Basse Association Prez Resigns; Deputy Takes Over
Thursday April 21, 2011
BA News Release
Basse Association President Resigns; Deputy Takes Over
Pa M. L. Joof
The President of the Basse Association, Inc. Pa M.L. Joof has resigned his post. As constitutionally mandated, his deputy Alh. Mamadou Sellou Jallow has become the new leader of the global organization. In a statement put out on the association's mailing list, Mr. Joof said he wished he had been able to complete his term, but couldn't continue in his role due to his own limitations. "Personal reasons," he writes, "have interfered with my ability to effectively serve as expected."
He said it was best for him to step down and give way to his deputy Mr. Jallow, "who is at a better position to lead and deliver without hindrance." He announced to the general membership that Mr. Jallow had "taken up the leadership of BA, and will spearhead the organization to a better direction." Mr. Jallow's ascenscion to the presidency means an unfilled vice-presidential position. It remains unclear how the association plans to fill this slot from now against the time elections take place later this year.
Although Mr. Joof no longer leads BA, he has promised to remain a part of the the executive committee. "I still intend to maintain my continued membership with BA, and support for its mission and objectives." He thanked the membership for the honour bestowed on him during his tenure as president.
Words of Thanks, Encouragement
On the mailing list, some members expressed their gratitude to Mr. Joof for his leadership. "As there is no choice but to accept your resignation," writes Filly Sabally, a fellow executive member and the BA representative in the Kombos, "I must thank you for the tireless and endless support during your term." He added: "The good news is that your support and contribution still remain the same ... am sure your contribution and ideas will be highly solicited."
Another member Maimuna Sey, based in The Gambia, felicitated Mr. Joof: "Thank you very much for all you have done during your tenure as president of BA ... may God guide and protect you in all your endeavors."
Sainey Jabbi, writing from Finland, also left words of praise for the ex-president. "Thank you for serving BA and the people of Basse."
In an interview with My Basse, the new president was complimentary about his predecessor's tenure. He said that it was due to Mr. Joof's assertiveness and action-oriented goals that enabled the BA idea take off the ground. "Mr. Joof," the whole BA executive and the entire membership are immensely grateful for the great service you have rendered to our people from the inception of BA up till now," he stated. He thanked Mr. Joof for having had the Basse Association successfully registered in the US state of Maryland even long before many more people knew about and got involved in, the BA project. "In a nutshell," he continued, "the BA could not have come into being without Mr. Joof's personal commitment." He thanked his predecessor for his invaluable service to the organization and reminded him that "mothers do not abandon their kids."
Mr. Jallow also received words of encouragement from some members. "As for the new president, Sabally writes, "you are welcome with open arms...we want to assure you that our doors are open for any assistance you may need." Jabbi added: "We are indeed welcoming the new president... the whole BA is behind you and we will serve you and your office at anytime. You will be in our prayers everyday, so that GOD will guide you and protect you and your family for voluntarily serving the people of Basse."
Accomplishments and Regrets
Mr. Joof was very instrumental in laying the groundwork for the growth and development of the Basse Association. Both he and Mr. Jallow are among the pioneers of this organization. It was Mr. Joof who designed the My Basse website. He remains one of its managers, occasionally providing technical assistance. "As soon as we finalized on launching the Basse Association in Germany, I returned to the US to set up this website," Mr. Joof recalled. He told My Basse that he was very happy that this website has provided a platform for Basserians to talk about themselves and their town. The website has gained international fame for its multi-dimensional articles touching on various aspects of Gambian life.
In the beginning, the site was mainly published by Mr. Joof alone. But as the workload increased, outpacing Mr. Joof's availability, he trained a group of editors on the mechanics of website publishing. The spread of technical know-how has facilitated a steady flow of material on the site. Publication is now done with much more regularity. And, as a result, the readership has continued to grow exponentially.
Mr. Joof also designed the logo of the Basse Association, Inc. The logo, emblazoned with cotton bolls, peanuts and a slithering Gambian map clearly identifying Basse, can be seen on the website, centered between two prominent photos of the Basse river. Mr. Joof said when he was designing the logo, he had in mind some intrinsic Basse landmarks. He thought about the famous Basse Cotton Ginnery and Basse's peanuts, cultivated by many a farmer in the area.
Asked what he thought some of his biggest accomplishments were as president, Mr. Joof replied that being there from the get-go, and being among the group who formed the organization, meant a lot to him. He also alluded to his efforts at coordinating the Basse projects such as the scholarship awards, Nawetaan and the Basse central mosque. He was, however, quick to point out that the ablution project at the mosque has been a "negative" so far, adding that stepping down as president has been his "biggest" regret. He said no matter how much he tried to stay on, personal obstacles got in the way and he had no other choice but to relinquish control.
He said one of his challenges as president was in the area of communication, particularly with the community of elders in Basse. He lamented that it was tough dealing with some matters on the ground. He said he had observed some huge disconnect between local realities and Diaspora perspectives, underscoring that this didn't make his job any easier.
Advice, Vision for the Future
On any parting words of wisdom for his successor, Mr. Joof urged the new president to "maintain open channels of communication and build on the outstanding rapport within the membership." He said it was important for Mr. Jallow to work towards strengthening the ties with the folks on the ground. He asked for "good communication, endurance and persistence in the face of challenges." Mr. Joof called on his successor to do all that he could to harness the potentials of the association and make it a better one than he found it.
Son to Ajaratou Awa Jallow and Musa Joof, Pa M. L. Joof was born in Basse but bred in Serekunda. He later returned to Basse to complete his grade 5 & 6 (1988 - 1990) at St George's and Dampha Kunda Primary Schools. He then attended Nusrat and Gambia High Schools. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics & Political Science from North Carolina State University, and MBA/MS in Project Management from the University of Maryland. He is currently employed as a Project Manager for the US Department of Veteran Affairs. Both he and his wife, Fatou Sowe-Joof, also a native of Basse, reside in Washington, DC.
The new president said it would be his priority to make things simple. "My vision for BA," he states, is to have "an organization that speaks the same language as the people it wants to help. " He also envisions an organization that does "small-scale assistance with profound impact on the lives of the recipients."
BA President Alh. Mamadou Sellou Jallow during his new baby Zainab Jallow's christening ceremony in Deventer
About Alh. Mamadou Sellou Jallow
Originally from Jallow Kunda of Basse T-Junction (opposite Furu Gomez's drugstore), Alh. Mamadou Sellou's late dad used to own the-then Jobot Restaurant opposite the old Basse car park. Sellou was a football star of the-then N. P. E. football team of Basse.
Sellou attended St George’s Primary & Secondary and thereafter Nasir Ahmadiyya Muslim High School for a brief period. He later proceeded to the SEN School of Nursing in Bansang to obtain his certification as a nurse. He decided to change careers, and pursued Business studies at a Business Management school in Deventer, The Netherlands.
He currently resides in the Dutch city of Deventer with his wife, Asmaw Jallow, and their lovely kids, Hassatu, Al-Hassan Omar and Zainab Jallow.
He is employed as a Trade Executive with Pak Food BV. Chances are if you are in or from Banjul (The Gambia), you’ve probably consumed some products (such as onions, potatoes, eggs, etc) distributed by his company. Sellou is a dedicated football veteran and still active in sports as a member of the Dutch Referee Association. He is very passionate about engaging and empowering people.
Editor's Note: To read Pa M. L. Joof's resignation note in full, please click on the "UPDATES" section above.