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Bar, Bench honour Pap Cheyassin Secka

Apr 4, 2012, 12:38 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

In a sombre mood, members of the country’s legal fraternity from both the bench and the bar yesterday held a valedictory session in honour of the late Pap Cheyassin Secka, a senior Gambian lawyer who died on Thursday 29th March.

The special session, held at the Law Courts Complex in Banjul was, among others, meant to reflect on the late lawyer Secka’s achievements and contributions to the legal fraternity and the state, in particular, during his life time.

Described as a true son of the land, the late Pap Cheyassin Secka died last Thursday, after a brief illness.

“Why do we live only to die? That question serves as nothing but a lament. The scientist would say death is in the nature of things; for even Earth itself will perish. The religious would say that death is ordained by the Almighty. And everyone agrees that life is inconceivable without death, and so is death without life.

“Alhaji Pap Cheyassin Secka was a religious man who died, it is said, only a few moments after Muslim prayers, and no right thinking person would doubt he would resurrect in heaven by the grace of God,” Surakata B. Semega Janneh, doyen of the Gambian Bar, said of his former schoolmate and colleague, in his valedictory statement at the session.

Fafa E. M’Bai, another senior member of the Bar and also a friend to late lawyer Secka, said:

“We are gathered in solemn ceremony here today in gratitude and love for the life of a man by most standards remarkable, by any standards lovable, and by all human standards good.”

According to M’Bai, PCO Secka, or Cheyassin, or just Pap as they affectionately used to call him, possessed great courage both moral and physical, but without rashness; extraordinary speed of thought and decision, but with fine judgment; high ideals and breadth of vision but with keen appreciation of what was achievable; a true sense of the law and of justice, and acute sensitivity to the problems and aspirations of other people.

“His style which was an amalgam of personal charm, distinction of mind, a natural grace and with that kept bubbling to the surface even at time of extreme stress, will remain an unforgettable part of his memory by the Gambia Bar,” he added.

The inherent necessity of dissolution, M’Bai said, has torn him away from us, but not before his name was inscribed in the scroll of this country’s most distinguished men of the law and of justice. The record of his service, his charm and his grace will withstand the corrosion of time, and at the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember him.

Also speaking at the session, Emmanuel Akimoya Agim, Chief Justice of The Gambia, recalled that the late lawyer Secka was instrumental in the legal sector of The Gambia serving in various capacities.

“The late Pap Cheyassin Secka was representing the Bar at General Legal Council offering his advice to them. He was never subjective, he remained objective all throughout, and helped the General Legal Council to do what they are doing today; he was passionate about the Gambia Law School where he played a role,” Chief Justice Agim told the session.

“How many people can rise from a fall? For many people when they fall, that’s the end, but Secka rose from a fall, and operated as if he had never fallen; he continued as the past never existed and moved on and never attributed his problems to any human being, but said it was the will of God. And he moved on,” Justice Agim added.

According to him, the balance sheet of the statement of account of the late Secka shows that his good deeds weighed in his favour.

Lamin Jobarteh, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, said the late Secka departed at a time they needed him most, to partake in the first graduation ceremony of the Gambia’s Law School which he contributed to establish.

“I mean to say that, we needed him to be present and alive with us to see the development and progress of our legal system, but unfortunately God Almighty who gave his life called him to eternal rest,” he said of the deceased.

Other speakers at the session included Sheriff Marie Tambedou president of the Bar association, Madam Penda Dibba, secretary of the General Legal Council and Ousman Secka, the late lawyer Secka’s son.

The valedictory session was witnessed by the widow and family members of the late lawyer Secka, members of the judiciary, justice ministry, judges of the superior court, friends and relatives of the deceased.

Pap Cheyassin Secka was a former minister of Justice and Attorney General under the APRC administration.