These past few weeks, it has been celebration galore all around me. At some point, I was forced to ask myself, ”what exactly have I done that the good Lord seems to have singled me out for his blessings?”.
Please, do not misunderstand me. I did not win the lotto neither have I made any big money. I still struggle to make ends meet like most Nigerians under the present economic environment. My heart is however filled with joy.
Please check it out: On October 27, there was the big celebration in Lagos of my service to the Nigerian creative industry by the Creative Industry Group (CIG) and a Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to me. On November 7, I had the big honour of chairing the historic and celebrated COSON AGM and royalty distribution at the magnificent COSON House in Lagos. On November 16, my son’s wife, Andrea, gave birth in Dallas Texas to my bouncing grandson whom I had pre-named ‘Tony Okoroji, the 3rd‘ and on November 19, there was the wonderful celebration in Maryland USA of the 40th Anniversary of my wedding to the beautiful Queen Mary. OMG! All within three weeks?!
I wish to thank my many friends across the world, some of whom I do not know, who have bombarded me with messages of goodwill. I thank the thousands of members of the COSON family who have stood staunchly by me through thick and thin. I cannot but thank the members of the COSON Board who have shown me camaraderie beyond what anyone in my position in Nigeria should expect. I specially thank you, Sir Shina Peters, my brother from another mother; the delectable Kenny Saint Best (KSB); Eng Sharon Esco Wilson Joshua; the great drummer and producer, Richard Ayodele Cole and Chief Uche Emeka Paul whom I fondly call ‘Onye Ngozi’ (the man of blessings).
I thank the multi–talented, restless and progressive Koffi Da Guru; the unshakable Sir Angus Nwangwu; the Righteousman, undisputed president of the ‘Righteous Nation’; Oge Kimono, the very beautiful and brilliant “son” of my brother, the late Rub-A-Dub Master; Evangelist of the People, Olusegun Omoyayi and the super articulate Zdon Paporella. Oh yes, I thank my staff at TOPS Digital who are, more or less, an extension of my family.
I am a very lucky man and I thank the Almighty for the incredible protection he has given me in many trying circumstances and under conditions that would have sunk many men. For a guy who goes to church sparingly, it is a miracle!
Please, wind back the tape to December 7, 2017, when a well-planned coup was suddenly unleashed on me by some of my colleagues on the COSON Board, who wanted to hijack control of the organization. Despite the fact that I did not agree with the timing nor the procedure, I took my laptop and left COSON House. I did not complain to anyone. I did not quarrel with anyone. I did not insult anyone. Next day, I addressed the staff of COSON on speaker phone and asked them to go about their duties with confidence and pride and even work harder for the organization than they had done with me as chairman.
With the publishing of a press release saying that a younger colleague of mine had become Chairman of COSON, my phone began to ring off the hook.
Two days later, I wrote in this column, “What is in a title?”. In the piece, I wrote, “I have spent enough time in leadership to understand the nature of man. The day we gathered the creme of Nigeria to commission the magnificent COSON House in Ikeja without borrowing one Naira from anyone, I very well knew what would happen after. With what I have seen, I am determined that COSON will not be a repeat of the PMAN story. It will take a lot of patience and wisdom but I trust the good Lord to give us the patience and wisdom to make COSON a continuing Nigerian success story”.
I was taken aback by the response to that piece. There were a lot of comments from people whom I did not know have been watching COSON.
For as long as I live, I will never forget December 19, 2017 when COSON members after 12 days of my absence ushered me back into COSON House with thunderous ovation and overwhelming kindness. They refused to accept the coup and annulled it as they have the power to do. Of course, I cried in public. I cried because not many people live to witness such profound recognition and appreciation of their effort. I am lucky.
My traducers went on to publish incredibly defamatory things about me and twisted so many facts to run me down. They did not want anybody to have anything to do with me. With the media power they thought they have, they were sure they would mutilate my reputation forever. Oh! they did everything they could to destroy COSON and to destroy me and dragged in their friends in different government agencies to annihilate us. Man proposes but God disposes. Happily, COSON continues to be a Nigerian success story.
There are people who have asked me why I have refused to personally reply these people. I have chosen that my work speaks for me. In Igbo land, we have a saying that if you have undressed to have your bath and a mad man comes and runs away with your clothes, if you decide to run after the mad man naked, no one will know the difference between the two of you.
They want me to engage them in a quarrel so that they can promote their narrative that there are factions in COSON. They want me to help them to destroy COSON. I am not a fool. There are no factions in COSON, none whatsoever. Our board is one. Our Management is one. There is only one COSON office in Nigeria – the magnificent COSON House. Our members across every state of Nigeria support the board and management operating from COSON House which continues to sparkle. COSON is working like ever before.
I intend to answer their defamatory statements in every detail for posterity but not on Facebook. I am a solid believer in in the rule of law, even though the process meanders left and right until we get it right. I have gone to court because while you can make all the noise you want on Facebook and abuse anybody as you wish, in a court of law you are compelled to bring hard evidence to substantiate everything you say.
The back-to-back celebrations in my life over the last three weeks is proof that the insidious effort to mutilate my reputation forever, has failed. There is no amount of gratitude that will adequately express my thanks.
Ps: Before the celebrations, I lost my elder sister, Martha, in Baltimore USA. She was a beautiful person with an exceedingly beautiful heart. May she rest in peace.