“NO MUSIC DAY” 2022 OFFICIAL STATEMENT!!

“MUSIC IN A SOCIETY ON THE ROAD TO A SOCIO-POLITICAL REVOLUTION”

  • Issued on behalf of the Nigerian Music Industry from COSON HOUSE by the Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria, Chief Tony Okoroji.

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This Thursday, September 1, 2022, the music industry in Nigeria once again marks “No Music Day”. It is our wish to remind everyone that “No Music Day” is a day that the industry in Nigeria has dedicated annually to bringing the attention of the Nigerian nation to the widespread infringement of the rights of songwriters, composers, performers, music publishers, record labels and other stakeholders in the nation’s creative industry. You may hear voices of disputes and disagreements or different approaches to addressing the challenges of our industry, but we are united, we are one and cannot be separated in our demand and determination to end the reckless and rabid stealing of the fruits of the labour of Nigeria’s creative people.  

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Lest we forget, “No Music Day” is traceable to that historic week in 2009 when Nigerian artistes of different shades and many of our friends embarked on a weeklong hunger-strike staged in front of the National Theatre, Lagos. The hunger strike which was a result of our frustration with the devastating level of intellectual property theft in Nigeria was the prelude to what has become known as “No Music Day” in Nigeria. On September 1, 2009, practitioners in the entire Nigerian creative family massed in front of the National Theatre and for days, refused to eat or drink and demanded that the over 400 licensed broadcast stations in the country, who use music as the key raw material for their operations, should not broadcast music for a significant period of a day.

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While we have used music as our point of contact, our protest is hinged on the fact that if Nigeria must make serious economic progress, we should stop the platitudes and take strong national action against the violation of the rights of not just musicians, but the violation of the rights of authors, publishers, actors, movie producers, photographers, architects, computer programmers, visual artists and designers of all types and indeed, the violation of the rights of all Nigerians.     

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As we mark “No Music Day” across the country this September 1, COSON has also asked our thousands of members all over Nigeria and other stakeholders in the music industry to engage with the public through the mass media and by vigorous deployment of our immense social media handles to register our disdain for the widespread contempt for the rights of creative people in Nigeria.

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As we mark “No Music Day” today, we once again ask all Nigerians to seriously think about a world without music. What kind of world would that be?

Every year, in marking “No Music Day”, our key objective has been to engage the Nigerian people and the various governments on the potential contributions of Nigerian creativity to the development of the Nigerian nation and the necessity to fully deploy the substantial comparative advantage which our nation possesses in this area so as to provide hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs to the teeming masses of Nigerian youth who parade the streets of our country almost hopelessly and which hopelessness invariably attracts them to become laborers in the devil’s workshop.

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Everywhere you go, the ingenuity of the Nigerian people continues to be on display. Our music, movies, literature, fashion, programming, and similar products of the creative endeavor are in substantial demand across the world. In the creative industry, Nigeria has significant comparative advantage. We are only asking for people who have the vision, the passion, and the understanding of the new world to be in the right positions to spark the fire and change the national narrative. We ask for an end to the period of the locust in Nigeria when poor leadership without vision has held our country down.

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In marking “No Music Day” 2022, we once again ask for a new Nigeria in which the people of wealth and influence are no longer those who have brazenly stolen the people’s wealth or scammed other people and tricked them out of what rightfully belongs to them. We ask for a Nigeria driven by knowledge and creativity. We want a nation where a creative songwriter can depend on his creativity and live well; a good performer does not have to worry about how to feed his family; a talented filmmaker or actor will not be burdened by where his next rent will come from; a gifted author can become a millionaire and does not have to sweat at the thought of his children’s school fees and a fashion designer with unique talent can be celebrated for his or her creativity. We ask for a Nigeria in which a great photographer can be a man of means; an architect does not also have to be a builder to earn commensurate income from his talent; an inventor can live off his invention and a creator of content can thrive from the deployment of his content.

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We earnestly ask for a Nigeria in which a lecturer is no longer ashamed to say that he teaches for a living. In other words, we demand a nation in which knowledge and creativity are celebrated.

For many years, some of us in the creative industries have continuously requested a proper engagement with the government so that we can unleash the burning latent energy of the creative geniuses that abound in our nation and to deploy that energy towards national development.  

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Our theme for the 2022 “No Music Day” is: “MUSIC IN A SOCIETY ON THE ROAD TO A SOCIO-POLITICAL REVOLUTION”

We would all agree that a world without music should be likened to a graveyard. What is the greatest analgesic that cures the pain of our depression, anger and frustration? MUSIC!

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I must remind Nigerian musicians that our problems will not be solved until we stop the unnecessary bickering and fractionalization in our industry.  It is the bickering and disunity that are exploited by those who have no real stake in our industry except to deploy divide and rule to milk us and keep us down. We must work together in the interest of our country and the young people who look towards us for guidance. We must understand that in a democracy, there will be alternative points of view. Each alternative view should not result in the setting up of an alternative faction.

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On this “No Music Day”, we continue to demand real change. We once again demand that the Nigerian nation addresses the following:

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1) Implement the Private Copy Levy scheme which after many years and repeated calls, has still not been implemented.

2) Ensure that necessary steps are taken to finally get the National Endowment Fund for the Arts operative to provide urgently needed resources to ensure the funding of creative projects in Nigeria.

3) Ensure that Government owned broadcasting stations and other government owned institutions are reminded that there is no provision under the law that exempts them from the payment of royalties for the musical content broadcast or deployed by them.

4) Ensure that the Nigerian Copyright Commission and other institutions of government pivot towards the effective implementation of anti-piracy measures in the digital environment which is where the bulk of piracy exists today.

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We believe that the time has come for our creative industry to go beyond simply providing entertainment to the public but playing a key role in nation building.

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We are saddened by the dangerous direction that our nation has been headed in recent times and the hopelessness that seems to engulf the citizens. We are saddened by the tribal and religious divisions, kidnappings, senseless killings, abductions, banditry, joblessness and the political and judicial rascality that sap the hope of our young people. 

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We cannot afford to give up as a nation despite the immense disappointments we have faced. We must no longer leave our nation solely in the hands of our political job men who have shown frightening incapacity to move Nigeria forward and who are driving us to the precipice.

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All of Nigeria’s creative people must today fully engage in preventing Nigeria from becoming a wasted land destroyed by hatred and suspicion and the narrow tribal ambitions of a hand-full of people.

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On this “No Music Day”, we call on Nigeria’s musicians, actors, movie makers, writers, journalists, broadcasters, bloggers, intellectuals and all who operate in the creative space to deploy their talents and consciously work towards saving our people from impending doom. 

