ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION, ABUBAKAR MALAMI, TO DELIVER KEYNOTE ADDRESS AT 2019 COSON LECTURE

Attorney -General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Alhaji Abubakar Malami SAN

The nation’s top lawyer, Attorney -General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Alhaji Abubakar Malami SAN, will deliver the keynote address at the 2019 COSON Lecture which holds in Lagos at the COSON House Arena in Ikeja on Saturday, December 7, 2019.

The COSON Lecture will climax the ongoing COSON Week. Special Guest of Honour at the lecture will be the erudite lawyer, law teacher and leading expert in legislative drafting, Dr. Tonye Clinton Jaja, who is the current Chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC). Also expected at the lecture which will bring together some of the nation’s best minds in intellectual property, content and the emerging global knowledge economy, is Nigeria’s guru of Trade Union and Intellectual property law; first Chairman of the Nigerian Copyright Council (NCC) and former Commissioner at the Nigerian Law Reform Commission, Prof Egerton Uvieghara.

Mr. Emeka Mba, former Director-General of the National Film & Video Censors Board and former Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission will deliver the 2019 COSON Lecture and will be speaking on “Strengthening Collective Management of Copyright in Nigeria in the New Era”.
Emeka Mba who currently heads Questech Media, a specialized media & entertainment consulting practice, has more than 27 years’ experience in the converged fields of media, entertainment and technology, as well as regulatory policy management. He is considered by many as a leading visionary and thinker on the role of government policy and technology in shaping the trajectory and growth of the creative sector, and its impact on social and economic development.

In 2014, Emeka Mba as DG of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), played a historic role in the development of collective management of copyright in Nigeria by bringing together COSON and the Nigerian broadcasting industry to reach an agreement which led for the first time to the payment of music copyright royalties by broadcasting stations across Nigeria. He was honoured for this accomplishment with the presentation of the “Copyright Medal of Honour”, the highest honour the Nigerian music industry gives to anyone.

With the quality of the minds that have consistently gathered at each of the lectures, the COSON Lecture series has easily become Nigeria’s most sought after event for the discussion of creativity, content and developments in intellectual property across the globe.

COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, has asked everyone attending the 2019 COSON Lecture to arrive on time to enjoy the frills of the celebrated COSON House Red Carpet which will be rolled out for the special event.

BREAKING!!! COSON FLOORS FIRST BANK AGAIN AT THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT!

Less than six months after an Ikeja High Court Judge, Justice Y.R. Pinheiro, gave a damning blow to First Bank (Nig.) Ltd as she struck out the interpleader action brought by the bank against Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), First Bank Ltd has again on Thursday, October 31, 2019 suffered another blow as it lost once again to COSON in another action brought by the bank before Justice A.M. Liman of the Federal High Court, Lagos.

Justice Liman dismissed the First Bank suit following a motion filed by COSON’s counsel, Mr. James Ononiwu of the Lagos law firm of the Whitedove Solicitors. Mr Ononiwu had asked the court to issue an order dismissing the suit of First Bank for being a horrendous abuse of court process.

The COSON lawyer stated that the exact suit filed by First Bank had already been filed, heard and determined by the High Court of Lagos State, a court of concurrent jurisdiction and that the suit is malicious and vexatious and was filed to stifle, harass and irritate COSON and its officers and to continue with the unlawful seizure by the bank of the funds of COSON.

Asked Mr. Ononiwu, “What is the interest of First Bank in the funds of COSON, its customer? Why is the bank running everywhere hiding under one court or another to continue to hold on to money that does not belong to it?

COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji who was in court when the judge read his decision and awarded cost against First Bank said, “At COSON, we are taking the Nigerian nation through an important civics lesson. Our continuous legal successes ought to open everyone’s eyes to the conspiracy that has been hatched against us. Those who know us well know that we are great believers in the rule of law and the legal system. Our vision is clear and we are patient. We don’t care how many courts they go to, they will suffer the same fate because good will always triumph over evil. If they are trying to break us, they will fail badly. I am confident that those who have conspired to appropriate what belongs to innocent Nigerian musicians will pay a huge price. It’s just a matter of time.

