COSON’s Tony Okoroji has a lot to say about NBC’s recent Procurement. Read the statement from COSON below:
Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chief Tony Okoroji has described the recent pronouncement by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) on the COSON v BON/IBAN conflict as a historic moment in the development of creative industries in Nigeria.
Chief Okoroji was speaking to journalists at the Benin Airport on arrival to commission the COSON Comprehensive Copyright Licensing Programme in Edo State. Asked if he saw the NBC Pronouncement as victory for COSON, he answered: ‘I know that some might see it as victory for one group or another but in this process, I do not think in terms of victors or vanquished. I am interested in the progress of the Nigerian nation. I believe that the full engagement of the NBC and NCC in ensuring the proper enforcement of our copyright legislations is a momentous development which will have tremendous impact on the Nigerian economy down the road. I have spent a lifetime campaigning for an environment in which people receive fair compensation for the creative work they do because I verily believe that this is how we will unleash the massive creative energy in our people for the creation of wealth and employment for hundreds of thousands of our citizens’
Asked if he was not bitter over the several months of personal attack on radio and television directed at him during the COSON fight with BON and IBAN, Chief Okoroji said ‘We cannot afford to dwell too much on the personal sacrifice we have to make. We must concentrate on the future possibilities for our country and the work we still need to do. I look forward to working with our colleagues in BON, IBAN, NBC and NCC to resolve all the issues within the time frame set out by the NBC or even faster. Respect for intellectual property rights will not only benefit the music, film or literary industries. I believe that it will return our broadcasting stations to being the hotbeds for the creation of very profitable, marketable and exportable programming instead of just being sellers of air time. I know that people have resisted these developments because of fear – fear of tomorrow. There is nothing to fear. Nothing can be more tragic than our remaining trapped in our bad habits because of fear’
Responding to a question as to why COSON continues to blossom while similar organizations in the creative sector are unable to stand on their feet, the COSON Chairman said, ‘I am a great believer in the adage that a big man makes a small organization big and a small man makes a big organization small. COSON is a beneficiary of outstanding leadership provided by a Board made up of a group I like to describe as Nigeria’s finest – eleven very sharp individuals, each successful in his own right. Think about it: a board that has the likes of Efe Omorogbe, Banky W, Obi Asika, Audu Maikori, Joel Ajayi, Adewale Ayuba, John Udegbunam, Baba Dee, Sikiru Agbola, Azeezat Allen supported by an Advisory Council that has the likes of Evangelist Ebenezer Obey, Prof Victor Uwaifo, Mr. Laolu Akins, Dr. Ben Ofoeze, Erelu Keji Okunowo, Mr. Sunny Neji, Mr Edi Lawani, etc. We have no reason to fail.
Sometimes people wonder why we are so bold. We are bold because we are not afraid. We are not afraid because we have nothing to hide. We have nothing to hide because we insist on one hundred per cent transparency and accountability.
‘At COSON, we have zero tolerance for all the symptoms of poor management: fraud, secrecy, poor planning, poor execution, etc. I travel quite a bit around the world in my work as a teacher and mentor in the area of copyright administration. One of the critical subjects I teach is Governance. At COSON, we practice what I teach. We have built a great relationship and respect between our membership, our board and our management. That has created stability and growth which is why today; COSON is one of the most admired CMOs across the world.
Chief Okoroji was also asked why the attack on COSON has risen sharply in recent times. He answered by saying that the unprecedented growth of COSON, its boldness, relevance and the nature of the work it does would attract significant reactions. According to him, COSON must welcome constructive criticism and act on it with the understanding that collective management of copyright is a new area for a lot of people in our environment. Said Chief Okoroji: ‘Do not forget that about four years ago, there was nothing like COSON but today, COSON practically drives the creative sector in Nigeria. Those who attack COSON generally belong to three camps: those who do not know us well; those who are afraid of us and those who are envious of us. We have a responsibility to continue to educate those who do not know us well about whom we are and why we do what we do. There are of course those who attack COSON because they are afraid that the continued growth of COSON will impact on them negatively. Within this camp are copyright infringers and those who are desperate to run alternative CMOs and their agents. We have no apologies for those in this camp. Within the third camp are the usual ‘bad belle’ people driven by ‘why him and not me?’I just feel sorry for them.
At Benin Airport to welcome Chief Okoroji and his delegation to Benin City was a large troupe of COSON members in Edo State led by Highlife music icon and former Edo State Commissioner for Culture, Prof (Sir) Victor Uwaifo and Prince Biodun Egwakhide, COSON’s Edo/Delta Coordinator. Accompanying Chief Okoroji from Lagos were COSON General Manager, Mr Chinedu Chukwuji; Board member, Mr. Bankole Wellington (Banky W) and Advisory Committee member, Mr Sunny Neji. From the airport, the delegation drove straight to Government House where the team met with Governor Adams Oshiomole after which the delegation met with the Esama of Benin Kingdom, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion.
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