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In consonance with our theme, “MUSIC IN A SOCIETY ON THE ROAD TO A SOCIO-POLITICAL REVOLUTION”, It must be our foremost responsibility now to unleash a lot of music, movies, programs, broadcasts, speeches, etc., that create an environment for stability, unity, justice, peace, rule of law and development in the Nigerian nation and stop the slide into anarchy and hopelessness.

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In building a new and better nation, creative people must play a central role, stand up, take responsibility, work together, establish the strong advocacy necessary in every democracy to create positive change.

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On this “No Music Day”, I call on every member of COSON and all other groups and associations in the Nigerian creative industry to make sure that during the forthcoming general elections, we deploy our PVCs to elect a government that respects the rights of creative people and respects the rule of law. That is the way to stop our nation from sliding into irreversible hopelessness.

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I make this broadcast from COSON House in Ikeja which is property that belongs 100% to the creative people of Nigeria and which shows what we can do when we work together. I wish to state that I am proud of the members of COSON, everywhere in Nigeria, our Board members, and the indefatigable Management team at COSON. COSON has continued to thrive because we have not allowed anyone to tear us apart which underlines the truism in the words, “United we stand, divided we fall”.

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The support of COSON members has been powerful, the unity within the Board is unrivaled and every working day, the Management team resumes at the ever-sparkling COSON House and makes sure that COSON is working, and all the key COSON processes are operating at international standard.

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I want to assure members of COSON that we have fought hard, and the period of the locust is almost at an end and that COSON will soon fully resume the distribution of royalties and benefits to our members across Nigeria.

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Every member of COSON should be proud that we have shown everyone that we can lawfully but vehemently refuse to be cowards and slaves in our country and we have proved that every Nigerian group, association, tribe or people can resist the attempt by the rampaging gang of economic and political marauders and vampires who want to appropriate everything that belongs to Nigerians to themselves and hold all of us to ransom and destroy our country to which God has endowed with everything that a country needs to be great.  

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I assure the members of COSON that at the end of the day, we will have the last laugh as we create new, sweet music, dance and sing in harmony and with pride, let everybody hear those iconic words for which we are very well known, “Let the music pay!”

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God bless the Nigerian Creative Industry and God bless the great people of Nigeria.

CHIEF TONY OKOROJI:

September 1, 2022

COSON BOARD ASKS ACCESS BANK TO BE A GOOD CORPORATE CITIZEN AND OBEY COURT ORDERS AGAINST IT.

The full Board of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Nigeria’s biggest copyright collective management organization, rose from a meeting held at the Boardroom of COSON House in Ikeja, this Tuesday, June 14, 2022, calling on Access Bank Plc to be a good corporate citizen and ensure that all court orders against it are fully obeyed. The Board asked the Bank to understand that while it is a defendant in one case today, it will be a plaintiff in another case tomorrow and when it prevails, the bank will expect the other party to respect the judgment of the court. According to the Board, the respect for the rule of law is critical to the stability and progress of every nation.

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It will be recalled that Justice Yellin S. Bogoro of the Federal High Court, Lagos, in a celebrated judgment, recently ordered Access Bank Plc to immediately unfreeze the bank accounts of COSON at the bank and to pay COSON 70 million naira in damages for unlawful freezing of its accounts. Despite the order of Justice Bogoro and an earlier decision in 2019 by Justice M.S. Hassan, Access Bank has continued to withhold COSON’s funds which has resulted in the storming of the bank by angry musicians. Written instructions given to the bank by COSON to pay earned specific royalties to several musicians have also been disobeyed by the bank.

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The Board pleaded for patience and restraint from musicians across Nigeria who have expressed dismay at the behaviour of Access Bank, assuring them that COSON will continue to engage with the bank to resolve the problem as expeditiously as possible. The COSON Board thanked the musicians who have participated in the street protests against Access Bank and those who have expressed interest in further protests saying that COSON is aware that there are many musicians who like COSON, are Access Bank customers and that the interest of COSON is not to bring down Access Bank or any other Nigerian institution but to ensure that every Nigerian institution respects the rights of creative people whose rights have been treated with contempt for too long in Nigeria.

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The Board reaffirmed the determination of COSON to remain an agent of strength unity, progress and growth for the music industry in Nigeria and to shield the music industry from scammers and marauders who want to turn collective management of copyright to their personal cash cow and naira gushing ATM.

The Board meeting was presided over by the COSON Chairman, the celebrated and indefatigable fighter for the rights of creative people in Nigeria and Africa and former President of PMAN, Chief Tony Okoroji. Present were Afro Juju super star, Sir Shina Peters; Gospel music minister, Kenny Saint Brown; Ace-drummer and producer, Richard Ayodele Cole; Reggae gospel star, Righteousman Erhabor; Showbiz Impresario, Koffi Idowu Nuel also known as Koffi Da Guru; Singer, Producer and TV host, Nimyel Nansel, better known as Zdon Paporella; Vivacious performer and first daughter of the legendry Ras Kimono, Oge Kimono and well-known Enugu based music star and publisher, Sir Angus Power Nwangwu.

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Also present were Abuja based music publisher and war horse of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Nigeria (CCRN), Chief Uche Emeka Paul, Gospel Music Minister, Evangelist Olusegun Omoyayi, National President of Music Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MUPMAN), Engr Sharon Esco Wilson, COSON General Manager, Mrs Bernice Eriemeghe Ashibuogwu; COSON Deputy General Manager, Mr Vincent Adawaisi and COSON General Counsel, Barrister Simi Wash-Pam.

COSON BOARD MEETS IN LAGOS AND RESOLVES THAT ALL MUSIC USERS BE INFORMED THAT COSON CONTINUES TO STAND FIRM LEGALLY AND THAT THE =N=10 BILLION SUIT AGAINST THE NCC HAS NOT BEEN TRIED, STRUCK OUT, DETERMINED NOR DISMISSED AND THAT COSON RENEWS THE CALL FOR THE SACK OF NCC DG, JOHN ASEIN.

The full Board of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Nigeria’s biggest copyright collective management organization, rose from its meeting held at the Boardroom of COSON House in Ikeja, this Tuesday, February 22, 2022, with several important decisions.

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The meeting resolved that COSON members across the country, COSON partners across the world and the general public be informed that the determination of COSON to protect and defend the rights of its members and affiliates within the law, remains iron-clad and solid and that COSON will not waiver in the pursuit of justice.

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The Board restated its commitment to making certain that every naira of royalty owed the members of COSON is collected and distributed appropriately within the shortest possible time reiterating that contrary to dubious propaganda, COSON has at no time been proscribed nor delisted by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and continues to operate lawfully.

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The Board also decided that it be emphatically made public that COSON has not at any time ceded the rights to licence any of the hundreds of thousands of musical works and sound recordings lawfully assigned to it, to the controversial MCSN whose purported approval is still being stoutly challenged in court and that no one including the Nigerian Copyright Commission is empowered by law to authorize MCSN to licence works in the COSON repertoire and that anyone paying MCSN for the use of works in the COSON repertoire is doing so at his or her own very high risk.