“COSON was built on the foundation of the rule of law. I firmly believe that the recent legal developments will make the powers of everyone clearer and our industry more professional and stable over time. I call on COSON members once again to celebrate and yet be patient. Let the music pay!”

COSON STAKEHOLDERS IN OWERRI WARN NIGERIAN BANKS AGAINST WITHHOLDING ROYALTIES BELONGING TO MUSIC INDUSTRY PRACTITIONERS

Hundreds of members of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) from different parts of the South East on Tuesday, October 29, 2019, met at a big Stakeholders Forum at the Banquet Hall of Rockview Hotel in Owerri, the capital city of Imo State.

At the massively attended forum, the COSON Stakeholders sent a warning to any Nigerian bank which may have decided to collude with some bad elements within the nation’s music industry and who without any court order or any genuine

process of law, has decided to withhold copyright royalties belonging to innocent practitioners in the music industry.

The COSON Stakeholders warned such banks that there will be substantial price to pay for such perfidy as the music industry in Nigeria is capable and willing to engage in massive and sustained campaign against such a bank.

It will be recalled that on October 8, 2019, COSON, one of Africa’s foremost copyright collective management organizations, filed an action at the Federal High Court Lagos against Access Bank PLC claiming the sum of two billion naira for the unlawful freezing of the accounts of the society.

In the suit No. FHC/L/CS/1777/2019, COSON is asking for a declaration that the freezing of its accounts with Access Bank without any court order whatsoever is illegal, unlawful, null and void. The organization which pays royalties to musicians across the country has also asked the Federal High Court for an order directing Access Bank to immediately unfreeze the Plaintiff’s accounts with the bank, frozen without any court order whatsoever and release all restrictions placed on the Plaintiff from running its accounts.

In its statement of claim, COSON stated that it has never borrowed money from Access Bank neither has it ever overdrawn from its account with the Bank and that as a result of the continued freezing of its accounts by Access Bank without any court order whatsoever, royalties due to the members and affiliates of COSON have been significantly unpaid causing tremendous consternation and instability within the Plaintiff.

The copyright organization said that it verily believes that if the Court does not intervene to put a stop to the vicious behavior of the bank to COSON, the bank will be emboldened to continue to be lawless and to seize the funds belonging to

other of its customers without any court order whatsoever.

In the Statement of Claim, COSON also says that the behavior of Access Bank strongly demonstrates that the bank has special interest in withholding the funds of the Plaintiff and that the bank is acting a script to grind the Plaintiff to a halt as

the bank has taken extraordinary steps to continue to withhold the funds of the Plaintiff, a customer of the bank which has trusted its funds to the bank and which customer has done nothing wrong to the bank.

The COSON Stakeholders in Owerri also warned that there is no law in Nigeria that grants anyone under any circumstance the right to the free use or deployment of the intellectual property belonging to free citizens in contravention of the constitutionally guaranteed rights of such citizens to earn

income from the use or deployment of their property and requested that anyone who wishes to publicly or commercially deploy any of the large body of musical works or sound recordings in the repertoire of COSON must seek a COSON licence before any such use or deployment or face severe legal consequences.

COSON STAKEHOLDERS EXTOL OKOROJI’S LEADERSHIP AND ASK GOVERNOR EMEKA IHEDIOHA TO PROVIDE THE LAND PROMISED BY HIS PREDECESSOR FOR THE BUILDING OF COSON HOUSE IN OWERRI


Members of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) from different parts of the South East met at a big Stakeholders Forum at Rockview Hotel in Owerri, the capital of Imo State on Tuesday, October 29, 2019.

At the well-attended forum, the COSON Stakeholders called on Governor Emeka Ihedioha to redeem the promise made on behalf of the people of Imo State to the musicians of Nigeria by his predecessor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, to provide land for the construction of a remarkable COSON House in Owerri.

