7 days to go: Stars gather for the commissioning of the COSON House

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  • A few people are once again shooting their arrows in a desperate effort to taint this historic development for the Nigerian creative industry.

Okoroji is the chairman of COSON

Recently, I was on FAJ Alive, a truly exciting programme on LTV moderated by my guy, Femi Akintunde Johnson, a journalist’s journalist who has seen the good, the bad and the ugly sides of the Nigerian entertainment industry over the years.

It was refreshing not just to reconnect with FAJ but to once again meet his partner for life, the ever smiling, Iretunde, former Miss Willouhby who FAJ obviously toasted in the news room of the Punch where both had worked as young reporters at a time when I was a young President of PMAN.

In those days, I used to do a weekly column called ‘Tonies Tonic’ for the Punch. There was no e-mail at the time so I beat the notorious writer’s deadline by driving to the Punch every Wednesday to submit my column to FAJ who took over as my editor after the fiery Azuka Jebose Molokwu who introduced ‘Tonies Tonic’, bolted to America.

To promote my recent appearance on FAJ Alive, Femi had gone on social media to describe me as the guy in the ‘eye of the storm’. My comment on the Facebook thread was that I had just eaten some eba with some nice vegetable soup and did not see how that could be described as a storm!

On FAJ Alive, Femi had asked me a very pointed question: why I continuously attract so much beef especially from some people in the entertainment industry. My answer to him was that I do those big historic things that people are too afraid to touch or be associated with but which are necessary for the development of our nation.

Let me state here that I hold it to heart that you cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs. I do not see how you can do the things I do without stepping on toes and invariably people who are ignorant, people who believe that their interests have been threatened or people who were sleeping while you were working will get upset and begin to throw stones.

If I decide not to do good because people will throw stones, then I am a coward and I know that no great nation in the history of mankind has been built by cowards.

I have written elsewhere that I have long decided that the measure of my success on earth is not the number of houses I own or the amount of money I have in a bank. I am very much aware that someday, the Almighty will decide that my time is up and He will call me home. Therefore, in everything I do, I am passionate about positively touching the lives of as many people as I can.

When I took on the fight for a new copyright law in Nigeria and soaked myself in the battle against piracy, I knew that I was stepping on big toes and there would be reaction. There was.

When I took up the campaign to set up what became the Nigerian Copyright Commission, I knew that some people will feel excluded and there would be reaction. There was.

When I designed and executed the Nigerian Music Awards and made it the biggest show in the land attracting stars from around the world including the nation’s president and royalty of all colours, I knew that there were people who would feel offended: those who were never invited to the big show, those who thought they should have won the NMA and never won and those who thought I was getting too much acclaim for the incredibly energy sapping work that I was doing. I knew there would be reaction. There was.

Christy Essien Igbokwe

When I decided upon the passing on of my colleague, Christy Essien Igbokwe, the first ever female President of PMAN, a former Chairman of the defunct PMRS, a trailblazer in the performing arts in Nigeria, that I would do everything to ensure that she got buried like a queen, I knew that I was stepping on toes and there would be reaction. There was.

When I took on the challenge to make the copyright system yield real dividend to people in my industry by running a professional, transparent and accountable collective management system and we made COSON one of the most admired collective management organizations in Africa, I knew that I was stepping on very big toes and there would be enormous reaction. There has been.

The truth is that in a few years, COSON has distributed over half a billion naira to stakeholders in the music industry through our banks with clear details and a system that is easily verifiable.

Wow! It is only 7 days from today. Saturday, May 20 will be a historic day in the annals of the Nigerian creative industry as Nigeria’s glitterati gather to commission the magnificent COSON House in the heart of Ikeja.

COSON House is the first fully owned property of its kind by any association, union, society or group in the history of the Nigerian creative industry. In setting up COSON House, we have followed every rule in the book in executing the instructions given to us by a resolution of the members of COSON at a General meeting held in Lagos on December 16, 2015. There is no secret about COSON House. We owe not one kobo on the building and the cost which has been verified by our auditors has been sent to each of the over three thousand members of COSON.

While thousands of musicians across the country are celebrating the commissioning of a piece of choice property belonging to them, a few people are once again shooting their arrows in a desperate effort to taint this historic development for the Nigerian creative industry. They are beefing!

What they do not know is that I owe them so much for the progress I have made. Each time they beef, I am more inspired, happy and determined to do the best I can for the greatest number.

I was at the COSON House site yesterday. There is still a lot of work going on but there will be no postponement. May 20 is a date with history.

See you on May 20!

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