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The COSON Board also decided that the public be made aware that the =N=10 Billion suit filed against the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) for unlawfully hounding COSON, the most successful and best managed organization ever set up by the Nigerian creative industry, has not been tried, struck out, determined nor dismissed and that the prayers of COSON remain live issues before the Court and that there is no way that COSON can be said to be operating unlawfully without the issues being determined and that the realities are not changed by the wilful misinterpretation of the facts by the NCC and its collaborating gang, who have contributed nothing to the music industry but at the expense of innocent copyright owners, want to deploy the commission to reap where they did not sow.

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The Board also decided that President Mohammed Buhari be well reminded of the resolution by thousands of COSON members at the COSON AGM of December 14, 2021 calling on him to relieve Mr. John Asein, Director-General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) of his position for fraud and conflict of interest and notifying him that Mr. Asein’s  leadership of the NCC is infested with evil, leaving the commission to continuously go backwards instead of forward and that members of COSON have completely lost respect for the leadership of John Asein and that they are certain that the Copyright Commission can make no progress under him.

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According to the Board, the NCC which was set up to protect the rights of copyright owners has become the greatest threat to those rights and a shining example of the lawlessness that pervades the country.

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The Board applauded COSON members across the country for their steadfast support of COSON in the midst of the lawless assault on COSON and its leadership by 419 agents deploying state apparatus and bandits masquerading as officers of the law.

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The Board also expressed pride that COSON remains the only organization in the the history of the Nigerian creative industry that has subjected itself to full financial audit every year since its inception and has gone ahead to subject itself to total forensic audit by one of the best- known auditing firms in the world.

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The Board reaffirmed the determination of COSON to remain an agent of strength unity, progress and growth for the music industry in Nigeria and to shield the music industry from scammers and marauders who want to turn collective management of copyright to their personal cash cow and naira gushing ATM.

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The Board meeting was presided over by COSON Chairman, celebrated and indefatigable fighter for the rights of creative people in Nigeria and Africa and former President of PMAN, Chief Tony Okoroji. Present were Afro Juju super star, Sir Shina Peters; Gospel music minister, Kenny Saint Brown; Ace-drummer and producer, Richard Ayodele Cole; Reggae gospel star, Righteousman Erhabor; Showbiz Impresario, Koffi Idowu Nuel also known as Koffi Tha Guru; Singer, Producer and TV host, Nimyel Nansel, better known as Zdon Paporella; Vivacious performer and first daughter of the legendry Ras Kimono, Oge Kimono and well-known Enugu based music publisher, Sir Angus Power Nwangwu.

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Also present were Abuja based music publisher and war horse of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Nigeria (CCRN), Chief Uche Emeka Paul, Gospel Music Minister, Evangelist Olusegun Omoyayi, National President of Music Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MUPMAN), Engr Sharon Esco Wilson, COSON General Manager, Mrs Bernice Eriemeghe Ashibuogwu; COSON Deputy General Manager, Mr Vincent Adawaisi and COSON General Counsel, Barrister Simi Wash-Pam.

CHAIRMAN’S ADDRESS AT THE SOCIETY’S 2021 AGM

COPYRIGHT SOCIETY OF NIGERIA LTD/GTE (COSON)

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

DECEMBER 14, 2021.

CHAIRMAN’S ADDRESS

Distinguished members of the great COSON family.

Wherever you are, I bring you felicitations and good wishes and beseech the Almighty to bless you and your families abundantly and bless your creative endeavours.

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It is with thanks to God that I welcome you to this 11th Annual General Meeting of our great society, the biggest ever copyright collective management organization and creative industry family ever to emerge in Nigeria and our sub-continent.

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Before we continue, I wish to, on your behalf, pay tribute to some outstanding members of the COSON family who sadly passed on since our last Annual General Meeting.

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On February 20, 2021 we lost the great Chris Ajilo. Before his death, Chris Ajilo was the oldest living member of COSON.

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There is no doubt that Chris Ajilo laid the foundation stone on which COSON was built. While he had retired as General Manager of the defunct PMRS before the transition of PMRS to COSON, he remained an unflinching member of the COSON family, attending and participating actively in every major event of the society and giving total support towards the progress of COSON. May his soul rest in peace.

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In 11 years, John Ndidika Ewelukwa Udegbunam who lived in Onitsha, never missed one COSON Board meeting, never missed one COSON AGM and never missed one COSON Week event. Not once did he ask for a flight ticket to come to Lagos or seek accommodation in a fancy hotel as he travelled by day and by night. His 100% focus was to promote and defend the rights of the thousands of members of COSON. We called him the “Rock of the COSON Board”

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Udegbunam gave no excuses for not doing what he had to do. If he said he was coming, he would come. If he said he was going, he would go. If you had Hon Udegbunam with you, it’s like having an army behind you. He was unshakable when it came to standing with the truth, even when everyone else was telling lies. He was a truly honourable man. Last year, he was with us at the 2020 COSON AGM. Unfortunately, on July 3, 2021, the COSON family lost the irreplaceable Hon. John Ndidika Ewelukwa Udegbunam. May his soul rest in peace.

Felix Odey, known to most of us as Feladay, was not just an incredibly gifted musician who played the guitar with many-many bands across the nation, he was a great guy with a great personality, lighting up wherever he went with jokes and spreading love along the way. You were unlikely to find Feladay engaged in the stupid gossips, conspiracies or the many plots to smear other musicians. Feladay was also not one of those beclouded by tribe or ethnicity. His friends were from every tribe and everywhere. He loved the music industry and he loved COSON and always worked for the progress of the COSON family. Feladay was with us at the last COSON AGM.

Sadly, on July 28, 2021, we lost Feladay. May his soul rest in peace.

A month later, on August 28, 2021, COSON and the Nigerian nation lost the iconic composer and lyricist, melody maker, multi-instrumentalist, sculptor, designer, performer per excellence and intellectual giant, Prof. Victor Efosa Uwaifo, the legend of the Benin Kingdom, an idol of the Nigerian nation and an unforgettable African superstar.

Prof Uwaifo who passed on at the age of 80, was a one-time member of the Board of COSON, and until his death, an unflinching, unapologetic and unwavering supporter of COSON and a proud member of the COSON family. Prof Uwaifo attended each of the last four COSON AGMs and was with us at COSON House at the last AGM of December 15, 2020. May the creative soul of Victor Uwaifo rest in peace.

As an organization that cares for its members, both during their lifetime and in death, COSON has spared no inconvenience and left no stone unturned to make sure that each of the aforementioned fallen members of the COSON family was given a funeral fit for any superstar from anywhere.  

