It was a breath-taking event with everything planned to the minutest detail as hundreds of top dignitaries, music stars and journalists across various media establishments in Nigeria thronged the newly commissioned magnificent COSON House in Ikeja to receive the Honorable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed on Saturday, July 15, 2017.
The event which began with a splendid cocktail on the posh red carpet laid out in front of the newly commissioned COSON House witnessed the grand arrivals of top figures such as the Director General, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Dr Mansur Liman; Director General, Nigerian Television Authority, Alhaji Yakubu Mohammed; Executive Director, National Film and Video Censors Board, Mr Adedayo Thomas; Director-General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Mr. Folarin Coker; former Chairman of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, Professor Egerton Uvieghara; Vice President Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Emeka Opara; Intellectual Property guru, Professor Bankole Sodipo; Firebrand lawyer, Rockson Igelige, Broadcast whiz kid and owner of the wave making Sound City and ONTV, Mr Tajudeen Adepetu; Encomium Magazine Publisher, Mr. Kunle Bakare and Ovation International Magazine Editor, Mr. Mike Effiong.
Also on the star studded Red Carpet were ace Nollywood actor and producer, Mr. Patrick Doyle; Obi Asika, co-founder of Cabal Entertainment; Kene Mkparu of Film House Theatres; Efe Omorogbe, CEO of Now Muzik; Obi Ezeilo, representing the Director-General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission; Seyi Allen, CEO, Network Tentacles; Aibee Abidoye, GM Chocolate City; Mr Collins Enebeli, father of the celebrated music producer, Don Jazzy, etc.
After the minister was conducted round the magnificent facilities at COSON House by COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, he was then led to the COSON House Arena where he was treated to an unforgettable reception woven in spectacular lights, sound, music, animation and enchanting visuals projected on the massive LCD screen at the Arena.
Deploying modern technology, top Nigerian artistes on tour in various places around the world welcomed the Minister to COSON House on the big screen. Among the artistes projected on the screen were the Chief Commander of Juju Music, Evangelist Ebenezer Obey, who was in London; Rub-a-dub master, Ras Kimono in Atlanta and 2 Face Idibia on tour around the continent.
The highlight of the afternoon of non-stop images maybe that moment when ‘The Book’, the COSON Roll of Honour, was carried in style with captivating lights and sounds onto the stage of the Arena by two bare chested muscular men. Alhaji Lai Mohammed was then invited onto the stage to place his signature and thumb print in ‘The Book’ for posterity. The minister was thereafter decorated with the ‘Copyright Medal of Honour’ by COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji. The ‘Copyright Medal of Honour’ is the highest honour given by the Nigerian music industry to any individual.
At COSON House to receive the minister was an array of Nigerian artistes including the legendary Majek Fashek, fuji maestro, Alao Malaika, Koffi Da Guru; Black Face, co-author of the iconic song, ‘African Queen’ and many of the young Turks of the music industry such as Tobi Grey, YQ, D’lyte, KASI, the June 12 girl, Kul –GP, Dolzi, among others.
Reacting to the reception, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said that he was over whelmed by what he had witnessed. He expressed great delight at being honored in such a grand manner by COSON. He also noted that for COSON to put together such top-notch event in a few days shows how effective and efficient the organisation is.
In his address on the COSON House podium, the Minister said ‘I must commend COSON for putting up such a magnificent structure for Nigerian artistes. COSON as an organization can compete with others around the world in terms of excellence, competence and in terms of understanding the terrain and its core values. COSON is very sensitive to the creative industry, because without COSON, many of our artistes will live in penury.’
Alhaji Lai Mohammed went on to say that COSON deserves great commendation to have succeeded so much in just 7 years of its existence in an environment where people believe that intellectual property is general property and believe there is no logic in paying for creative works. The minister encouraged COSON to keep protecting the rights of creative minds in Nigeria with continued vigour.
To the creative minds present, the minister assured all of them of the government’s commitment to ensuring a suitable environment for them to thrive. The minister further stated that roundtable discussions, meetings and creative industry conferences are being held to ensure that the industry in Nigeria continually moves forward.
Also present at the welcoming ceremony were COSON General Manager, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji and Directors, Mr. Joel Ajayi, Alhaji Sikiru Agboola, Hon. John Udegbunam and Azeezat Allen, who rendered an awe-inspiring version of the Nigerian National Anthem at the reception for the Minister.
As he left COSON House, one of the top aides of the Minister exclaimed, “I have never seen anything like this!” It was that kind of event.