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 proof reading 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!

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