Within the period, we also lost some close associates of COSON. On the same August 28, 2021 that we lost Professor Uwaifo, we lost Professor Egerton Uvieghara, outstanding intellectual, retired erudite Professor of law at the University of Lagos, former Chairman of the Governing Board of the NCC, former Commissioner at the Nigerian Law Reform Commission and a foremost friend and great supporter of COSON.

On July 11, 2021, we received the sad news of the death in the United States of the incredibly talented and once frontline COSON member, Lanre Abdul-Ganiu Fasasi, better known as Sound Sultan. This was just a week after the passing in Jersey City in the same United States of the great Jackie Moore Anyaorah, the renowned guitarist of Sweet Breeze and Esbee Family fame who with Dallas Kingsley Anyanwu and Roy Obika played with me in the group, ‘Life Everlasting’, the first band I ever played in. All this happened after the passing on March 4, 2021 of the fabulous Dan Ian Mbaezue, the outstanding composer of the unforgettable songs, ‘Fuel for Love’ and ‘Money to Burn’ that made Wrinker’s Experience very famous. Unfortunately, the year started sadly with the passing on 29th January, 2021 of the former COSON Board member and Managing Director of Premier Records Ltd, Mr. Toju Ejueyitchie.   

My brothers and sisters, members of the COSON family, the year has been a very trying year with the huge losses of colleagues and friends. Indeed, the last couple of months have been devastating, emotionally sapping and a season that has tried one’s soul. We must however appreciate that our colleagues that have passed on have also passed on the baton to us. Majestically, we must continue with the race and not let them down.

Shall we all please stand up wherever we may be, bow our heads and observe a minute silence in memory of these great idols of the music industry?

          May their souls rest in peace.

Ladies & Gentlemen, you will recall that we were once repeatedly told that collective management of copyright would never work in Nigeria and that the Nigerian creative industry lacked the discipline to build a stable institution.

Fired up by our slogan, “Let the music pay!” we added another slogan, “COSON is working!” and we broke the jinx. For more than eleven years, with all the bazooka fired at us, COSON has stood firm.

As an organization, we have kept strictly to every rule in the book and complied with every law of our nation. We have never missed one Annual General Meeting and at our meetings, we have invited the media to report our open discussions as we have never had anything to hide. Indeed, apart from the statutorily prescribed Annual General Meetings, we have held several Extra-Ordinary General Meetings at which our members have had the opportunity to discuss every issue. 

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Without the prompting of anyone, we have had our accounts audited every single year by auditors appointed by our Annual General Meetings. We have had the audited accounts reviewed and approved by our AGMs as required under the law and filed each annual return with the Corporate Affairs Commission. I have been involved with the Nigerian music industry for quite some time and I state without any hesitation that COSON has been the best organized, the most transparent and the most accountable organization in the history of the Nigerian creative industry.

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Since our establishment, COSON has distributed several hundreds of millions of Naira as royalties to our members and affiliates. We distributed royalties in year 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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Fellow members of COSON, at the heat of the Coronavirus lockdown in 2020, we received many calls starkly stating the trials and anguish our members were suffering. Because there was no work of any type in our industry, there was just no income and a lot of our members had no money to even buy garri to drink, buy recharge card to call for help or to get some Panadol to deal with the ensuing headache.

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It was in that terrible environment that the COSON Board met in an emergency session online and took the decision that something must be done to ameliorate the suffering of our members. Despite the fact that two of our bank accounts remained unlawfully frozen and our income had dropped substantially because of the antagonistic and wicked actions taken against COSON, the historic decision was taken by your Board to approve an emergency Coronavirus distribution up to the limit of 72.5 million Naira to members of COSON on our register as at 20th May 2019.

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This was at a time that Nigerian banks were either on lockdown or offering skeletal services. It took extra-ordinary efforts to get one of our banks to set up the digital platform through which the money was sent to our members across the nation. You will recall that I gave constant updates on social media on the distribution and personally called many of you, members of COSON to obtain necessary bank details to ensure that the money reached you..

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It is on record that COSON was the first organization in Nigeria to offer any form of COVID 19 palliative to its members and this was done without any quarrel or rancour. I believe that in the action, COSON showed itself as a responsible and responsive organization.

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Sadly, some mischief makers, part of the cabal that has sought to pocket COSON and turn it into their private ATM, fabricated a petition of lies which they circulated to various security agencies saying that there is no evidence that anyone received any money from the anti-Covid 19 distribution paid to thousands of COSON members not in cash but by verifiable bank transfer.

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It was based on this fabrication and blatant falsehood that on December 14, 2020, the eve of our last AGM, an evil attempt was made by armed hired agents of the state, to abduct me in Lagos, whisk me away to Benin in the middle of the night and probably waste me along the way. In the execution of their devious plan, the Almighty intervened. While I was abducted, my abductors could not take me away from Lagos. God freed me.

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Those who planned the abduction also brought many people by bus from Benin and elsewhere to come and take over COSON House on the day of our last AGM, believing that I would have been taken out of the way. The Almighty scuttled their plans.

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In 2019, about 12 heavily armed men of the dreaded and now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) from Abuja, stormed COSON House, our usually calm and professionally run headquarters to torment our workers. It took a while to get them to withdraw.

One afternoon, not long after I came back from a medical trip, the news came that the remaining bank accounts of COSON had been frozen, the accounts of my personal business had been frozen, my personal domiciliary account had been frozen and my personal Naira account had also been frozen. For about nine months, they all remain frozen. From where did the ex-parte court order emanate? Just like the recent case of Justice Mary Odili, from a little-known Magistrate Court in Abuja, in a case in which neither COSON nor myself is a party.

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The staff of COSON and I have been subjected to the never-ending and mentally overwhelming multiple and simultaneous invitations and threats of arrest from DSS, EFCC from Lagos and Abuja, Police from Lagos, Benin, Abuja, etc. The only people we have not heard from are the Boys Brigade and Boys Scout!

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Fellow members of COSON, I can say with 100% certainty that no one at COSON House has a catapult not to talk of a penknife. I do not see how anyone at COSON can be said to be in any way a threat to national security. So, what exactly is our business with DSS? I have also said it before that we have no access to one naira of government funds. We do not do money laundering, we do not do oil bunkering, we do not do ‘yahoo-yahoo’ or internet fraud of any kind. We do not deal in drugs and we are not engaged in any criminal activity of any sort. What is our business with EFCC? We have never picked the pocket of anyone not to talk of robbery. What were the heavily armed men of SARS doing at COSON House? But they have kept hunting us. There is no big money in any of my accounts that will suggest that it is the proceed of any crime and they know it.

