DECEMBER 14, 2021.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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”


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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.


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..


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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%.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of us.


December 14, 2021


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.


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.


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.


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!”


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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”.


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”


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


“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.


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.


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.


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.


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”.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”



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


Prof. Victor Uwaifo receiving The COSON Grand Copyright Medal of Honour from

the COSON Chairman and Kenny St Brown a member of the COSON Board

The great lyricist, melody maker, multi-instrumentalist, sculptor, designer, performer per excellence and intellectual giant, Prof. Victor Uwaifo was on Saturday March 6 in Benin-City decorated with the “Grand Copyright Medal of Honour”, the first time anyone anywhere has been so decorated.

The decoration was the climax of the big celebration of Prof Uwaifo’s 80th birthday which attracted the high and mighty to Uwaifo’s Superstar Highgate on Victor Uwaifo Avenue, Ekewan/College Road, Benin City.

Before the decoration, there was a documentary on the life of the all-round creative genius and the presentation of a 600 page biography of the great Nigerian, authored by Prof. Muyiwa Peter Awodiya.

The presentation of a plaque and decoration with the Grand Copyright Medal of Honour was done by the celebrated former President of the Performing Musicians’ Association of Nigeria (PMAN) and current Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chief Tony Okoroji. Chief Okoroji was supported by the gospel minister and COSON Board member, Kenny Saint Brown (KSB).

Said Chief Okoroji during the celebration, “I have had the privilege of presenting the Copyright Medal of Honour to a few very distinguished Nigerians and an international personage but not once have we presented the Grand Copyright Medal of Honour to anyone, anywhere. Today will be the first time ever because in every way the gentleman standing next to me has created history in so many-many ways. He has been in the battle for the respect for intellectual property in Nigeria not apologizing to anyone, not giving a hoot to what anybody says but leaving a lasting legacy for our nation. It is my honour and privilege today with my colleague representing the Board, the Management and thousands of members of Copyright Society of Nigeria all over the world to honour you and decorate you with the Grand Copyright Medal of Honour”

At the event blessed by the Catholic Arch-Bishop of Benin, Most Reverend Augustin Obiora Akubueze, were several traditional rulers, professors and academic dons, from across the nation, businessmen and, politicians. Also present were representatives of several institutions attended by the legend, such as the University of Benin, Yaba College of Technology, Western Boys High School, St Gregory’s College, Lagos, etc. There was also a bevy of media representatives at the event in which Prof Uwaifo performed a widely applauded version of his evergreen hit song and first African gold disc winner, Joromi with the audience singing along and his guitar spinning wildly.

Prof Victor Uwaifo who is easily the most educated and academically decorated performing artiste in the world, has been invited to the State House by four Presidents and Heads of State of Nigeria and has been the recipient of several national and international awards. In 1997, he was awarded the Certificate of Honor by the House of Representatives, Boston Massachusetts. He is documented in the Groove Dictionary of Music and Musicians Vol. 8. He is also documented in the Men and Women of Distinction in the Commonwealth, 1983. He has been presented with a Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) Degree (Honoris) by the University of Benin, the Benin National Merit Award, the University of Benin Distinguished Alumnus Award and the National Honour of Member of the Order of the Niger by the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In 2010, Prof. Victor Uwaifo was one of the select Nigerians awarded the fellowship of the Nigerian Academy of Letters at a grand event at the University of Lagos.

Victor Uwaifo who served as Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism in Edo State of Nigeria between 2001 and 2003 was born on the 1st of March 1941 in Benin City. He attended Western Boys High School in his hometown and later, St Gregory’s College, Lagos. He subsequently proceeded to Yaba College of Technology, Lagos from where he obtained a National Art Diploma with distinction and shone as an outstanding athlete. He received a B.A Hons, First Class, Fine and Applied Arts from the University of Benin and a Masters’ Degree in Sculpting from the same university. He also obtained a Ph.D Architectural Sculpture from the same university where he has been a Professor for several years.