In the address of the COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji read on his behalf by a member of the Management Board, Hon John Ewelukwa Udegbunam, Chief Okoroji said, “A COSON House in Owerri will help us to start driving the immense potentials of the creative industry in this important part of the country”
The Forum also passed the following key resolutions:

1) That the COSON Stakeholders in Owerri extol the exemplary leadership of Chief Tony Okoroji, a proud son of Imo State, as Chairman of Copyright Society of Nigeria and praise him for his vision, sacrifice, continued and unequalled contribution to the growth of the Nigerian creative industry and pledge unflinching support to Chief Tony Okoroji’s leadership of COSON;

2) That the COSON Stakeholders in Owerri, express tremendous pride in COSON, a first-class organization emulated by many across the continent of which the Nigerian music industry is delighted and which organization has positioned itself to continue to provide succor now and in the future to all genuine persons within the Nigerian music industry;

3) That the COSON Stakeholders in Owerri, express support for the two-tier royalty distribution mechanism in COSON approved by the members with the general distribution ensuring that every member of the COSON family earns some income and the specific distribution guaranteeing that those whose works enjoy public acceptance earn income commensurate with such acceptance;

4) That the COSON Stakeholders in Owerri commend the COSON Board and Management for their steadfastness, maturity and comportment in the face of perfidy and for ensuring that COSON continues to be the best managed, most transparent and accountable organization in the history of the Nigerian creative industry;

5) That the COSON Stakeholders in Owerri join music industry icons across the country to call on the Imo State Government to confer on the COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, one of the state’s highest honours for his several years of exemplary, fearless, faithful and fruitful service to his fatherland;

6) That the COSON Stakeholders in Owerri call on the leadership of the Nigerian Copyright Commission to be reminded that COSON continues to be the shining flagship of the Nigerian copyright system providing succor to thousands of people across the country and that the NCC was established to undertake those activities that uplift the lives of practitioners in the copyright sector and not to be seen in any way to be engaged in the narrow minded destruction of what is undeniably, the brightest institution ever built by the Nigerian creative industry;

7) That the COSON Stakeholders in Owerri call on the leadership of the Nigerian Copyright Commission to immediately remove each and every shackle placed on COSON so that the organization can continue to generate income for its thousands of members and continue to be a proud ambassador of the Nigerian nation in the international copyright community and an important vehicle for foreign investment in the Nigerian music industry;

8) That the COSON Stakeholders in Owerri send a warning to any Nigerian bank which has decided to collude with some bad elements within the nation’s music industry and who without any court order whatsoever or any genuine process of law, has decided to withhold copyright royalties belonging to innocent practitioners in the music industry and warn any such bank that there will be a substantial price to pay for such perfidy as the music industry in Nigeria is capable and willing to engage in massive and sustained campaign against such a bank.

9) That the COSON Stakeholders in Owerri warn that there is no law in Nigeria that grants anyone under any circumstance the right to the free use or deployment of the intellectual property belonging to free citizens in contravention of the constitutionally guaranteed rights of such citizens to earn income from the use or deployment of their property and requests that anyone who wishes to publicly or commercially deploy any of the large body of musical works or sound recordings in the repertoire of COSON must seek a COSON licence before any such use or deployment

APOSTLE ANSELEM MADUBUKO HOSTS MUSIC STARS AT REVIVAL ASSEMBLY DECEMBER 1 AT AN EXPLOSIVE “COSON IN THE CHURCH”

Nigeria’s most admired gospel music stars, their colleagues and thousands of fans are headed for the beautiful Revival Assembly in Ikeja which will be lit up in style on Sunday December 1, 2019 as the biennial red carpet national day of music, prayer and supplication to the Almighty tagged “COSON in the Church” holds. The nightingales will be joined by Nigeria’s most respected ministers of the gospel in the unprecedented show that will be streamed live on the Internet to all corners of the globe.

