THE Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) Board is set for a 7-day event tagged, COSON Week. ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with the chairman of COSON Board, Chief Tony Okoroji, where he spoke about the activities for the event. The COSON Week, which begins on Sunday, November 1, with COSON in the Church, the red carpet, National Day Prayer, will end on Saturday, November 7, 2015, at Atican Beach Resort, Ajah, Lagos, for what is billed to be Africa’s biggest beach concert ever.
Why are you organizing COSON Week?
We believe that the music industry which we represent has a huge role to play in moving our economy forward and providing jobs for hundreds of thousands of our youths who are jobless right now. Nigerian music is taking the world by storm, but we need to bring ourselves together to exploit the talent and skill that God has given us. We use the COSON Week to advertise the Nigerian music like never before and that’s why we call it The World Cup of Music of the Olympic Games. That’s why we organize COSON in the church. We use this medium to bring the best gospel singers together. We bring pastors together to pray for Nigeria. It doesn’t matter the denomination you belong. It is a non-denominational service. At COSON in the church, there will be a red carpet. We want people to mingle, exchange pleasantries, political opponents will end up hugging each other. We will also have a very intellectual lecture where we talk about issues concerning our country.
We also have COSON on the street. Here people will see celebrities doing what regular people do, like cleaning the street, clearing garbage, controlling traffic and more. It doesn’t kill a star to do all these things. There will also be a free concert on the street, so that people who cannot afford to go to Eko Hotel & Suites or buy expensive ticket can also enjoy watching their stars performing.
Then the COSON Green Ball, which is an A-class event, dress to kill, people will get to walk the green carpet. We use this medium to raise funds for something we call the COSON Music Foundation, which is to help musicians who are old or sick. Then we will have the COSON Table Tennis Blow out, where stars will play and the winner will go home with N1,000,000. Musicians, comedians, actors will take part in the table tennis blow out which will take place at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos. The song award will also take place, and we describe it as ‘wow’.
This particular award is different from every other award because we don’t celebrate musicians, we are celebrating song writers. Some people do not know that songwriters are different from the performers at times. Another person can make a song popular but this song award will go to the writer of the song. People get to hear the creator of their popular songs. There is a great songwriter which I respect a lot, Commander Ebenezer Obey. I don’t think anyone has composed the kind of songs he has done. He has the highest number of composed songs. We will celebrate him and he will get a lifetime achievement award at the COSON Song Award. We will close up the COSON Week with a beach party with thousands of people and it will be fun. People will come in their beach wears and we will have a concert till the following morning. There will be lots of games and people will meet each other and some probably get married.
How old is COSON?
COSON was five years in May, 2015. We have grown faster than we thought. Some people think we have always been in existence. It’s not how old we are, but how energetic we are.
What are the challenges COSON is facing?
The challenge of culture. People doubt a lot. When you say you want to do something, they will ask, are you sure? Nigerians have been disappointed a lot of times, but at COSON, whatever we say we will do, we will surely do.
Do radio stations pay royalties to musicians?
No. Last year we had an agreement after we fought ourselves, everybody realized that it is in the interest of the country, we needed to resolve the problem. Last year May 21, we signed an agreement at Eko Hotel with the supervision of NBC, they agreed to pay a certain amount.
Has COSON been able to realise that goal?
We are making tremendous progress. People are surprised at what we can do. We believe where there is a will, there is a way.
How are the artistes co-operating with COSON in ensuring stability in the industry?
Without the artistes, there is no COSON. The artistes formed COSON. People like me were elected by the artistes and I believe it’s because they know we can do it. We are working together and we are doing interesting things.
What is your view about the Nigerian music industry now?
The industry has great potentials, fantastic potentials, incredible potentials. It is how we manage the industry that matters and we intend to manage the industry well.
What is your comment about some lewd lyrics of some Nigerian musicians?
The beautiful thing is that, there are numerous channels on television and radio. If you don’t like what you are listening to, then change the station. People have different things they want to hear or see. What you might call lewd are things some people might want to hear. We also have stations, where they sing gospel songs. I try not to be judgemental. I leave it to people to decide what they like, and that’s why we have so many options.
Are there no regulations about such?
The NBC direct that some are not to be broadcast (NTB), but I keep saying that stations where kids watch cartoons, should know how to control such music.
Sir, what is your advice to young music artistes?
They need to work hard. Music is not for lazy people. If you are not willing to work hard, you can never make it. If you get one hit and rest, you will find out that another one will not come. So, everybody needs to be consistent.
What is happening to the Nigerian Music Awards?
There are a few questions raised by some people. We felt it is necessary to leave it for a while. The event is difficult to organize, but it is also an event that has helped Nigerian music over the years. It’s not dead, at some point we will bring it back, but for now, we are doing other things that are making people happy too.
After waiting for President Buhari’s ministerial list, do you think the names on the list are worth the long wait?
Yes, I am not disappointed. I think Nigeria is passing through difficult times. I have heard a lot of people complaining that we should have young people and there is no argument about that, but there is a time when we need to have tried and tested people. I am a great fan of Babatunde Fashola, I have seen what he has done in Lagos. Any man who could confront Oshodi and turn it around has my support. I saw Rotimi Amaechi being interviewed. I am happy to see people with courage. Nigeria needs a lot of courage, people who are not afraid to take the bull by the horn and change the situation. I think that the president has appointed people who are not coming to do trial and error, but people who have proven over time that they can look at Nigeria’s situation and it will not drive them crazy. So, I expect a lot of progress from the ministers. I don’t expect failure from Amaechi or Fashola because they are tried and tested people, so it’s worth the wait
- NKECHINYERE IBEMERE