Industry Heavyweights Demand Affirmative Action On COSON Crisis
The looming revocation COSON’s licence and its consequences for musicians, composers and other rights owners have prompted a call for urgent action by the Nigeria Copyright Commission, the Nigeria Police, and the EFCC by music industry heavyweights.
The call was made at a stakeholders forum/media chat held at Protea Hotel G.R.A Ikeja on Wednesday June 6, 2018 by key players in the industry who are of the opinion that the regulator, Nigeria Copyright Commission should focus on dealing with the identified erring officers of the society as against revoking the hard-earned approval of the operating licence of COSON as penalty for failure to comply with its directives since the beginning of the crisis on December 19, 2017.
Ace production consultant and president Association of Music Business Professionals (AM.B-Pro), Edi Lawani, In his opening remark on behalf of co-conveners – Sound Sultan (artiste and executive), Tola Odunsi (label executive / video director / film maker) and Pretty Okafor (PMAN President), expressed dismay with the current state of affairs that has forced the convergence of key stakeholders in the same location where efforts towards the establishment of a viable collective management system for Nigeria crystallized into the creation of the Nigeria Music Industry Coalition about a decade ago. That coalition birthed COSON, the promising institution whose very existence has been thrown into peril by the lingering crisis caused by Tony Okoroji’s desperate hold on to the reins and the Efe Omorogbe-led board’s insistence on his sack as chairman and full forensic audit of accounts and operations of COSON under his tenure.
Present at the forum were rapper and Chocolate City Music President; MI Abaga, rapper and fashion entrepreneur; Ruggedman, singer/song writer and Impakt Entertainment boss; Sunny Neji, veteran rapper, TV host/executive producer and entrepreneur; Zaaki Azzay, top promoter and founder of Industry Nite; Matthew Ohio, multi award-winning rapper and executive; Ill Bliss and Thouroughbred crew mate and creative entrepreneur; B Elect, reggae/dancehall veteran; Blackky, Afrobeats veteran; Adex (Artquake), Premier Records MD, Toju Ejueyitchie, legendary drummer / producer/music publisher, Laolu Akins, rapper M. Trill and doyen of experiential marketing in Nigeria / promoter, Kunle Onime.
Other heavyweights in attendance include Olisa Adibua (veteran broadcaster/media entrepreneur and label executive) Ayo Animashaun (media mogul/exec producer, Headies) Femi Aderibigbe AKA Kwame (media mogul) Mike Dada (PR guru and executive producer, AFRIMA) Kingsley James ( branding expert/ entrepreneur/ country director, AFRIMA), Dr. Chijioke Okorie (IP lawyer), Justin Ige (lawyer), Obasijuade Adedokun, (President, Association of Music Artistes Managers of Nigeria and also Baba Dee, SK Sensation, Joel Ajayi, Paul Okeugo and Efe Omorogbe (directors of Copyright Society of Nigeria, COSON).
To avoid throwing away the baby with the bathwater, many stakeholders stressed that officers who have refused to comply with the directives of NCC should face sanctions from instead of penalizing the organization.
Edi Lawani who was one of the founding fathers of COSON stated, “If the NCC recognises that some people are impersonating to be what they are not and what the NCC does not recognise them to be, then the NCC should focus and deal with that problem rather than suspending the licence of COSON … So this is a clarion call to the NCC to please have a rethink and deal with all the issues that border or hinge on illegalities, there is a procedure for doing that, we have the court we have the police.”
Some of the stakeholders also criticised Tony Okoroji’s continued deployment of right holders’ royalties to wage legal, media and sundry battles against directors who have maintained a call for independent audit and other perceived enemies or opponents.
A draft statement was circulated amongst guests at the end of the forum and a vast majority of the stakeholders in attendance appended their signatures to affirm their agreement with the position.