Gospel Music star, Kenny St Best (KSB) is coordinating the bevy of talents that will be on stage at the 2019 COSON in the Church. Master of Impressions, Koffi Tha Guru, will coordinate the masters of ceremonies and sleek comedians who will bring laughter to the House of God at the 2019 COSON in the Church. Both KSB and Koffi are key members of the Board of COSON, the fastest growing and most respected copyright collective management organization in the continent of Africa.

Host Pastor at Revival Assembly, Apostle Anselem Madubuko, a great supporter of the music industry, will host the event and co-ordinate the various ministers of the gospel from diverse denominations who will pray for the Nigerian nation and its people at the 2019 COSON in the Church.

Talking about the 2019 COSON in the Church, Chief Tony Okoroji, event producer extra-ordinaire and Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) said, “I believe that Nigerian entertainers from every tribe have fallen in love with the concept of “COSON in the Church” which we hold every two years. I expect our brethren to storm Revival Assembly on December 1, hold hands, pray and sing together at this special edition of COSON in the Church. This is a unique period for Nigeria and the Nigerian music family. It is important that we beckon on the Almighty to continue to shower His blessings on us. We certainly need to thank Him for not letting stability depart from us as we continue to heal the wounds that recently threatened the unity of the music family and almost drove us to disintegration”.

It will be recalled that two Federal Ministers and representatives of several state Governors were part of the awesome congregation at the last and memorable COSON in the Church which took place at Trinity House in Victoria Island, Lagos.

Said Chief Okoroji, “On the day of COSON in the Church, Nigerians can sing with us and pray to the Almighty as one and show the world that despite our challenges, we will move ahead and build a nation where every child has the promise of a future. We will be beaming this non-denominational event live so that people everywhere can join us in prayers and in songs in praise of the Almighty”.

BREAKING NEWS!!! COSON SLAMS 2 BILLION NAIRA COURT ACTION AGAINST ACCESS BANK FOR UNLAWFUL SEIZURE OF FUNDS

 

Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), one of Africa’s foremost copyright collective management organizations for musical works and sound recordings, has filed an action at the Federal High Court Lagos against Access Bank PLC claiming the sum of two billion naira for the unlawful freezing of the accounts of the society.

The suit No FHC/L/CS/1777/2019 which was filed this Tuesday, October 8 by Mr. James Ononiwu of the top Lagos law firm of Whitedove Solicitors is accompanied by a 40 paragraph Statement of Claim and 18 exhibits.

In the suit, COSON is asking for a declaration that the freezing of its accounts with Access Bank without any court order whatsoever is illegal, unlawful, null and void.

The organization which pays royalties to musicians across the country has also asked the Federal High Court for an order directing Access Bank to immediately unfreeze the Plaintiff’s accounts with the bank, frozen without any court order whatsoever and release all restrictions placed on the Plaintiff from running its accounts.

Beyond the unfreezing of its accounts, COSON is claiming a total of two billion naira as general and special damages as well as damages for the loss of reputation and goodwill arising from the deception of the Defendant and an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendant or the agents, privies or servants of the Defendant from further freezing the accounts of the Plaintiff or placing any restrictions on the accounts of the Plaintiff without a valid court order;

In its statement of claim, COSON stated that it has never borrowed money from Access Bank neither has it ever overdrawn from its account with the Bank and that as a result of the continued freezing of its accounts by Access Bank without any court order whatsoever, royalties due to the members and affiliates of COSON have been significantly unpaid causing tremendous consternation and instability within the Plaintiff.

The copyright organization said that it verily believes that if the Court does not intervene to put a stop to the vicious behavior of the bank to COSON, the bank will be emboldened to continue to be lawless and to seize the funds belonging to other of its customers without any court order whatsoever.

In the Statement of Claim, COSON also says that the behavior of Access Bank strongly demonstrates that the bank has special interest in withholding the funds of the Plaintiff and that the bank is acting a script to grind the Plaintiff to a halt as the bank has taken extraordinary steps to continue to withhold the funds of the Plaintiff, a customer of the bank which has trusted its funds to the Defendant and which customer has done nothing wrong to the bank.

