(JollofNews) – Pata Saidykhan is a renowned Gambian political, social and cultural critic. A native of Jarra Sukuta, he graduated from the University of The Gambia and Bellevue University in the USA.
In this edition of On The Spot, Mr Saidykhan talks about his earliest memory, his most embarrassing moment, why he despises ex-President Yahya Jammeh and admires Lawyer Ousainou Darboe and lots more.
Who is Mr Pata PJ?
Mama’s boy. Pata J. Saidykhan, from Jarra Sukuta. Grew up in Sukuta Kombo North. Attended Armitage High, University of The Gambia and Bellevue University Alumni.
When were you happiest?
Whenever I’m around family and good company.
What is your greatest fear?
I’m very careful in my dealings with people. I cherish relationships. So my greatest fear is to disappoint and betray trust that’d affect my relationship with those I care about.
What is your earliest memory?
My brother Buah holding my hands to take me to school even before I was of age. I owe that man everything.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I’m not suspecting. So I embrace with not an iota of suspicion. That sometimes makes you quite exposed. Vulnerable.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Insecurity. I admire folks who are confident and secure in themselves not to be threatened by others. So if you come to me saying ‘Peter says this about Lamin. Be careful of Natasha’, chances are you aren’t secure and/or trustworthy.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
I was very young but I remember an ustass [Quranic teacher] that used me at assembly to explain wet dreams and washing zanaba. I remember crying all day at school that Friday.
What is the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
A vehicle. And it’s not even luxury one.
What is your most treasured possession?
A photo of me giving my moms what was to be our last hugs. God Rest her Soul.
What would your superpower be?
Healing the sick, because I know what I’d gone through when my mother was sick and couldn’t move or say a word to me.
What is your favourite smell?
Smell of rain. It’s very soothing. That’s what I loved most in rainy season. I hate farming.
If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
Orthodox Human Relationships that’s been ‘killed’ by technology and social media.
What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
That I’m selfish and do not care about people who love me. She was my girlfriend. Still hurts because nobody ever told me that even after her.
Have you ever said “I love you” and not meant it?
Yes, I did. I wasn’t prepared.
Which living person do you most despise, and why?
Yaya Jammeh. He’s a murderer and took our country through the most turbulent people of oppression and repression.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
My older Sister, Fanye. She’s the one girl I share same DNAs with from moms and pops. She’s the most innocent, harmless female, lights the room with her aura. She is full of life.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
The Gambia. University of The Gambia days, to be specific. I made the best of friends there. I’m talking lifelong friends.
Which word do you most overuse?
What has been your biggest disappointment?
That I still haven’t gotten kids by now. I would have loved to have a Junior me that I’d drop at school every morning. I’m working on it though.
How do you relax?
Listening to music when alone. But I prefer the strip club scenery on weekends.
What is the closest you’ve come to death?
Was young and attempted to swim in a village river. But for the help of others, I would have drowned.
What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
Family. It’s everything to me.
What is your greatest achievement?
Obtaining a bachelor’s degree. That foundation is crucial and sets the stage for bigger, better ambitions. Preps you for the world.
What keeps you awake at night?
Lately, it’s been Gambia and curricula. Any thing Gambian, I’d not let pass. I’d either read, view or comment on it.
How would you like to be remembered?
A selfless human and patriot.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
That you cannot be complacent and take things for granted, but be prepared to give the benefit of the doubt. I learned not to jump to questioning people’s motives.
Is it better to give or receive?
It depends. There’s great satisfaction in giving, so much humility and appreciation in receiving. I prefer giving though.
Which living person do you most admire?
Lawyer A.N.M Ousainou Darboe. He’s the epitome of humility and selflessness. When you read his interlocutor, you’d want to be like him and commit self to public and national service.