Muhtar Bakare, ex-banker, book lover and MD/CEO of Kachifo Limited, gave an insightful interview with The Guardian recently. Read an excerpt below:
Muhtar Bakare believes in the quietest of revolutions. He thinks what we read can change us. He has lived and worked in Nigeria all his life and passionately believes everyone has the right to tell their own story.
His own is remarkable. He gave up his position as a bank executive to start an independent publishing house because no one was publishing fiction. Did people shake their heads over the brave folly of his enterprise? “Definitely! But setting up a publishing company was always going to be a challenge. And it still is: we have no distribution network and there is blatant piracy – infringement of intellectual property. People have to struggle against this, which can inhibit the power to be productive.”
But nothing seems to inhibit Bakare. He cites his voracious reading as a spur – he studied architecture at university and was fascinated by politics and economics. This showed him the world was “ruled by ideas and I was concerned Nigerians were not contributing enough to their production”. He became a banker because finance was “part of the way the world was structured” and he understood its influence. But he maintains that, even as he joined, he knew he would one day leave to become a publisher.