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Without any question, in an increasingly lawless Nigeria with all manner of bandits and scammers operating openly and nearly all great institutions of state captured and destroyed by men who have no soul, the objective has been to use the agencies of the state to subject us to mental torture, terrorize us, overwhelm us, drive us away and turn COSON, the beautiful organization we have built for the welfare of Nigerian musicians, into their personal ATM and gold mine.

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Your board and our lawyers have fought off every attempt made so far to conquer and overwhelm COSON. It has taken an order from a Federal High Court judge in Abuja to restrain the security agencies from their constant harassment of COSON. Vigorous actions are also ongoing both in Lagos and Abuja to unfreeze the COSON bank accounts that are unlawfully frozen and ensure that the money is distributed to our members as soon as possible. I am a man who drives on a full tank of faith and I have absolute faith that the day of the locust will soon be history.

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We know the people who have led the attack against COSON and desperately determined to hijack our organization. They are people who have never truly played music in in their lives or have they any real stake in the music industry. None of them is a true musician, performer or publisher of music. Please check them out. They are carpetbaggers, “guy men” and scammers who want to be beneficiaries of our hard work and want to milk the collective management of copyright in Nigeria for themselves.

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They have practically taken control of the NCC, an organization some of us fought very hard to build to protect and promote the rights and interests of the creative people of Nigeria. Regrettably, the NCC has been made to become the tool of the devil with its main objective being the destruction of COSON and the denial of the constitutional rights of our members.     They appear prepared to tell any lies and destroy anybody to gain control of COSON or to kill it. By the grace of the Almighty, they will not succeed.

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Dear members of COSON, you all know that no COSON member has ever paid any registration fee, monthly dues or subscription of any type to COSON, yet every COSON member has been entitled to some income every year.

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My personal dedication to the copyright cause has never been because of the desire for fame or because of personal wealth. I do not live in a house provided by COSON. Every member of staff of COSON goes to a hospital paid for by the organization. I do not. I have written several times that I verily believe that the true worth of a man is not in what he takes but in what he gives. Do not be afraid. History teaches us that the legacy of those who fight God’s children is infamy.

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Ladies and gentlemen, I remain very proud of the success of COSON and the fact that it has continued to stand firm despite all the treachery and bazookas fired at us. After four and half years of its commissioning, the magnificent COSON House continues to sparkle and our staff continue to perform diligently. This is the product of the laser focused dedication to our cause and the deft management of our resources and the grace of the Almighty.

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Fellow members of COSON, at the last AGM, I announced that in line with our resolve to be a first class CMO driven by modern technology, we have installed at COSON House the ultra-modern version of the COSIS software for the documentation of musical works and the first-class distribution of royalties to composers and publishers.

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A gradual implementation of the database is ongoing. Some of our existing data have been migrated to the database and the rest of the data is being populated into the system. With the help of the COSIS-Net database, several thousands of our works are now published on the WID platform making it easy for the works to be traced internationally to COSON and the works to earn income for our members.

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Despite all the machine gun fired at us, our membership continues to grow. On the date of our last AGM, our membership stood at 4,934. Today, the membership stands at 5,173, an increase of about 5%.

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Regardless of the fact that we have done all the statutory audits required of us, every year which no other CMO in Nigeria has done, you will recall that those intent on hijacking COSON were all over social media shouting that COSON is not accountable and that there had to be a forensic audit of COSON on top of the statutory audits, something no organization in the Nigerian creative industry has ever done.

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To set the records straight, your Board invited Price Waterhouse Coopers, otherwise known as PWC, the internationally reputed auditing firm to do a forensic audit of COSON. Instructions were given to all operatives at COSON to give unfettered and unhindered access of every COSON record and document to PWC.

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For over seven months, PWC inspected thousands of documents at COSON, contacted every bank in Nigeria with respect to COSON, went through bank records, invoices, receipts, minutes of minutes, etc, and interviewed several officials. A temporary office was indeed set up at COSON House for the operation of the PWC officials to make sure that they did a thorough job.

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No human organization is perfect and COSON is no exception. Our board also asked PWC to make recommendations to us in the ways we can improve on our systems and practices.

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I am very proud to inform you that after this intense process, no fraud or misappropriation of any funds was discovered at COSON. Your Board has begun the process of implementing the recommendations made by PWC to improve on our systems and practices.

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Some of you may wonder why we have so many court cases. It is not by choice. Our success has attracted so much envy and greed and if we do not defend ourselves, we will cease to exist. In our role as pathfinders in the building of the copyright culture in Nigeria, we are very much aware that COSON will continue to engage in constructive litigation and positive conversation with our judges. Because judges are human beings and make mistakes, a critical part of the judicial system in Nigeria is the appeal process and we are deploying it everywhere that it is necessary.

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I wish to bring to your notice the fact that COSON has filed a Notice of Appeal in the interlocutory decision in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/425/2020 and that the NCC has been served with the notice by our lawyers. What the NCC is trying to do with its recent publication defaming COSON is to use back-door means to truncate the constitutional rights of COSON and its members to pursue our appeal according to law.

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We state firmly that the substantive suit has not been tried, struck out, determined nor dismissed. The prayers of COSON remain live issues before the Court and there is no way that COSON can be said to be operating unlawfully without the issues being determined. The wilful misinterpretation of the effect of the decision of the court is regrettable.

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My dear members of COSON, this 11th AGM has three broad tasks:

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The first is to receive, consider, approve and adopt the audited financial statements of the society for the year ended December 31 2020 and the reports of the auditors thereon and that of the directors respectively.

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The second is to consider the position of the auditors and make changes where necessary and to authorize the directors to determine the remuneration of the auditors.

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The 3rd is to elect or re-elect members to the Board so as to fill vacant positions on our Management Board.

Transparency and accountability have been the core of the success of your society. I wish to state emphatically that no other organization in the history of the Nigerian creative industry has been run with the level of honesty, transparency and accountability with which COSON has been run. Every year, since our inception, our accounts have been audited in accordance with the law, the report made available to our thousands of members who have had every opportunity to query the reports. Today, Mr. JKC Enebeli, Principal Partner in the firm of JKC Enebeli & Co, our External Auditors, will present the 2020 Auditor’s report to this Annual General Meeting for your consideration.

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You will recall that at the last AGM and in accordance with our rules, four members of the Board, namely:  Sir Shina Peters, Ms Kenny Saint Brown, Engr. Sharon Esco Wilson and Chief Uche Emeka Paul were re-elected by you to our Management Board.

