B M Dzukogi turns 52 today, seeks to be the next Governor of Niger state even as he says "I think of death every minute".

BM Dzukogi, writer and Founder of the Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation turns 52 today. Earlier in the morning The Arts-Muse Fair Literary Intercourse interviewed him.

TAMF: Happy birthday to you. How does it feel to be 52 today?

BM Dzukogi: I feel like I am expiring though with much gratitude to Allah. Many blessings at young age.

TAMF: You couldn't have such thought of expiring soon, not with the zeal and energy you expend these past years on promoting writing and writers. What's this goal that drives you?

BM Dzukogi: Outside wanting to be the president of Nigeria or governor of Niger state, experimenting the emergence of quality writers through institutional mentoring is number one thing that bogs me continuously.
It is important to define few things you want to do in life. Literary promotion is one. Art keeps me pure to an acceptable fitness that makes you a worthwhile citizen. I enjoy the purifying nature of art. So I am in it. I think of death every minute. It's worse with my wife and Saddiq. I have been in it for over thirty years. It is troubling. It pushes me to quickly want to get done with an item bogging me.

TAMF: The Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation this year is launching an ambitious project of collecting 5000 books, through donations and distributing same to school libraries and students. Could you let us into the philosophy of this 5000 books drive?

BM Dzukogi: Yes. It's tagged the Naija Book Hunt and Harvest. We have gathered over 300 books already and February is the starting date after Book Maker and January Teen authors flash.

The philosophy is to dig out 'redundant' books kept at home by parents and individuals and recirculate them to schools and student. We are providing an initiative that is not burdensome to parents and students. Just gather your old novels and other books, call is to come and collect. That's  all.
We have chosen an auspicious moment (World Book Day) 2017 to distribute the books gathered. This is to create maximum impact and generate high sympathy for the project.
The overall philosophy is many;children can't access books today, so the foundation becomes the go-between for circulation or recirculating of books within the community.
Our shock was when one Christine Asoegwu said she was sending books from Port Harcourt, and another lady, Tamara, started gathering books for us in the US. Another in France. Then we said to ourselves 'this is no longer a 'Niger' but 'Naija' matter.The flag off is on 1st February at COE, Minna by Prof.  Faruk AbdulRashid 

TAMF: What is this Book Maker event that holds later today?

BM Dzukogi: It Is a structured Guest Writer series targeting emerging writers who are making name on the national and international scene.
In it, there is mentoring, reading and chatting. The highpoint is that our mentees must write reviews about the authors' works to provoke discussions on the social media. The target is the teen authors not necessarily the guest author.
It is a quarterly event and the children are rooting for Elnathan John as the next guest. I told them where will I see him? Dzukogi is at the outskirts of Minna and Elnathan is in London. How will they meet?

TAMF: We will round off this interview by seeking you to explain your desire to be the President of Nigeria or the Governor of Niger state. How serious do you take these dreams?

BM Dzukogi: I have carried these for too long. I do shed tears sometimes looking at the world. Looking at the state. I do not say I must be. But if I am none of these, that's a little bit tragic. Not for me but for my state, at least. 
Of course, I shall try to be the Governor when it gets to my part of the state, zone A. Why not? It's not a joke. Let there emerge a governor from within the people. That has to happen. I am too convinced about the quality of my service. Leadership, according to General Shehu Yar'Adua enables you to actualise your dreams and visions for the society faster. I concur with that philosophy. Who else will do that diligently other than the artist? They know the value and essence of words. Every big thing you see around you was once a little idea.


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