Chief Tony Okoroji, Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Nigeria’s biggest copyright collective management organization, has said that under no circumstance will he betray the trust that Nigerian creatives have reposed in him. In the words of Chief Okoroji, “that trust is not negotiable. I will not be intimidated by anyone or blackmailed to stain the confidence that a large section of the Nigerian creative family has reposed in me over the years. I will continue to fully defend the rights of Nigerian artistes as long as the Almighty gives me breath. If you push me, I will push you back. Those who know me know that I am a long-distance runner. I never promise what I will not do. I do not operate half-heartedly. My word is my bond. My commitment to the growth of the Nigerian creative industry did not start last week or last year. It is total and I will not sell that commitment for any kind of lucre.”

Chief Okoroji was speaking at COSON House Ikeja during the presentation to him of an “Award of Recognition” for his “selfless contribution to the growth and development of Music and Musicians in Nigeria” The award by Creative M Entertainment was announced at AmEE’s Award night held recently at Freedom Park Lagos, which Chief Okoroji was unable to attend.

Presenting the award, Harrison-Uke-Frank of Creative M Entertainment described Chief Okoroji as an extra-ordinary Nigerian whose selflessness, commitment and contribution to the development of the Nigerian entertainment industry is unequaled and inspiring. Uke-Frank wondered how Chief Okoroji has continued to stand firm and march on despite the many obstacles placed on his way and the deluge of arrows fired at him. He said that as a member of COSON, he was on admission in hospital after an accident during the Covid 19 Pandemic when there was a surprise alert on his phone. He said that he checked the phone and lo and behold, there was money to him from COSON which he did not expect, lobby for or influence anyone to send. He also mentioned that in 2023, as the economic downturn began to mount, he also received an alert from COSON and once again, there was money termed ‘palliative distribution’ which he knows was received by thousands of musicians all over Nigeria. He said that he has attended several COSON AGMs and has found out that at each of them, every question is fully
answered, audited accounts are presented with every member given the opportunity to scrutinize and debate the accounts, every year. He expressed surprise that such a completely transparent and accountable organization can exist in Nigeria.

With respect to the many arrows fired at him, the COSON Chairman said that he understands the Nigerian environment. In his words, “there are many who cannot innovate or create anything. They are dedicated to eating cow leg and partying while others are working. When you finish building a house which they contributed little to, they show up and want to occupy the master bedroom and order you to move out. Leave the house for them and very soon, they will deface it and destroy it, because they do not know what went into building it. I have experienced this several times.

“When we commissioned the magnificent COSON House, I knew that trouble was on the way. The creative industry had never owned such a structure, finished and equipped to exquisite standards. We did not get one Naira of government help or did we borrow money from anyone. Immediately after, the scramble to take over and control COSON began. All kinds of crazy allegations were concocted and heaped on me to drive me away but they failed.

“I have won more defamation cases in court than any other Nigerian living or dead. Those who have manufactured and say terrible things about me never bring the evidence to prove what they say. They have failed and failed and failed. I have won and won and won. I thank the good Lord who is behind the work that I do for his continued protection of me and the work I do. I thank the multitude of the members of COSON for their continued trust. You can see the stability that COSON has enjoyed in recent times. I repeat that I will not be intimidated by anyone or blackmailed to stain the trust that a large section of the Nigerian creative family has reposed in me”.

Chief Okoroji thanked Mr. Harrison-Uke-Frank for the recognition and prayed that God Almighty will continue to bless the work of his hands.


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