In a related development, COSON lawyer, Mr. James Ononiwu who filed the suit, said, “I have said it several times that anyone, no matter who he is or what institution he represents, that lands one blow at COSON will receive five hot blows in return. The members of COSON are determined that no one will intimidate or crush this great Nigerian institution of creative people. They have told us to follow anyone who wishes to mess with COSON anywhere, to the Supreme Court and back. That is our brief and that is a brief we hold dear to our hearts. We join members of COSON across Nigeria in saying, ‘Let the music pay!’”

EFE OMOROGBE ORDERED TO PAY N200,000 COST AS FEDERAL HIGH COURT THROWS OUT HIS APPLICATION

It was not a good day at all for Efe O. Omorogbe of Nowmuzik at the Federal High Court, Enugu on Thursday September 26, 2019 as he was berated by Justice Ibrahim Buba and ordered to pay N200,000 cost for what the judge described as ‘forum shopping’ and ‘abuse of court process’.

Omorogbe had gone to the Federal High Court with an application for the court to strike out the suit filed by several members of COSON led by the highly respected Prof. (Sir) Victor Uwaifo asking for damages and injunction against Omorogbe for falsely parading himself as Chairman of COSON.

In July 2018, Justice A.M. Liman of the Federal High Court had ordered Efe Omorogbe to stop parading himself as Chairman of COSON. With the order still in force, Efe Omorogbe who had earlier lost an application to stop the suit, filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal in Enugu. Thereafter, he filed another application before Justice Buba at the Federal High Court, Enugu aiming to torpedo the entire action and quash the order against him. On September 26, Justice Buba vehemently disagreed with Mr. Omorogbe’s legal maneuvering and threw out his application and awarded N200,000 cost against him and in favour of the members of COSON.

In reaction to the decision of Justice Buba, Barrister Mike Nnaekpe who represented the members of COSON said that the judge was on point as his decision was in line with countless legal precedents. In his own reaction, Mr. James Ononiwu of the Lagos law firm of Whitedove Solicitors, lawyers to COSON, who was in Enugu for the proceedings said, “I have said it before that anyone, no matter who he is, who aims one blow at COSON will receive five hot blows in return. The members of COSON are determined that no one will intimidate or crush COSON. They have told us to follow anyone who wishes to mess with COSON anywhere, to the Supreme Court and back. That is our brief. Let the music pay!”.

Mr. Ononiwu in Enugu also reminded the members of COSON that Efe Omorogbe was still owing the sum of N200,OOO which a Lagos High Court Judge, Mrs. Josephine Oyefeso ordered Omorogbe to pay COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji for the defamation cases brought by Chief Okoroji against Omorogbe.

“COSON IS THE MOST AUDITED ORGANIZATION IN THE HISTORY OF NIGERIA’S CREATIVE INDUSTRY”

 

