In praise of Saikou Jammeh


Allow me space in your widely read and authoritative daily to share my opinion on the development and progress of your institution, but most importantly, show my highest admiration and esteem to your essayist and journalist, Saikou Jammeh.

First, allow me to say that Saikou strives for perfectionism. Like our former Boss Sheriff and many other greats of the ink, he strives for accuracy, objectivity and fairness in all of his articles; hard news or essays. His inscriptions, to me, are not only pellucid but essential anywhere I see them even without his byline on them. His writings are that of a true journalist, whose objectives are to always apply what we referred to in journalism as the ‘KISS’ formula. This means to ‘keep it short and simple’ and whose purpose is to infuse the PMI, otherwise referred to as the ‘point of maximum interest’ for the benefit of readers.

Saikou is a very cautious and mindful reporter and editor. Many a time, he would question and question me over and again anytime he edits my story. He asks about my sources, what prompts them to disclose them to me what they do, how they do it and how reliable and efficient they are as a source of information. He asks often too many questions pertaining to my story that sometimes I thought in my mind that ‘this guy doesn’t believe and is trying to discredit me and my story.’ But as it is often said, ‘do not judge the book by its cover.’ 


So as night give way to day, days emerge into weeks and weeks to months I realised that all those questions and scrutiny are there to protect and not discredit me. He is being careful and thoughtful and compassionate, especially in a fragile country, where journalists sometimes suffer from harsh treatment from the authorities. Saikou loves me. He adores me and doesn’t want to see me end up missing or behind bars. But above all, he envies no one. He is like a real brother from another mother. Saiks, as most colleagues fondly call him, is always smiling and hardly, very hardly gets annoyed or angry, or perhaps he has a special way of dealing with it because I have never detected dismay on his young, bright and innocent face. Maybe he inherited these positives from our ‘Nyo’ people in North Bank.  

In my four year plus career in the field of journalism, never have I ever come or meet a sensible, smart, generous and open-hearted person like Saikou Jammeh. Saikou is a role model worth emulating both professionally and socially. Over the years at The Standard, he has been not only my fortress and a hand to hold on to, but also the voice guiding me in my day-to-day pursuit of a successful career in journalism. I draw a lot of inspiration from him. His advices to other loved and close ones at the company are what keep me going. Words may not be enough to communicate all the positives and generosities of this kind and gentle soul, for they are too many to state and mention. 

Finally though, one thing overall, is clear to me; Saikou is after Sheriff Bojang undoubtedly one of the most promising, prolific and dynamic writers little Gambia has ever produced. Simply put, to me he is simply the best at what he does best; writing and editing. 

Lastly, Saiks has some fine qualities and practices that make a good journalist. He has contacts and the ability to make and keep the right ones. He has curiosity, persistence and toughness. The man has the ability to grasp the big truths with the humility to let them go again when the facts don’t fit. Saikou is ruthlessness with facts and has the accuracy and the craft skills of journalism to deliver. These are qualities that are all necessary to make a good journalist, even though they are all not enough. 

Lots of Kudos to Saikou Jammeh.


By Alagie Manneh