Celebrated former President of Association of Nigeria, PMAN, Chief Tony Okoroji, who is Chairman of Nigeria’s biggest Copyright Collective Management Organisation, the nation’s most formidable creative industry institution, Copyright Society of Nigeria, COSON, has called on all Nigerian creatives to take a strong stand and stop the nation from sliding into anarchy and hopelessness.
Delivering his “No Music Day” broadcast on September 1 from COSON House in Ikeja, Lagos, Chief Okoroji said, “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.
“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.
“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 handful of people.”
Said Chief Okoroji, “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.
“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.”
Stating the issues in stark terms, the Intellectual Property activist and nationalist said, “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.
“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.
“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.”
Chief Okoroji called 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, they deploy their PVCs to elect a government that respects the rights of creative people and respects the rule of law. According to him, that is the way to stop the Nigerian nation from sliding into irreversible hopelessness.
The broadcast which was relayed by several radio and TV stations and streamed on many internet platforms, was followed by vigorous online debates, discussion and comments.