Barr James Ononiwu

Renowned lawyer to Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Mr. James Ononiwu of the Lagos based Whitedove Solicitors, has said that the recently published fabrications by the very quarrelsome and self-styled factional President of PMAN, Mr. Pretty Okafor, circulated on social media, are based on blatant falsehood, incurable desire to be relevant, burning envy and malice of the worst kind and that the statements are defamatory of COSON and Chief Tony Okoroji and deserve to be fully confronted and will be confronted.

Mr. Ononiwu said that it is very well known that COSON is a very transparent organization that does not deal in any criminal or shady activities. He said that everybody is reminded that the ground-breaking copyright royalty agreement between COSON and Multichoice Nigeria is not a secret agreement but a well-publicized advancement of the Nigerian copyright system celebrated with a big event at Lagos Oriental Hotel with many frontline journalists present.

Ononiwu further said that all payments made by Multichoice Nigeria to COSON for use of works in the COSON repertoire is 100% legal and have been fully disclosed in every relevant audited accounts of COSON, a copy of which is sent every year to each of the thousands of members of COSON and filed with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

Mr. Ononiwu is of the opinion that the incurably noisy Pretty Okafor may still be dazed by the significant victory Chief Tony Okoroji recently dealt him in the widely reported judgment delivered by Hon Justice A.A. Oyebanji of the High Court of Lagos State. Said Ononiwu, “this character who deludes himself by behaving as if he is above the law would not have forgotten that there is a restraining court order against him from further defamation of the character of Chief Tony Okoroji and that he is still a judgment debtor to Chief Okoroji. Ononiwu advised all those publishing Pretty Okafor’s reckless defamatory statements to refrain from further doing so as they may expose themselves to legal action.

It will be recalled that Pretty Okafor and two of his acolytes in 2018 went to the Federal High Court to shut down the bank accounts of COSON. What was the eventual result? Justice M.S. Hassan of the Federal High Court on February 6, 2019 struck out Okafor’s suit saying that he came to court with misleading facts and the matter was an abuse of court process. As a result, Pretty Okafor and Co are currently defending an application for N400 Million Naira in damages against them.

Mr. James Ononiwu, the COSON lawyer has vowed that if Pretty Okafor does not publish an unreserved public apology to the members of COSON and Chief Tony Okoroji within two weeks, he would be slammed with a new and hefty lawsuit, the kind he would not find pretty at all. Said Mr. Ononiwu, “this character must be made to understand that Nigeria is a nation of laws and he cannot just open his mouth and vomit any nonsense and make any unsubstantiated allegations any time he feels like. Let it be clear that Okafor will not be allowed to spread his outright fabrications which are the baseless figments of the imagination of a sick man”.

Mr. Ononiwu reaffirmed the fact that COSON which is by far Nigeria’s biggest copyright collective management organization with membership across the length and breadth of the Nigerian nation, continues to operate as a full-fledged corporate entity representing millions of musical works and sound recordings assigned to it by its thousands of members in Nigeria through legally executed Deeds of Assignment or by legal agreements entered into with more than 100 Collective Management Organizations around the world.


Said Mr. Ononiwu, “We are not unaware that there is a group of hungry and greedy charlatans desperate to get their hands on COSON because COSON is the one successful organization in the nation’s copyright industry. The hunger in the land is driving them crazy but COSON is strong enough to take them on!”

Mr. Ononiwu concluded by repeating questions he had asked before: “where are the audited accounts of Pretty Okafor’s ramshackle PMAN which shamelessly operates from no fixed address? Who audited the Okafor PMAN books? When were they filed with the Registrar of Trade Unions? When did the Registrar approve the returns? Indeed, how many people are parading themselves as PMAN President in Nigeria?”

Said Mr. Ononiwu, “Pretty Okafor may in the past have escaped with talking without discipline and self-control and not facing any consequences. This time, this meddlesome interloper who is not even a member of COSON and has no worthwhile repertoire assigned to COSON will be told that Nigeria is a nation of laws and he will be made to pay heavily for his outrageous behavior”



Chief Tony Okoroji, Chairman COSON

Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chief Tony Okoroji, has promised members of COSON that they will witness a great year in 2021. In his New Year message to the society, Chief Okoroji thanked the members of COSON across the nation, the Board and the entire management of the society for their unflinching determination to ensure that COSON is not damaged but continues to be a great example of how a creative industry organization should be run.