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Due to the passing of Hon John Ndidika Ewelukwa Udegbunam, a vacancy has arisen on the Board. Another vacancy has arisen because a member of the Board, Ms Maureen Ejezie, who has relocated to the United States of America is retiring at this AGM and is not seeking re-election. She has however pledged to continue to be a staunch member of COSON and to represent us internationally whenever the need arises. Furthermore, Chief Bright Chimezie who was elected to the Board two years ago, has written to the society expressing his wish to step down from the Board. In his letter, Chief Chimezie wrote that his stepping down is “not borne out of any ill-will but due to personal, family and professional reasons”. He thanked the society for giving him the opportunity to serve in the capacity of a director and pledged his continuous support of COSON. This has created a third vacancy on the board. In line with Article 58 of our Memorandum & Articles, the Board at its meeting of November 24, 2021 resolved that one more person be appointed to the Board to ensure a wider spread of representation, thereby introducing a fourth vacancy.

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Fellow members of COSON, in line with Article 56 of our Memorandum & Articles, your Board has recommended that you re-elect Mr. Richard Ayodele Cole and Evangelist Olusegun Omoyayi whose terms on the Board expire at this AGM and who have given great service to the society and have diligently resisted every attempt to destabilize COSON.

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Today, therefore, there will be elections to six positions on the Board: positions held by two present members of the board who are seeking re-election and four other positions resulting from vacancies on the board, viz: one publisher, two composers and one performer. I wish to re-emphasise that the fact that anyone has been recommended by the Board for election does not make the election of such a person automatic. It is up to you, the members to choose whoever you wish.

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There will continue to be open democracy in COSON and every qualified member of COSON must continue to have a right to seek election to any vacant position on the Board. This has been made clear at Page 4 of the notice to this meeting sent to all the members. The procedure for seeking election is also stated. Let me restate that there is nothing in the procedure that limits any COSON member from seeking election to the Board if he or she wishes.

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It is my hope that today, in our tradition, we will have very peaceful and transparent elections to fill the vacancies that have arisen.

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I want to use this opportunity to thank my colleagues who have served on the Board with me for the stability we have enjoyed. Let me also thank the hard-working COSON management for the camaraderie and support we have received from each of them. Please pray with me that the good Lord continues to bless these individuals and their families.

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Fellow members of COSON, today on behalf of the Board, I thank all of you for your unflinching support of our great society. I wish to assure you that despite the harassment and torture that one has been subjected to, I am happy and proud to have been given the opportunity to serve you and hereby pledge that as a man who drives on a full tank of faith, I will continue to work closely with the Board and Management and with your continued support and the support of the Almighty, we will do everything to ensure that COSON continues to serve you and serve you well and that no one, no matter how big or influential will hijack your rights or take that which belongs to you.

          COSON!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of us.

CHIEF TONY OKOROJI

December 14, 2021

COSON WRITES SENATE PRESIDENT, DESCRIBES THE NEW EXECUTIVE COPYRIGHT BILL AS A DANGEROUS DOCUMENT INFESTED WITH MANY BAD AND ANTI-DEMOCRATIC PROVISIONS

A day before a hurriedly scheduled public hearing by the Nigerian Senate to discuss a new Executive Bill to replace Nigeria’s current copyright law, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), the nation’s biggest copyright collective management organization, has written to the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, complaining about the process and procedure of trying to pass the bill.

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In the four-page letter signed by the COSON Chairman and former President of PMAN, Chief Tony Okoroji, COSON said that it is very clear that the Senate is being stampeded to pass a very dangerous bill infested with many bad and anti-democratic provisions that will stifle the growth of creativity in Nigeria and damage the Nigerian economy going forward.

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According to the letter, the bill if passed into law, will turn Nigerian musicians, authors, film makers, computer programmers, publishers and the many creatives who depend on a good copyright system into the slaves of a few civil servants at the Nigerian Copyright Commission.

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Said COSON “If Section 39 of the bill becomes law, in a supposed democracy, no copyright owner in Nigeria who negotiates or grants a licence for the use of his work, will be able to exercise his constitutional right of going to court anymore to enforce his rights, except he gets the permission of civil servants at the Nigerian Copyright Commission!”

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Mentioning several sections of the bill, COSON wrote, “there are countless provisions in the bill giving the Nigerian Copyright Commission and its personnel such powers and privileges not possessed by any other government agency. A lot of these provisions are not in line with diverse public service rules. Indeed, in so many situations, the Nigerian Copyright Commission has put itself in the place of the owners of copyright to take decisions on behalf of the copyright owners which decisions are business decisions ordinarily taken by the owners of copyright or their agents.”

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According to COSON, the commission neither has the competence, the staff, the technology, the lack of bias and has not shown over time that it has the slightest capacity to exercise the powers it is grabbing and the result will be utter confusion and frustration.

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The letter said that under Section 104 (2), no one can bring any action against the Commission or any member of its staff on any matter whatsoever, whether private or official, except a three-month written notice of intention to commence the suit is served upon the Commission by the intending plaintiff or his agent. According to COSON, no government official or even any of Nigeria’s senators enjoys such privilege or protection.

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Furthermore, the letter says that under Section 100 of the bill, if any citizen gets a judgment against the Commission, no execution or attachment of process can be issued against the Commission, unless prior to such execution, not less than three months’ notice of the intention to execute or attach has been given to the Commission.

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COSON in the letter complained that it received for the first time by e-mail the 88-page document with 109 sections only three working days before the scheduled Public Hearing which incidentally is holding on October 12, the same day that COSON is holding a major event in Lagos to celebrate the life and times of Prof (Sir) Victor Uwaifo, one of Nigeria’s greatest creative geniuses of all times, who died on August 28 and will be buried this week.   

The letter also pointed out that under Section 87 of the bill, Nigeria will start a new regime of the registration of copyright, which COSON says is “a totally unnecessary and anachronistic adventure and a very bad move”.

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COSON adds that reading through the document, it is clear that it was drafted by Civil Servants with definite self-serving agenda and academics with very little copyright industry experience. According to the letter, “the contradictions and conflicts in the document are fundamental and not such that can be repaired by any panel beating. Indeed, the Head of Service of the Federation needs to look at the document to expunge the many anti-Public Service proposals. A very transparent process in which the true stakeholders are on the table needs to be commenced if the intent is not to suppress Nigeria’s creative output and kill our copyright industries”

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In conclusion COSON wrote: “for the good of the Nigerian nation and posterity and not to make Nigeria the laughingstock of the world, the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is requested not to put its imprimatur on the terrible piece of legislation known as the ‘Executive Copyright Bill’”.

See full letter

THE RED-CARPET TRIBUTE NIGHT TO ‘SEND OFF’ UDEGBUNAM DESCRIBED AS “UNFORGETTABLE!”

“It was fantastic!”; “great!”; “top notch”; “unforgettable!”. These were some of the superlatives by which some attendees described the special Red Carpet Tribute Night in honour of the frontline Board member of COSON, Nigeria’s biggest copyright collective management organization, Honourable John Ewelukwa Udegbunam, who passed away in Onitsha recently.

