There was slight drama at the Copyright Society of Nigeria, Lagos recently over the leadership of the society.
It came as a surprise to many when it was reported that the board of COSON had taken the mantle of leadership from Tony Okoroji and handed it to Efe Omoroegbe as the new chairman.
But just a few days ago, it was in the news again that Okoroji had been brought back as the COSON chairman by members of COSON, who insisted they didn’t want any other leader apart from Okoroji.
In a chat with Saturday Beats over this latest drama, Okoroji said the process of his initial removal was bizarre.
“I attended an emergency board meeting that called for a specific matter. Suddenly, I was told to step down, with no prior notice, no charges, no hearing, nothing. I understood immediately that a conspiracy had been hatched. It was a coup. I saw some of the people I used to eat and drink with, with bloodshot eyes, desperately trying to find something to hang on my neck! I knew instantly that the coup was sponsored by elements outside of COSON.
“I am sensitive to anything that would destroy COSON or damage the great brand that we have painstakingly built through unbelievable toil. I did not want any controversy around COSON. I did not want COSON to become another PMAN. I do not have an office, cubicle or desk at COSON House which I laboured to build. I had nothing to pack. So, I picked up my laptop and left COSON House without complaining to anyone. My private office at TOPS is not far from COSON House so I went there to work. I did not think it made any sense to show any anger because of what had just happened. I would have given the enemies of COSON underserved pleasure.”
Talking about how he was reinstalled, Okoroji said, “Members of COSON from every corner of the nation met at COSON House. It was a scheduled general meeting which usually holds every year in the last seven years. In the interest of peace, I had decided to stay away from the meeting. I was at work when I received a phone call from one of our most esteemed members, Prof Victor Uwaifo, who told me that he was chairing the meeting and that the members of COSON insisted on seeing me. I tried to argue with him but he was insistent. In our industry, you do not say no to a legend like Sir Victor Uwaifo. So, I went to the COSON House, the first time in 12 days, and found the place overflowing with COSON members. The reception I received will remain in my heart for the rest of my life. I cried.
“I saw people’s power the way I had never seen it in Nigeria. The members were emphatic that they do not recognise or accept any change in the leadership of COSON and resolved that the Board be immediately reconstituted without the persons behind the sad events of December 7. The entire proceeding was captured on video,” he said.
Almost immediately, COSON had to reconstitute its board members with the names of Omoregbe and some others, visibly absent.
“We have reconstituted our board to inject fresh blood into the decision-making process at COSON and to drive the society towards greater achievements in 2018. We now have on the board such well-known names in our industry as Sir Shina Peters, Ras Kimono, Azeezat, KSB, Richard Cole, John Udegbunam and others. These are people who have shown unwavering commitment to the success of the COSON vision. I am very happy that instead of one female, we now have three on our board.”