting at FIB late afternoon, but no sooner the time for class was approaching than he hasten to wrap up so that we can make it for class in time. He was memorising Quran on his own and this was eminent when you stand behind him during Magrib or Isha prayers because you will clearly notice that he is revising the portions that he was memorising. When he stands in salah (prayer), you see such devotion and humility in him that it leaves you thinking about the quality of your salah. Growing a beard in keeping with the Sunnah (traditions) of the Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W) in his position is one of the most daunting challenges he could put up with but I have never seen him waiver in this conviction. I have personally met people who joined the firm when they were not very devoted in their prayers, but the atmosphere of that office leaves you with no choice but to join the flow as the Partners are mostly the first to start preparing for the prayers. Ramadan was a month of Quran for him and thus he used to stand in night prayers with devotion and humility especially during the last ten nights; a brother speaking high of him said he stood beside him during those blessed nights and heard him crying and sobbing while listening to Quran in salah. Sometime a little before this time of the year in 2013, I was singularly honoured to travel with him to Dakar for a meeting; my room was before his so he will either call me through the hotel intercom or knock my door for Magrib prayers and we will walk together to the masjid a few blocks away.
To his family, friends, colleagues and staffs, I apologise for not doing justice adequately to his life in this short and brief tribute but my intention is to rejuvenate your memories and prayers for him. For those who don’t know him, from these few lines I hope I have painted to you a man of God, a man who was striving very hard for this day that has met up with him, a man whose salient moral qualities and exceptional character was undoubtedly desirable. I have one singular request to one and all who knew him personally especially his staffs and family who were the closest to him; please forgive him and don’t forget him in your prayers. Our hearts are still tender, our eyes are still overflowing with tears for his departure but we will not say anything except that which is pleasing to Allah. To his successors, I pray that Allah makes the work easy for them and fits their feet in his shoes completely.
Finally I pray Allah forgives him his sins and shortcomings and grant him Jannah Al Firdaus in the company of the prophet (S.A.W) and his companions.