Following an abrupt decision to put an end to a popular literary brand, Lekeku, by its Chief Executive Officer, TheLensMedia has conducted an interview to find out the cause.
The interview ensued between a team member of TheLensMedia and AbdulKadir AbdulKadir, the CEO of the brand.
Below is the conversation :
Q:WHAT IS YOUR FULL NAME?
CEO: My name is Abdulkadir-Abdulkadir
Q:PLEASE TELL US MORE ABOUT YOURSELF
CEO: I am a Professional Web Designer, Script Writer, Film maker and I’m the Founder of Lekeku, a literary brand aimed at revolutionalising writing in Nigeria.
I studied in Ghana, with a BBA in Association of business Executives (ABE) UK.
I have a Bachelors degree in Business Administration.
Q:WHEN DID YOU CONCEIVE LEKEKU?
CEO: Lekeku was founded July 2017.
It’s literary brand aimed at building, bounding, exposing and creating financial stability for African writers, both young and old.
Q:WERE YOU THE ONE WHO CONCEIVED THE IDEA OR WERE THERE OTHERS?
CEO: It was an initiative which started right from the passion for writing.
I started Lekeku with my brother and my best friend but at that time it was called Thinkliv. Along the line, they didn’t give it so much attention and energy like they should have, so I took up the responsibility to make the Lekeku dream happen, regardless of the cost.
Q:WHAT’S THE NAME OF YOUR BROTHER?
CEO: Seyyid Abdulkadir, he’s the author of Behind her veil.
Q:HOW DID LEKEKU KICK OFF?
CEO: We started off with poetry contests but after a while we realised writers needed a bigger platform and the need for every writer to be financially stable was the motive behind lekeku which led to the creation of Writers Champions League.
Q: WHAT WERE THE MOST CHALLENGING SITUATIONS YOU HAD TO FACE?
CEO: The challenges I faced are enormous.
As at that time Lekeku was called Thinkliv, I was in 300Level at the University. We organised a Poetry contest in collaboration with a British woman ,Elizabeth, who wanted traffic for her Poetry page. At the end of the contest she was supposed to send over, a historical picture frame for the winner of the competition but disappointingly, we got a heartbreaking message from her. Her brother wasn’t feeling too well and she wouldn’t be able to get it delivered to Nigeria.
As at that time, I was not in Nigeria and I told my mum about it. She took it upon herself, searched and bought an imported frame which was later presented to the winner.
Also, at the early stage of Thinkliv, we made an agreement with a Serbian web designer to get www.Thinkliv.com ready so writers would be able to earn from writing. He went behind us and bought the name thinkliv.com at $3 which meant we would have to buy the web name from him. He contacted me and told me a company had bought the name but he will help me negotiate that I should deposit $200 up front.
That was what led to the change of brand name to ‘Lekeku’ but sadly I had already paid over $400 for the creation of the website so we parted without ever gaining full access to the site. That was what inspired me to learn web designing and now I’m a professional at it.
Q: IN YOUR JOURNEY, DID YOU PUBLISH BOOKS OR PARTNER WITH ANY PUBLISHING COMPANY FOR THE WRITERS UNDER YOUR CARE?
CEO: Writing is diversified. We have content writing, copywriting, prose, poetry, the list goes on.
When I came into the writing industry, I noticed how every literary brand was doing almost the same thing. We have a lot of publishing brands; online and offline, so this was never the foundation which Lekeku was built on.
We understand the need for writers to be published as it is extremely important as a career goal in the literary world but we came with a revolution.
With technology advancement, we came to change the narrative.
Take a look at our services; Book trailer Services, Spoken word video Shoot, and a list of others. The world has advanced beyond books. There would never be a breakthrough if every writer’s goal is to become a published author.
Have we ever asked ourselves who read these books? 60% of the same writers in your circle, 30% of your friends who will probably buy out of guilt and may never read your book and 10% of the public.
In essence I’m not saying publishing is bad, but writers need to step up their game. The world is changing and the attention spam is decreasing, do we believe books will change the dying culture of reading In Nigeria?
Q: YOUR GOALS FOR LEKEKU SEEMED AND SEEMS GREAT, WHY DID YOU PUT AN ABRUPT END TO IT?
CEO: The dream we have at Lekeku can only manifest if writers are ready for change.
Yes we’ve invested a lot in it; time and Capital. We were even considering open a Lekeku branch at yaba, Lagos. A place where writers can walk in, grab a coffee, pick up a book, connect with other writers and beyond but how would all these materialize when writers themselves do not believe in their craft?
You’d see a writer post an Article or a poem and next minute another writer drops an emoji as an applaud for a creative piece!!!!!
Take a look at comedy. When comedy started years ago, we had stage comedy performance but today the biggest and consistent earners online are comedians because they understand the use of technology but when you tell this to a writer they’ll say art is art and art doesn’t appeal to the general public so in essence we should keep writing and hiding and reading our books ourselves.
These were the horrific things that made lekeku consider switching from a literary brand to a different sector. But currently, we’ve been receiving appeals to not switch completely because Lekeku has aided the dreams of writers in its circle and for this we’re again looking deep into the industry and trying to see what we can do to keep every writer’s dream alive. But this can only happen through the support of Lekeku writers.
Q:WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE AT LEKEKU?
CEO: We at Lekeku believe there’s a huge, unexplored future for writers
Q: HAVE THERE BEEN ANY LESSONS LEARNT SO FAR?
CEO: The biggest lesson so far. In as much as I see this journey as a selfless journey for the betterment of the industry in the future, realising the time and capital spent, I would say I’m proud of where we are and what we have achieved even though we’ve not gotten to the peak yet.
My family, My mum and my Dad in particular have always been in support of this initiative 101%.
My dad told me months ago that it doesn’t matter who sees what you’re doing now, the end is all that matters. Your actions are like the edge of a brush, you’re painting a picture, it is when you’re through that the world will understand your art.
Q: WHAT’S YOUR MESSAGE TO WRITERS?
CEO: Don’t give up. Finish that book you’re writing. Explore better ways of selling your book. Let me give you a tip. Don’t depend on media houses, including lekeku, for book advertisement. Take out some extracts from your book and share it on social media. Ask the general public; writers, actors, non writers to act some of the scenes from your book. That way, your book will be on people’s lips. It could be like a contest: you could even collaborate with lekeku and other literary brands.
I hope sometime soon I will teach a class on ways writers can explore beyond.
Lastly, writers champions League (www.thewriterschampionsleague.com) would be kicking off soon, if you’re a writer, this is the biggest event in the literary space you should look forward to.
An interview with the CEO of popular literary brand, Lekeku