Celebrated former President of PMAN and Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chief Tony Okoroji, has called for Nigerian musicians to stop the bickering and come together in the interest of the young people in the industry and to leave a legacy for the next generation of Nigerian creative people.
Speaking on an Eko 89.7 FM morning program, Breakfast Buffet, this Saturday, Chief Okoroji said that he was terribly embarrassed by the endless finger pointing and dirty name calling that has become the order of the day in PMAN which he observed has badly damaged the image of PMAN and made the once most admired association the laughing stock of the nation. He said that the time has come for the bickering and quarreling to stop and for those who truly have the interest of musicians at heart to come together and work with one another to ensure that the industry speaks with one voice on critical issues.
Asked by presenter, Niyi Ojemakinde what unique personal qualities have been responsible for his unrivaled success both as PMAN President and as COSON Chairman, Chief Okoroji said that he has always worked hard to bring diverse people together to achieve common goals. According to the COSON Chairman, “Both as PMAN President and COSON Chairman, I have always understood that the personal example of the leader is critical to success. My main assignment has been to bring thousands of people together and inspire them to work towards achieving the common good. I am not driven by money. I am driven by the passion to see my industry better. I work hard, very hard… maybe harder than anybody I know. I give my all to every assignment I undertake”
Asked by Ojemakinde what his reaction was to the claim by Orits Wiliki on an earlier edition of the program that COSON is presently operating illegally, Chief Okoroji said, “I will not trade insults with my brother Orits Wiliki. I have absolutely no interest in quarreling with him or anyone else because all the quarrelling does not contribute to the progress of anybody. I would rather work with Orits and every other person to do good for the musicians of Nigeria. I am never involved in anything that is unlawful. COSON is acting 100% legally and we work for the good of the greatest number. For instance, during the recent coronavirus lockdown, with musicians across Nigeria suffering because all the event venues have been locked down, there is no wedding, no party whatsoever, no work and no income, I spoke with members of the COSON Board and we took the bull by the horn and distributed the sum of N72 million naira of COSON money to musicians across Nigeria and there was no quarrel whatsoever about the distribution because it was done transparently. The money was not paid in cash. It was done by bank transfer and there is a record of everyone that received the money: the name the bank details, phone numbers, etc. I am proud of that. I am proud of the magnificent COSON House at Oluwaleimu Street in Ikeja built without one naira of government money, no loan, grant or debt whatsoever. I am proud of my contribution to making the Nigerian copyright law possible and the Nigerian Copyright Commission too. I am proud of my major text-book, “Copyright & the New Millionaires” which is being used by practitioners, students, lawyers and judges. I am not interested in empty noise. I only do things that have value”.
Asked why the big event, the Nigerian Music Awards, which used to titillate Nigerians young and old, no longer holds and Chief Okoroji replied, “the environment is very different. I used to assemble Nigeria’s best from every field to put together a show that made Nigerians proud, from the President to the taxi driver on the street. For several years, Prof Duro Oni, who until recently was Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Lagos was my lighting man. Renowned producer, Laolu Akins led my sound team. Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, Regina Askia, led my ushering team. Jahman Anikulapo who recently retired as Editor of the Guardian on Sunday worked with me backstage. The great cinematographer, Tunde Kelani was my Chief cameraman. Nigerian’s most renowned set designer of the time, Pat Nebo did my sets. Before each show, I lived at the National Theatre for two weeks and took naps on the floor. We worked for national pride and not for money. Today there are hustlers every where whose only interest is money. We cannot build a great nation this way”
Chief Okoroji advised all the many agitators in the industry to turn down the volume and work together to leave a legacy for the next generation of Nigerian artistes.
There was a celebratory atmosphere at the studio of Eko 89.7 FM with the visit of Chief Tony Okoroji

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