The following statement is issued by Ms. Bernice Eriemeghe, COSON Head of Finance & Administration.
I wish to state emphatically that the accounts of COSON have been audited every single year by the external auditors approved by COSON members at the society’s General Assembly. None of these accounts have been audited out of time. Without question, COSON remains the most audited, transparent and accountable organization in the history of the nation’s creative industry and certainly the most audited CMO in the nation’s copyright system.  As a leader of the finance team and a professional accountant, I am very proud of what we have done at COSON.
I have read with shock the rabid and wicked propaganda attempts on different social media platforms trying very hard to distort the records of COSON and present us as a corrupt organization. I have no doubt that the propaganda is coordinated by the same group that is determined to tarnish the image of the leadership of COSON.
Some people may recall that last year, this same group purported to have removed the COSON General Manager, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji and asked me to take his position which I refused because it was obvious to me that they were not acting in good faith.
The fact is that neither the Chairman of COSON nor the Board has the authority to order a fresh audit after the General Assembly of the members, the highest decision making organ in COSON, has approved the audited accounts. It is only the COSON General Assembly that can reverse itself but to do so, it must have compelling reasons.
The fact is that those responsible for the propaganda do not attend the COSON Annual General Meetings, the forum in which they can place any issues bordering them before the General Assembly and ask for a vote. Some of the major coordinators of the propaganda are not even COSON members. The last COSON Annual General Meeting which was widely publicized was held at Lagos Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja on May 20, 2019. None of these persons attended the meeting which had COSON members from across the country.
It is important to state that if every group within COSON can wake up any day and ask for its own audit, without going through due process, there will be anarchy in the society because audits will never end.
I am not a member of COSON but an officer of the organization. I have however seen at close quarters the unbelievable work and sacrifice that it has taken to make COSON a most admired organization across our region. I am also aware of the pride that thousands of COSON members have in their organization.
Everyone knows that it is easier to destroy than to build. I therefore want to advise all those who are presently being deployed to destroy COSON to have a rethink.
I am very sure that if COSON was a failure, this agitation to control COSON would not have erupted.

COSON LAWYER WARNS EFE OMOROGBE ON HIS “CONTINUED AND UNRESTRAINED DEFAMATORY STATEMENTS, INNUENDOES & INCITEMENT AGAINST COSON & CHIEF TONY OKOROJI”

Barr James Ononiwu

Mr. James Ononiwu of The Whitedove Solicitors, lawyers to Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) and the organization’s Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji has written a letter to Efe Omorogbe warning him of the consequences of his “reckless and unrestrained defamatory statements, actions, innuendoes and incitement of COSON members, institutions of government, COSON licensees and the general public” against COSON and Chief Tony Okoroji.

In the letter dated June 6, 2019 and copied to Hon. Justice Josephine Oyefeso of the High Court of Lagos State, Ikeja and Hon Justice I. N. Buba of the Federal High Court, Enugu, Mr. Ononiwu wrote as follows:

“Our Clients have brought to our notice the fact that you have continued with the reckless and unrestrained defamatory statements, actions, innuendoes and incitement of COSON members, institutions of government, COSON licensees and the general public against our Clients. The latest include a recent video published by you on Instagram and statements published on various media platforms that you are inviting the EFCC to probe COSON.

“You have continued with your misguided actions despite the existence of Suit No. ID/ADR/796/2018 and Suit No. ID/ADR/932/2018 at the High Court of Lagos State in which you have joined issues. Your actions have gone ahead despite the subsisting order of the Federal High Court, Enugu against you in Suit No. FHC/EN/CS/58/2018. You could not have forgotten that you remain on trial in Charge No. A/29/2018 at the Lagos State Magistrate Court.

“We hereby remind you that almost four months after, you are yet to pay the costs awarded against you in favour of Chief Tony Okoroji by Honourable Justice Josephine Oyefeso of the High Court of Lagos State on February 13, 2019.
“With the effusion of time, you cannot be unaware that any claim you may have thought you had to the leadership of COSON has evaporated and disappeared and cannot be repaired. You therefore have no platform to purport to speak on behalf of COSON.

“It should be clear to any rational observer of your actions that as a result of your misadventure, you have developed deep hatred of our Clients and your hatred is such that you are prepared to take every step in your misguided attempt to destroy and demolish our Clients. We have been instructed by our Clients to remind you of the consequences and legal ramifications of the dangerous path you have decided to tow.

“We have also been instructed to inform you that in addition to the present legal actions against you, our Clients are prepared to take every necessary, further and lawful step to protect themselves and obtain full damages, injunctions and other reliefs against you for your unrestrained defamatory statements, actions, innuendoes and incitement of COSON members, institutions of government, COSON licensees and the general public against our Clients. At the end of the day, you will learn that Nigeria is a nation of laws and no one can act just as they please”.

Mr. Ononiwu concluded with the statement, “A word is enough for the wise”.

COSON HOUSE ROCKED BY RAS KIMONO MEMORIAL LECTURE!

