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Ironclad

May 5, 2021

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In 2009, a classmate of mine who
graduated with me the previous
year from Bowen University came
to my house
He had this idea about me writing a
book for him
His father owned a printing press
and he could get the book published
for cheap
We discussed terms and he paid me
the initial deposit
I wrote the book and gave him the
manuscript in three weeks
He took it straight to his father
His father read it and told him to go
and get the writer
His father had a distinction in literature
and had written many books for many
pastors
His printing press was somewhere
around Yaba
I met with this young man’s father
He told me he liked my writing and
would like to offer me a contract
There was a project that had been
on his table for about two years
The project was viable but he didn’t
have a writer that was good enough
to execute the
project and he was too busy to do it
himself
He told me he studied English literature
in the University of Ife and graduated
with a first-class honours degree
He hailed from somewhere in Ondo State
He is late now but as tempting as it
feels i will not write his name
He is a very
well known character among the top
brass in pentecostal churches
He said he had written a proposal to a
very popular denomination to write
their daily devotionals
He said the denomination replied to
him that they didn’t have a devotional
in their plan at that time but when he
pressed them a bit about his idea of
producing the devotional with his
own resources, he was assured that
if he could do that, the denomination
will support him with adverts and
allow him to market the devotional in
their bookshops
He said he was sure the devotionals
would sell
He had set aside some funds for it
but he wanted to put his best foot
‘forward
He needed someone who is quite
good at writing to transcribe the
audio messages of the General
Overseer of that ministry and write
daily devotional messages out of it
He asked me if I would like to give
it a try
I was a fresh graduate at the time
and I needed a job
So I said yes
We got to work and within four months
we had the first volume of the
devotional for the next year written
Printing commenced a few days after
the proofreading and editing was done
The man printed two
thousand copies
This denomination holds an annual
event close to the end of the year
That event was this man’s target market
The event came, he sold the two
thousand copies in two hours
He ordered a reprint immediately
and two days later more copies were
rolled out
In short, within a week he made over
ten million Naira in profit from the
devotional and many people were still
demanding for copies
It was as he had anticipated
He shared the good news with me
joyfully
He paid me a bonus for my work and
promised me the project was more than
enough to keep
me occupied for many years
He was quite generous with his staff
members
We all worked very hard for the success
of that project
The new year rolled by
In February of the next year, the man
called me on the phone
I went to see him
He said he got a letter from the
denomination
He had been warned not to write the
devotional again because he was not
a member of the church
An outsider had no right to make such
a profit from the church
The ministry had officially commissioned
its own writers and publishers to carry
on with the production of the devotional
This man was almost in tears
I was a bit naive at the time
I remember asking him if he had gone to
see the General Overseer of the church
to explain to him that the project was
his brainchild and it was being stolen
from him
I believe the General Overseer would
do the fair thing
I was wrong
The General Overseer met with this man
and told him that he does not get involved
in such matters because they would only
distract him
The General Overseer told him to write
to a committee or another in order to
resolve whatever it was that he was
aggrieved about
I totally respect the General Overseer for
his position on the matter, especially now
when I have come to see the different
shades of light that ministry and those in
it walk in over a period of time
The best thing was to keep away from
distractions as He did especially because
he was not involved from the beginning
and it would be a dispute regarding
discussions between gentlemen after
the ministry had stated that they do not
have devotionals in the plan at that time
It could always be argued that the
ministry was not ready as at when the
first edition
was printed but has now decided to
start publishing the devotional
In short, the man came out of the
meeting empty-handed
The production of that devotional has
become quite a big deal now
It is printed in many languages and
rakes in over a billion naira for the
ministry annually
When the man’s son was getting
married, he called me aside and said
“Learn from me, if you have an idea
that you know can be stolen or
hijacked, wait until you are in a position
of strength before putting it out there.
He said “If your udder is flowing with
milk, men will come
and drink, but be careful lest they
claim the udder is theirs and milk you dry”
I got his message loud and clear!
Around the same time, another
brother came up with a devotional
which people took to
The man didn’t have a church but
members of a particular church took
to the devotional like fish to water
It became their daily devotional of
choice
After a year, the General Overseer of
that ministry invited commissioned writers
to start writing the devotionals for the
ministry
This brother heard about it and sought
and audience with the General Overseer
When they met, he told the General
Overseer he heard he had commissioned
writers to start the ministry’s devotionals
The General Overseer told him what he
heard was true
The brother asked if there was anything
in his devotional that the General Overseer
wanted him to change
The General Overseer told him it had
nothing to do with content but with
vision
It made no sense that a church will
work hard to gather a crowd and
someone else would be profitting
off the hard work of the church
The General Overseer advised the
brother to either start his own church
or find another denomination to
promote and sell his work for him
Again, I do not blame the General
Overseer of this denomination
What he did made a lot of sense
In both cases the people with the
idea did not follow due process
If both men had taken the time to
get lawyers involved and signed
ironclad contracts, they would
have protected their interest and
at the same time given the
denominations a percentage of
their earnings graciously
A gentleman’s agreement is not enough
Remember that it is only in the
parable regarding business and money
that Jesus said the children of this
world are smarter than the children
of the kingdom
When I started to write threads on
twitter, I was approached by many
bloggers who wanted to milk my
work for free
They needed content and they told me
my work will go far and have some
visibility
I found my work on many platforms
but i had learned from those that
went ahead of me
I quickly built a website and promoted
my works on it
That was the beginning of GSWMI
You have to think ownership too
Don’t allow wolves and jackals and
other decomposers to frustrate your
glory
You dont need a moneybag to make
it
Start small and grow
Those who go about peddling their
ideas under the guise of lacking funds
always end up crying foul when their
ideas got stolen or got given to another
Strike while the iron is hot
Start today!

 

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