COSON House: How it all went down

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  • I had to have faith in the technicians who assured me that everything would go well.

Tony Okoroji

I did not wake up this past Saturday because there was no sleep to wake up from. For much of the night I was locked up in Room 107 at Serendiptity Anchototel, a medium sized guest house next door on Oluwaleimu Street Ikeja to the sparkling new COSON House.

In Room 107 was Femi, a very good video editor and of course Tajudeen Ademola, Nigeria’s finest video animator. Some people call Tajudeen ‘TJ’ but ‘Awoko’ seems to be taking over his name.

Awoko is the bird in Yoruba mythology which can sing like no other bird. It is the insignia of the COSON Song Awards. Tajudeen’s video animation of Awoko the bird is so iconic, that ‘Awoko’ has virtually taken his name.

It was about 1.00a.m. and a few hours to the historic commissioning of the COSON House. The unique air-conditioning system within the complex had yet to be switched on for the first time because the brand-new generator to carry the load which was all wired up was yet to be officially commissioned by Mikano.

I had to have faith in the technicians who assured me that everything would go well. The evening before, people had started arriving from every part of the country for the big event. One of the most touching arrivals for me was that of my childhood friend and kinsman from Atta in Imo State, Sir Polly Chima Ubechu who came all the way from Houston, Texas to share with me the joy of the day.

We had made provisions for elaborate cocktails on the magnificent red carpet laid out in front of COSON House. For sure, there would be great live music everywhere around the building with enough to eat and drink. I am however a teacher when it comes to the subject of intellectual property.

I was sure that it would be professional misconduct to bring together the quality of people coming for the commissioning of the COSON House and let them go away without giving them some understanding of the key role that intellectual property must play in the Nigerian economy going forward.

That was why ‘Awoko, Femi and I were locked up in Room 107. For days and nights, we had been working fervently on a documentary on the work which COSON does and the impact that ought to make on the Nigerian creative economy.

Many cups of coffee later, it was dawn but the job was not yet done. We still had not captured a true shot of COSON House because until last evening, workmen were still crawling all over the building putting together elements of the façade.

It was about three hours to the scheduled commissioning time that we did the drone shots of COSON House that appears to have gone viral on the Internet and which shots were masterfully included by Awoko in the documentary which received wild applause in the COSON House Arena later in the day as the voices of Etoma Edu and Patience Bello Okeafor oozed out of the speakers buried in the walls and roof of the Arena.

It was after the drone shots were taken that the heavens opened up and it looked like our big dreams of a great event would be washed away by the floods. I could see the fear in the eyes of the many young people who had worked as if they were possessed to get COSON House ready for commissioning on May 20.

I gathered all of them at the reception area of COSON House and thanked them for the incredible work they had done. I told them that come rain, come sunshine, their building was standing. I reminded them that they had worked together as a team despite the fact that they come from different villages and states all over the country and worship differently. I begged them not to let anyone sow hate in their minds and tear at each other henceforth because they are children of the same God.

I concluded by saying to them that any time someone told them that something is impossible, they should remember that the same was repeatedly said about having COSON House ready on May 20 but they did it. They burst out in applause and the spirit was once again high.

What they did not know was that the rain was buying us time. Again and again, I sneaked into Room 107 to find out how we were doing with the production of the documentary. It was about that time that I got a call that one of the air-conditioning units in the COSON House Arena was dripping water from the roof. I immediately placed a call to Festus the Samsung guy who installed the units and pronto, the problem was solved.

The guests had begun to arrive and a contingency plan had been made to keep them in a holding area within Serendipity Anchotel where they were treated to drinks and small chops and taken care of by a team of beautiful damsels carefully selected and dressed up by Edith, my P.A. of many years. The beauty of this arrangement was that when the rain subsided, we already had a great array of dignitaries in the holding area.

Once I confirmed from Awoko that we were ready to go, I then went on and slipped into my cutely made Etherlberts smart suit given to me by my brother, Emeka Opara, Vice President at Airtel whose suits are the talk of the town. It was then that I gave the signals for the prepared rain covers for the red carpet, the standing band and the cocktail stand to be taken off. It was time to roll out the historic commissioning of COSON House.

From then on, everything went like clockwork. The show was on the road and once again, optimism won over pessimism.

Wow! Wow!! Wow!!! Many thanks to all the people who thronged Oluwaleimu Street on Saturday, May 20, 2017 and made history for the musicians of Nigeria. What a day!

COSON House

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