Indeed, leaving the magnificent COSON House in Ikeja at about 9.00 pm on Tuesday September 14, 2021 after the event, a member of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Nigeria (CCRN) who witnessed the occasion said, “wow! remarkable! Since everybody is going to die, this is the kind of send-off everyone would wish”.

From about 6.00 pm, friends, relations, admirers and colleagues of Honourable Udegbunam had taken over the expansive red carpet laid in front of COSON House and posed for photographs as cameras clicked away. Present were almost every member of the COSON Board including Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, Gospel Minister, Kenny Saint Best; Master of Impressions, Koffi Tha Guru; Celebrated drummer and producer, Richard Cole; Reggae toaster and producer, Engr. Sharon Esco Wilson Joshua, etc. Also present were COSON General Manager, Mrs. Bernice Eriemeghe-Ashibuogwu; her predecessor, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji and all the senior staff of COSON.

There were also the likes of ace broadcaster, Patrick Doyle; former PMAN President, Hajiya Amina Dangaji, City lawyer, James Ononiwu and Chartered Accountant, JKC Enebeli. Also on the red-carpet was Johannes Ewelukwa Udegbunam, the first son of the deceased who represented the family at the event.

A significant contingent of CCRN of which Hon Udegbunam was National Musical Director, stormed COSON House. The contingent was led by Mr. JIC Obi, member National Summit Committee of CCRN and renowned gospel singer, John Praise Onuchukwu, both of whom arrived with their beautiful wives.

The event thereafter shifted to the chilled and cozy “COSON Arena” at the top of COSON House. The arena with its array of lights and effects, was lit to capture the mood of the night as the guests were received by the exquisite live violin musical performance of the great young Nigerian violinist, Emmaolin whose dexterity on the violin left many in awe. Master compere, comedian and musician, Koffi Tha Guru, coordinated and intricately threaded a never-to-be-forgotten three hours of a night of endearing music, visuals and tributes.

It was Koffi who introduced COSON Board member and recent PDP candidate for the Chairmanship of Ifo Local Government of Ogun State, Evangelist Olusegun Omoyayi, who said the opening prayers. He then introduced the celebrated former President of PMAN and Chairman of COSON, Chief Tony Okoroji, to formally welcome the guests.

The very glowing tributes to Honorable Udegbunan began to flow. The first came from the Abuja based COSON Board member and bosom friend of the deceased, Chief Uche Emeka Paul who went back memory lane, told intimate stories of the times they shared and eulogized his special friend known by many as either ‘Eweson’ or ‘Honourable’.

Then, Kenny Saint Best (KSB) mounted the stage, took the microphone and rendered what may have been the most inspired performance of her career. Her voice filled the Arena, soared into the skies and brought everybody to their feet. She described Udegbunam as irreplaceable as she talked about his contribution to the COSON Board saying that he was a great warrior for a good cause whose memory will never fade away. The last tribute in the section was given by drummer boy emeritus, Richard Cole who joined everybody who spoke before him to underline the fact that John Ewelukwa Udegbunam was an exceptional human being who will be missed by all who knew him.

The lights in the Arena suddenly dimmed and the COSON House mega screen came to life with an intricately produced video and photo collage of the life and times of the great Eweson to which everybody was gripped as some cried but which at the end, received a resounding ovation.

In the second section of tributes, two representatives of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Nigeria (CCRN), John Praise Onuchukwu and JIC Obi praised the man who they said sacrificed so much to build their organization and to implant CCRN across Nigeria. They were emphatic that Udegbunam was a man of service who gave his all for the good of all.

A huge plaque in appreciation of his father’s contribution to COSON, was presented by the Board of COSON to Johannes Ewelukwa Udegbunam, the first son of the deceased who represented the family at the event.

Once again, the lights dimmed in the Arena, an all-glass table was brought on stage, a voice from the wilderness filled the Arena and two African warriors in dramatic and magical fashion, from the back of the Arena, brought “THE BOOK”, the big COSON Roll of Honour and placed it on the glass table.

COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji then read a citation in which he said of Udegbunam, “He fought music pirates with both hands and everything else he could muster. He could easily have become rich by collecting money from the pirates and looking the other way. Udegbunam did not”.
The name, John Ndidika Ewelukwa Udegbunam was then entered into the COSON Roll of honour and his son Johannes Ewelukwa Udegbunam was decorated with the first ever posthumous Copyright Medal of Honour on behalf of his father.

Johannes who told the story of the struggles of his father from childhood, thereafter, thanked the Board and Management of COSON for the great honour done to his father. The great night personally produced by the master of many unforgettable events, Chief Tony Okoroji, ended with a great performance by Johannes Ewelukwa Udegbunam, of a medley of his father’s songs. Everyone joined in singing and dancing away a night that will stay fresh in the minds of many for a long time to come.

BIG COSON BOARD MEETING ENDS IN LAGOS

The full Board of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Nigeria’s biggest and most admired copyright collective management organization, has risen from its meeting held on April 22, 2021 at the Boardroom of the magnificent COSON House in Ikeja.

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At the meeting, the Board requested the general public to discountenance the malicious campaign of falsehood coordinated by the discredited self-acclaimed factional leader of PMAN, Mr. Pretty Okafor and his cronies against COSON and its leadership with their endless stream of nonsensical petitions filled with lies and twisted logic.

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The Board also reaffirmed the commitment of COSON to continue to fully defend the constitutional proprietary rights of its thousands of members across Nigeria within the ambits of the law and to continue to maintain 100% transparency and accountability.

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The Board thanked lawyers to COSON for their muscular defence of the society against the attempt by jobless fraudsters and charlatans to intimidate COSON licensees with security agents, hijack the Nigerian music industry and to turn the industry to their new gold mine and Nigerian musicians to their new “mugus”.

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The Board also directed all COSON lawyers, consultants and licensing officers all over the country to ensure that everyone owing money to COSON for the deployment of musical works and sound recordings in the COSON repertoire be made to pay up forthwith or face full legal consequences.

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The Board re-asserted its full confidence and that of thousands of COSON members across Nigeria, in the leadership of the COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, whom they said, “is a brilliant mind, democratically chosen, tried, tried again, tested, tested again and never found wanting” and thanked him for his unequaled sacrifice in the promotion and defence of the Nigerian creative industry.

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The five hour meeting was attended by practically every member of the Board from across the country including the Afro-Juju superstar and newly ordained Bishop of Cherubim & Seraphim Church, Sir Shina Peters; renowned gospel Minister, Kenny Saint Best; multi-talented MC, comedian and music star, Kofi Da Guru; celebrated drummer and producer, Mr. Richard Ayodele Cole; immediate past National President of the powerful Music Label Owners & Recording Industries Association of Nigeria (MORAN), Hon John Ewelukwa Udegbunam; President of the Music Producers & Marketers Association of Nigeria (MUPMAN), Eng. Sharon Esco Wilson; Gospel Minister, Evangelist Olusegun Omoyayi; music director and immediate past National Coordinator of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Nigeria, Chief Uche Emeka Paul, etc.

