INTERVIEW: Ali Hydara talks family, business, President Jammeh and Manchester United

Written by Alieu Khan

Ali

He is one of the famous young Gambians on Facebook. Ali Hydara is an entrepreneur and a staunch supporter of President Jammeh. Read our interview with him below:

What’s On-Gambia: First of all thanks a lot for accepting our interview proposal. Please tell us briefly about yourself?

Ali: Asalamualaikum, it’s a pleasure! My name is Ali Hydara but people call me Hydara Karara. I am the first child of my family. I am Gambian. Sheriff Abdoulie Hydara from the Shariff clan is my dad and my mum Ndey Marie Mboob is a great granddaughter of Mam Samba Korkie Jobe, the elder brother of Sayerr Jobe, the founder of Serre Kunda. I was brought up in Niumi Mbanta and at the age of 13 I moved to the Kombo.

I also lived in the UK before returning for good to start my own business. Honestly, I don’t regret coming back home and would encourage any Gambian who wants to came back home to make the journey as there are lots of opportunities here that we can tap from.

According to some historians, you are a descendant of the holy prophet. Please explain.

I thank Allah (S.W.T) for not only making me a Muslim but also a descendant of the Holy prophet Muhammed (S.W.T).  As it was explained to me, we are descendants of Fatimatu Zahra (R.A) the daughter of the Holy Prophet who was married to Ali (R.A). They gave birth to Ousainou and Assan who gave birth to the Shariff dynasty. There are about 27 great grandfathers direct to the prophet Muhammed S.A.W.

What motivated you to start your own business?

Actually business was my childhood dream; I can remember I used to collect empty milk tins and other disposed materials and packed them in my dad’s room and later sell it to the shopkeepers.

Shopkeepers also used to come for me during weekends and holidays for me to help them in their shops when I was in primary school.

I started my business selling phone cards until I bought a shop for my brother in 2006 and my second shop in 2007.

I want to contribute towards the socio-economic development of my country and to proof that there are opportunities created by the government for young people like us to tap from. I can say I am an example for Gambian youths.

I have so much respect for people especially youths that are hardworking and aim for a bright future. I would one day want to become more than Sir Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and everyone will be talking about The Gambia.

Mr. Muhammed  Jah of Qcell, Mr. Almamo Fatty of Supersonicz Money Transfer, Papa Yusupha Njie of Unique Solutions and Mr. Njundu Fatty of Lasting Solutions are Gambians we should emulate.

So there are enough business opportunities for young people in The Gambia?

Absolutely yes! The Gambia is a developing country and because of that, there are lots of untapped opportunities that young people can explore especially in agriculture and with the right business idea, commitment, hard work and honesty one can make it here.

Most people would think you need millions to be an entrepreneur but honestly that’s not the case and we have seen people who just had nothing but mere ideas which they were able to turn into a multi-million dollar businesses.  Through hard work and dedication everything is possible. A good example is our Fula brothers that start their businesses with just a plate of cola-nut and after few years they become big importers/exporters.

Ali

How comes you are so famous on Facebook?

(Laughs) honestly, I don’t see it as being famous but as a Gambian I think it’s our collective responsibility to portray the good image that our country.  Facebook is also the available platform that I can use to reach people.

You are a huge supporter of President Jammeh. What do you like about him?

I like him from day one and most importantly his idea of transforming The Gambia from a developing country into a developed country. He has put youths on top of his development agenda and being a young person I have nothing else but to support him in any way possible for the realization of those objectives.  

A lot have been achieved and knowing how much love he has for this country, a lot more is on the way coming in making The Gambia an economic super power.

The most important thing is for every Gambian to contribute in his/her own way the little they can do for a better Gambia.

But according to some people, The Gambia would be a better country without APRC?

That’s their opinion and everyone have the right to support or against, we are all brothers and sisters and Gambia belongs to all of us.

In twenty years of the AFPRC/APRC rule, Gambians can boast of numerous development projects. Today we are graduating Gambian trained lawyers and doctors, almost the entire country has world class road network which is good for trade, hospitals across the country, a modern international airport terminal building, university, television and most importantly there is increment in the foreign direct investments, which shows how stable our country is as you know no investor would invest in any country they have doubts over.

You own one of the biggest pro-government Facebook pages. Why do you think the government needs a social media presence?

As a Gambian, I thought it is relevant to show the other side of our country which the world needs to see and know of. We Africans are tired of all the negative publicities on the mainstream news networks every day. I can tell you ninety percent of all that you hear about Africa in the mainstream media is wars, hunger, drought and the most trending news nowadays is Ebola. So as a young African and Gambian in particular I want to portray the positive side of The Gambia and there is nothing that we report on our page that is not true, because most times we accompany our reporting with pictures.

Are you married?

Not yet but hopefully soon In Shaaa Allah.

What European football team do you support?

Manchester United!

Why?

May be because The English Premier League is the most watched league in The Gambia and growing up as a young lad, and finding Manchester United being the dominant force also played a part in that too. I have been a Red Army and will always do until the end of time.

I was lucky to visit the Manchester United’s stadium (Old Trafford) which was among my life dreams and got a certificate signed by Sir Alex Ferguson.

Ali

You are keen follower of What’s On-Gambia. Do you have any advice for us?

My advice is to continue portraying the good image of The Gambia and Gambians.

I know the website is more like a People Magazine, which might be new in our Gambian setup and you know us with our “Sutura” stuff. I think your editorial team should always consider that before publishing stories.

You are being followed by many people, and not only Gambians.  You are doing a good job and keep it up.

Any final words?

Final words for the interview, I would want to take this opportunity to once again thank you and your editorial team for offering me the interview and if I have said anything right it’s by the will of Allah (S.W.T) and if anything goes wrong it’s the human nature in me but it was not deliberate. Gambia NyatoDorong!!