Thank You, Tijani By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo

In the course of pursuing some creative projects, I had almost forgotten how entertaining it is to partake in public discourse about our country, Nigeria. Even for battle-tested warriors like me, the privileged opportunity to exchange ideas with the public could often be cankerous. In general though, over the years, I have found it to…”
Moroti Olatujoye
July 30, 2018 11:35 am

In the course of pursuing some creative projects, I had almost forgotten how entertaining it is to partake in public discourse about our country, Nigeria. Even for battle-tested warriors like me, the privileged opportunity to exchange ideas with the public could often be cankerous. In general though, over the years, I have found it to be edifying.

Even though I have not been a participant in the last few months, I have enjoyed reading the works of young and exciting writers who have fresh ideas, intoxicating eagerness, and infectious optimism about Nigeria. It was very refreshing to find myself devouring their work, unlike the works of some of my league of old brigades who are jaded and sapped of thirst-quenching ideas.

My semi-retirement was, however, brought to a halt when Tijani H. Ibrahim wrote a piece on me titled, “Dr. Damages as an almajiri.” http://saharareporters.com/2018/07/17/dr-damages-almajiri-tijani-h-ibrahim

It was a hilarious piece that mocked my not-so-successful attempt to raise money to publish a new book about the US President Donald J. Trump. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I want to use this opportunity to publicly thank Tijani for his interest in my misfortune. I want to also inform him that since he wrote his piece, some of my friends have stepped up to wipe away the shame of zero donations in one month that prompted Tijani to write. We are still very far from were we need to be in pledges to get the book published, including effort to make the audio recording of the book in the voice of US President Donald Trump.

Even with its unique challenges, it is still an exciting project. It is one of the new ways that creative people now get things accomplished in a world where traditional institutions are floundering on the weight of an emerging economic system that is democratized and fractured. In governance, we hear of public–private sector partnership. In the world of creativity, the direction is towards a partnership between the producer and the consumer. That is why crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe, KickStarter, IndieGoGo and Rockethub are gradually becoming a place to go for artistes seeking the support of their patrons to continue to produce work.

While we are familiar with raising money through these avenues to support people in need and social causes dear to our hearts, this approach has been expanded to touch other ventures that are equally in need of support. Publishing, recording, filmmaking and most forms of creative works, for those who are insiders, are not the most lucrative ventures out there. It is for that reason that the term, “starving artist” was coined. In recent times, the transformation in the industry has overwhelmed the gatekeepers just at a time when there is an explosion of creativity. The pressure from this dysfunctionality naturally led to the opening up of new avenues for deserving works to see the light of day despite the crisis.

In fact, soliciting for public support for creative projects has become mainstream. In 2013, 6,421 people backed Spike Lee with a pledge of $1,418,910 to help bring his movie project, “Spike Lee Newest Joint” to life. Also on Kickstarter, Veronica Mars Movie Project and Zach Braff’s “Wish I Was Here” all raised millions of dollars. So far, almost $800 million has been raised for more than 48,000 Kickstarter projects. These donations were from ordinary men and women pitching in $5, $10, $15, $20, and more to support the project they would love to see produced. Whatever level of support one could give, the producers often offer a little reward as a form of thank you.

Crowdfunding has been called the reboot of capitalism. It is returning creative power back to the creator and not to the business executive at the head of a corporation producing records, publishing books or making movies. As it was in the beginning, the creative work becomes in essence, the baby of the community that supports it.

My project, “The Secret Letters of President Donald Trump aged 71 2/3” is therefore standing on that firm ground.

It is making the case that it is very easy to love or to despise U.S. President Donald Trump. What is hard is to know the man behind the headlines.

If you will like to support the publication of the book, please visit the site here and donate to my GoFundMe. https://www.gofundme.com/secret-letters-of-trump-book-fund

For as little as $10, $25, $50 or more, you will help bring to life this satirical book that gives readers a unique insight into the inner workings of President Trump’s mind. Depending on your support level, your reward could include a copy of the book when published. As stated in the appeal, 15% of the profit from the book sales will go directly to organizations going on medical missions to remote parts of Africa where medical care is unavailable.

In the conclusion of his piece, Tijani stated that if Saharareporters published the piece, he too would donate. So Tijani, I’m still waiting for your donation.

…And you, too. Yeah, you. Stop looking behind. You, my reader.

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