Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chief Tony Okoroji has predicted that the Nigerian entertainment industry will witness a bumper year in 2017. In his New Year message to the industry, Chief Okoroji asked practitioners and investors in the industry to have faith and take every necessary step to professionalize and that as better value is placed on Nigeria’s entertainment products resulting in significant growth, the industry will play a key role in revitalizing Nigeria’s struggling economy in 2017.
According to Okoroji, his optimism is based on the fact that the government is finally beginning to understand the huge potentials of the creative sector and has shown the willingness to effectively activate a number of initiatives that were scandalously ignored in the oil boom days.
In the words of the former president of PMAN, “just before the end of last year, the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation assured me that he will take all necessary steps to ensure that the Private Copy Levy scheme is activated without further delay. That will bring a new stream of income to musicians, movie makers, authors, publishers, etc. The AG also promised that the Nigerian Copyright Commission will be revitalized and given the muscle to protect producers and investors in the creative industries. That should have a major impact on income.
“At the end of 2016, we began a major conversation with MTN, the biggest telecommunications company in the country. We do have a significant meeting of minds with Airtel. I am looking forward to what has so far been an adversarial relationship with the telecommunication industry becoming a virile partnership in 2017. Imagine the possibilities if we begin to speak with one voice with the ‘telcos’ and work together to harness the huge potentials of the Nigerian entertainment industry for the benefit of all the parties and our country”
Chief Okoroji also said that he has had several conversations with the Minister of Information, Culture & Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and that he is convinced that the Minister is ‘pumped up’ and wants to take those steps that will energize the industry. Said Okoroji “the Minister is clearly taking steps to get the National Endowment Fund for the Arts up and running. This should provide badly needed funding for different projects in the sector. There is the growing engagement with the Tony Elemelu Foundation which the minister is supporting. Anybody who knows Tony Elumelu, knows that he has no business with failure”
With respect to COSON, Chief Okoroji said that renovations and installations will begin shortly in the newly acquired ‘COSON HOUSE’ in Ikeja and that in the second quarter of 2017, COSON should move its operations from Opebi to a fully paid for ultra-modern edifice with the space and technology to properly drive a forward-looking organization. He also said that he is looking forward to starting discussions soon with the John Momoh led new Executive of Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON) on the significant debt owed COSON by broadcasting organizations in Nigeria and ensure that an agreement is reached and the debt redeemed.
Chief Okoroji assured all members of COSON that the organization will robustly protect their interests in 2017 and work towards increasing the distributable income to members. The Chairman vowed to do everything in his power to make sure that COSON continues to be an exemplary Nigerian organization, maintaining complete transparency and accountability and safeguarding the culture of respect for intellectual property rights which it has vigorously promoted in Nigeria.