Chief Okoroji assured all members of COSON that the organization will robustly protect their interests in 2021 and carry out the instructions of the General Assembly to restore the rights of every genuine member of COSON to receive royalties from the society and work relentlessly towards increasing the distributable income to members and affiliates. Said Okoroji, “In 2021, the COSON mantra, ‘let the music pay!’ will be heard loudly across the nation and in affirmation, people will bear witness in the famous words, ‘COSON is working!’.

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.     

In the words of Chief Okoroji, “Yes, the terrain is rough, so we are tough. The more they have tried to scatter us, the more they have bonded us together. As long as what we are doing is right, we cannot give up. The fact that arrows are being fired at us by those who have nothing to offer and nothing to give to our stakeholders, should make us stronger. Those of us charged with providing leadership to our great society cannot be lily-livered or cowardly. On the long run, we will be judged by the results we produce. We must be ready to make any sacrifice and take any bullet and earn the confidence reposed in us. We cannot afford just to be talkers. We must be doers driving on a full tank of faith”.

According to Okoroji, his optimism in the strong possibilities in COSON in the new year is based on the fact that most of the critical issues have been litigated, COSON has remained solid as a rock and decisions that should affect the direction of collective management of copyright in Nigeria ought to come in 2021.

According to the former president of PMAN and respected author of ‘Copyright & the New Millionaires’, “for most of 2020, we marched with the issues to the courts and with our lawyers, systematically and diligently argued our positions with the facts and the law. I verily believe that in 2021, the courts will remove the obstacles that have limited the sustainable growth of collective management of copyright in Nigeria resulting in measurable positive impact on the lives of practitioners in the Nigerian creative industry”

Chief Okoroji wished members of COSON and their families good health and progress in 2021 and concluded by saying, “Everybody in Nigeria by now knows that even with all the shackles and obstacles placed on our way, COSON has, year after year, remained by far the No. 1 organization in the Nigerian creative industry, with no help whatsoever from the government, a position that makes all of us members of COSON very proud”.

Flags Fly At Half Mast At COSON House For Iconic Music Star Majek Fashek Who Just Passed On

All flags at COSON House in Ikeja, the headquarters of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), are now flying at half mast in celebration of the life of Nigeria’s iconic reggae singer and frontline member of COSON, Majek Fashek, who passed on in New York in the evening of the 1st of June.

A condolence register has also been opened at the reception of COSON House for all those who want to pay tribute to the memory of this unique Nigerian artiste to do so. Also, videos of the remarkable performances of Majek Fashek are playing on the various video screens at COSON House.


Speaking on the passing of the reggae legend, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji said, “In various ways, we will celebrate the life of this incredibly talented Nigerian. I hope that before the day is over, I will speak with Randy, his son who lives in New York. We have to deal with the time difference between Lagos and New York and we will make the necessary announcements.


“Everyone knows that Majek Fashek was not just my colleague. He was my friend. He stood by my side and supported me from head to toe over many years. We have shared many memorable moments together. His passing on tears at my heart but I am consoled by the fact that there is no need to immortalize Majek Fashek. He has immortalized himself through his unforgettable songs and lyrics. We will celebrate Majek Fashek to inspire the young people in the creative family”


“There is almost nothing that COSON has done that Majek Fashek did not fully participate in. He was 100% dedicated to the COSON cause. Majek was not just a COSON member by name. He was a COSON member in his heart and indeed. All COSON members across Nigeria and all of our staff at COSON House which he visited regularly, will greatly miss this Nigerian of incomparable talent, the great “rain maker”. Since yesterday, it has been raining across the nation. It has to as the great Rainmaker transits. It is said that Rastas never die. I take it that my brother, friend and colleague, the iconic Majek Fashek has not died, He has travelled and one day, we will join and make music together”