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The COSON Management was represented at the meeting by the COSON General Manager, Ms. Bernice Eriemeghe, Deputy General Manager, Mr. Vincent Adawaisi and frontline lawyer and COSON General Counsel, Barrister Simi Wash-Pam.

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Fed. High Court Orders IG, EFCC & DSS To Show Cause Over Harassment Of COSON, Its Officials

An Abuja Federal High Court Judge, Justice A.R. Mohammed, has ordered the Inspector-General of Police, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to report to the court on April 7, 2021 and show cause over the alleged continued harassment and disturbance of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Nigeria’s biggest copyright collective management organization, its officers, staff and associates.

The three security agencies together with one Pretty Okafor and Biodun Eguakhidewere ordered to show cause over the alleged continued disturbance and harassment of the COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji; the General Manager, Ms. Bernice Eriemeghe and two other officers of COSON, Mr. Vincent Adawaisi and Ms. Anne Okomi.

The orderof Justice Mohammed is based on a motion ex-parte filed on behalf of COSON, Chief Tony Okoroji, Ms. Bernice Eriemeghe, Mr. Vincent Adawaisi and Ms. Anne Okomi by their lawyer, Mr. James Ononiwu of the Lagos law firm of WhiteDove Solicitors.The motion was argued before Justice Mohammed by Abuja based COSON lawyer, Mr. Bamiyi Adejo.

In the substantive suit, COSON, its Chairman and Management staff are asking the court for a declaration that the Inspector-General of Police, Pretty Okafor, Biodun Eguakide, DSS and EFCC have been engaged in an unlawful, unconstitutional and coordinated brutal, horrendous, wicked, harassment and torture of the plaintiffs who are innocent citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The plaintiffs have asked the court for general damages in the sum of N5,000,000,000.00 (Five billion Naira) jointly and severally against the 1st to 5th Defendants in the suit and a perpetual injunction.

The COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, is also asking for General Damages in the sum of N1,000,000,000.00 (One Billion Naira only) against the Inspector-General of Police for defamation of character and the sum of N5,000,000,000.00 (Five Billion Naira only) for the unlawful, unconstitutional and coordinated brutal, horrendous, wicked, harassment and torture of his person.

Chief Okoroji furthermore is demanding General Damages in the sum of N2,000,000,000.00 (2 Billion Naira only) against Stanbic IBTC Bank for the unlawful freezing of his two accounts domiciled in the bank.

It will be recalled that there was a major protest to the Inspector General of Police by significant creative industry personalities over the controversial attempt to abduct Chief Tony Okoroji last December by 5 policemen from Zone 5 Police Command, Benin -City and their plan to drive the celebrated former President of PMAN, syndicated columnist and the continent’s master of copyright, to Benin-City in the middle of the night at a time it was well known that Chief Okoroji has been ill.

Speaking on the development, renowned COSON lawyer, Mr. James Ononiwu said, “this is a big warning to those who believe that at a time when the nation is facing terrible security challenges, they would rather divert the attention of the agencies of state and use them to terrorize innocent citizens and drive a great Nigerian like Chief Tony Okoroji out of town so as to take over the institution he has built. This is pure madness! The harder they come, the harder they will fall. One by one, they will end up in the hole they have dug.”

COSON HOUSE WAS NEVER RAIDED BY POLICE, IT WAS ANOTHER FAKE NEWS!!!

 

Ms. Bernice Eriemeghe, the General Manager, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Nigeria’s biggest copyright collective management organization, has said that the magnificent COSON House in Ikeja was never raided by the police at any time on Wednesday, March 17, 2021 and that there is no reason whatsoever for such a raid as COSON is in no way involved in any kind of shady activity.

Reacting to the publications on social media that COSON House was recently raided and many of the staff arrested, Ms Eriemeghe said, “I am a professional accountant and an internationally trained manager. I will not work in a place where the rules and the law are not followed to the letter. I am exceedingly proud of the standards we have set at COSON and I make bold to say that if every Nigerian organization is managed like COSON, Nigeria will be a great nation. COSON is one of Nigeria’s most audited organizations and we have nothing to hide.

“This social media story is another fake news of the most laughable kind. It is shamefully being promoted by the desperate detractors of the great work that COSON is doing. Of course, we know those behind it, those who are frustrated that the Almighty God has made it impossible for them to take over control of our great institution and milk it and pauperize our members. They are angry that God has stoutly refused to answer their wicked prayers that COSON should crumble.

“This is of course a rehash of the failed attempt to scuttle the December 15, 2020, COSON AGM which at the end of the day was a fantastic and productive meeting streamed live on Zoom to thousands of COSON members across the country who joined the meeting virtually. The jobless detractors failed woefully in December. The jobless detractors have failed woefully again in March and will continue to fail”.

Said Ms. Eriemeghe, “the fact is that I was invited by some police officers to respond to a very childish petition written by one Pretty Okafor, a busy body, who is not even a member of COSON. I went with the COSON lawyer, the very brilliant James Ononiwu of WhiteDove Solicitors. One look at the petition, I started laughing as it is filled with lies, jumbled facts and twisted logic. It took me a very short time to respond to it and after responding to it, I went back to work in my office. To say that I fainted at sighting the juvenile petition is a big joke and a fat lie. For the avoidance of doubt, not even one member of my staff was arrested by the police and work did not stop at COSON House for one minute.

“It has become clear to us, that the tactics of our detractors is to send such juvenile petitions to the different security agencies and use the police, EFCC, DSS, etc to hound us for doing a great job for our nation. Very soon, they will send the Boys Scouts! Maybe they do not know that I am a daughter of a police officer and I know my rights. As a staunch Rotarian, I abide by the “4–Way Test” which is a Rotary International moral code for personal and business relationships. I will not be intimidated by these cheap tactics of fraudsters”.

Concluded the General Manager of COSON, “it is well known that following the commissioning of the magnificent COSON House, the only real property fully owned by the Nigerian entertainment industry, all manner of people became envious of COSON. The restless Pretty Okafor started spreading falsehood to tarnish the name of Chief Tony Okoroji, the Chairman of the COSON Board, a celebrated former President of PMAN and the continent’s undisputed master of copyright. Chief Okoroji took Pretty Okafor to the High Court of Lagos State for defamation of character and won re-soundly. Today, Pretty Okafor is a judgment debtor to Chief Tony Okoroji. Rather than pay his debt, Okafor, his cohorts and social media co-travellers are running around trying to use security agents to harass his judgment creditor and harass the institution he leads. What a shame! Anybody who knows Chief Tony Okoroji will tell you that the strategy of the