For the readership of this important medium, I would like to set the records straight. Ebrima Satou Fafana’s first blatant lie that Alhagie Omar Ceesay dabbles in politics is complete fallacy. He has never engaged in politics. By claiming that this scholar has interest in politics is deceptive and complete lie.
Ebrima Satou claimed that Alhagie Omar wants to claim the mantle of imamship of Salikenni is another lie. In fact, Fa Illo Ceesay used to come to Alhagie Omar to seek Quranic knowledge. For many years he had been taught by Alhagie Omar. Through Alhgie Omar, Fa Illo knows how to deliver kutbah (summons). Ask even the children of Illo or Imam himself. They will admit what I am writing if they are truthful.
Another lie of Ebrima Satou Fofana is that the poor Illo contributed to Alhagie Omar’s studies in Saudi Arabia. How can that be true when Alh Omar could even be older than Illo? When Alhagie Omar went on his studies Illo could not even afford himself let alone sponsor someone else. A little lesson for Ebrima is that Alhagie Omar was sent to Mauritania to study and memorise the Quran when he was 7 years old. After several years, he came home and was later awarded scholarship by the Gambia government in the late 70s.That’s how Alhagie Omar acquired his education and not through the help of the poor people of Salikenni as you claimed.
For over 30 years, Eid prayer summons have been done by Alhagie Omar with previous Imams. He will recite in Arabic and the other Imam will translate it or vice versa. Any one from Salikenni can attest to that. The same tradition continued with Illo as the imam until this Eid prayers when he (Illo) decided to side-line decades old tradition. He asked someone else to do it who is an illiterate without consenting with Alhagie Omar. After the Eid prayers as usual, Alh Omar got up to do the sermon with him but to his surprise he was told to sit down, for he would no longer to do it. He was told someone else – an illiterate – would take his place. Some people objected to the choice of Illo. Ilo got the imamship through the tradition and not the level of his education. Why would he flout the same tradition in a broad day light?
The truth is that the problem started when the then leader of Ceesay Kunda clan, Alhagie Lalo Dibba Ceesay (may he rest in peace) with other elders selected Alhagie Omar and some one from Ceesay and Darboe Kunda clans to serve as deputy imams to Ilo Ceesay. Though he is not well versed in Islamic knowledge but Ilo attained imamship because of lineage. Traditionally, those classed as fathers (uncles) get the imamship even if they are not educated. Some illiterate imams however nominate an educated person to lead prayers.
For over ten years Illo has been side-lining his deputy imam. Instead of giving Alhagie Omar his due, Illo would delegate other people to lead prayers when he is not around. This continued until one Friday when Imam Illo’s delegated deputy imam messed up prayers. It was then that Ceesay Kunda clan asked Alh Omar to perform his deputy imam duties. Imam Illo was asked why he had been sidelining Alhagie Omar, he said he feared being overshadowed by the well versed scholar. Hence forth, Ceesay Kunda clan insisted that Alh Omar must be the deputy imam whether Imam Illo liked it or not. Imagine the frustration of being blessed with Islamic knowledge but your effort to teach your people is being blocked just because some people fear they will not be heard. I rest my case.