Prof. Duro Oni

Monday, June 10, 2019 probably will never be forgotten at COSON House in Ikeja, the magnificent headquarters of Nigeria’s most successful organization in the creative arts, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON).

At exactly 12.30 pm, everything froze in the edifice and everyone stood still in silence. It was exactly at 12.30 pm on June 10, 2018 that the much beloved Nigerian reggae toaster and iconic musician, the Rub-a-Dub Master, Ras Kimono passed on.

Despite the morning rain, friends, colleagues, family members and a powerful media complement from far and near showed up at COSON House to attend the Ras Kimono Memorial Lecture, the first of the two big events organized on a day that henceforth will be known as Ras Kimono Memorial Day in celebration of the revolutionary musician who touched the consciousness of many.

The Ras Kimono Memorial Lecture was a serious event articulated in a very special way by Chief Tony Okoroji, Nigeria’s master of unforgettable events. Amidst lights and sounds, the event was entertaining, educative, informative and so intricately woven that everyone was gripped by its many colours and when it was over, there was a huge applause and people wanted more.

Prof Egerton Uvieghara, the nation’s Doyen of Labour and Intellectual Property law and the first Chairman of the NCC who chaired the lecture said that he was present to identify with a fellow Delta man and a remarkable Nigerian who left a glowing impression in the hearts of his countrymen.

The multi-media citation that brought to the podium the Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, Prof Duro Oni who until recently was a Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Lagos was so electrifying that the very widely travelled professor exclaimed that he had never seen anything like it.

In his lecture titled ‘Revolutionary Music for Equality & Justice’, Prof Oni said that throughout history, artistes and songwriters have used music to express their feelings for equality and justice in the society. In his words, “as far back as the trans-atlantic slave trade, the ‘spirituals’ of the Negros were songs of emotions and ‘protest’ that gave a voice to their oppressions. Revolutionary music gained a platform through popular culture.  It offered an awakening and reckoning of the times and has continued to have a renewed relevance and resonance today. There is no denying the power of music as a revolutionary weapon and social commentary in the society. These songs are often situational, sometimes abstract, or cognitive in content. On a whole, the artistes are in opposition to thestatus quo expressing, in more general terms, opposition to injustice and support for peace and justice”.

Said Prof Oni about Ras Kimono, “the dreadlocked legend lived and breathed reggae in all of its entirety. He used the genre to speak, without ceasing, of the ills of the land and to fight the cause of the oppressed. He spoke of the need for Africans to intellectually repel colonialism and its arbitrary boundaries between tribes. Most controversially, he was not averse to naming directly those in power he saw as synonymous with backdoor imperialism. Ras Kimono was a great influence on the ‘generation next’ of reggae musicians. Inspite of the dwindling fortune of reggae in the twilight of his life, he kept the flag of reggae at bay like a blind loyalist, continuing to charge the young ones to use the genre to speak truth to power. Kimono was an advocate of the people. He was the mouthpiece of the common man in all ramifications. He had a grasp of the pulse of the tribulations of the downtrodden.

He once said in an interview that ‘I live where the people live so I can see the tribulation they are going through; suffering and the humiliation, so we can put it into our music and expose it.’”

Some of the highlights of the Memorial Lecture were the presentation on the COSON House mega screen of “Good-Bye Ras Kimono”, an updated version of the much talked about multi-dimensional documentary on the life and times of Ras Kimono scripted and produced by Chief Tony Okoroji. At the event there was also a passing of the torch as a new era of the Kimono legacy with the launch by multi linguist and iconic broadcaster, Prince Bisi Olatilo of the 1st ever album of Kimono’s daughter, Oge Kimono, titled, “Good Ole Days”.

Oge Kimono had effusive praise for all the people who had come together to honour her father. She promised that she will not let them down or denigrate the legacy.

The Master of Ceremonies at the event was one of Nigeria’s best, Koffi Idowu-Nuel better known as Koffi Tha Guru. He held everyone spell bound.