The Copyright Society of Nigeria, COSON, appears to be suffering huge international losses as the body is witnessing an unprecedented exodus of its members. In solidarity of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC)’s decision to conduct a forensic audit of COSON, key individual and corporate members have reportedly begun to withdraw their rights from COSON as international representatives.
The long list of members who said to have withdrawn their rights to representation includes Omawumi, Sound Sultan, Baba Dee, 2Baba, Ill Bliss, Terry G, Chocolate City, Charlimo, Boniface Itodo, M Trill as well as Green Light Music Publishing (representing the catalogues of the likes of Del B, Tee Y Mix, Fliptyce, Blaqjerzee, Puffy Tee, Sess, Chopstix, OJB Jezreel, DJ Klem, HOD and Tony Ross.
Laolu Akins, Gospel Choral Music, Junior & Pretty, Sunny Neji, Ruggedman, Zaaki Azaay, S K Sensation, Asha Gangali, Efe Omorogbe, Storm/Cabal, Hypertek Digital/960 Music, Now Muzik, G & A Publishing and all members of Music Publishers Association of Nigeria (MPAN) have also shown their support of NCC’s audit decision by revoking their rights also. And according to reports, this list should get longer as the day goes by.
In fact, big players like Olamide and The Plug (representing Davido and Mayorkun) have pulled out of the body altogether.
For years now, COSON under the leadership of Chief Tony Okoroji has been reportedly pitted by its board members for an audit by the NCC. This pressure for an audit exacerbated just a few months ago when MPAN, the single largest body of copyright owners of musical works in Nigeria, joined the call; securing many signatures of several music industry heavyweights in support of the call and for a petition to the NCC.
Due to the snowballing pressure, The NCC finally yielded and commissioned the multinational and reputable accounting firm, Messrs. KPMG to conduct a forensic audit of all collecting societies including COSON.
However, unlike other collecting societies Chief Tony Okoroji, refusing to cooperate with the auditor as has ushered COSON into what could be described as an all-out war with the NCC; including publicly disparaging the NCC.
“I don’t know what has become of COSON. Why is COSON under Okoroji so determined to resist the audit? Yes, we called for the audit because we strongly suspected that certain things were wrong, especially since the finance committee was surprisingly put aside… maybe because we were asking questions, but this is too much…is COSON trying to confirm to the whole world that there is something to hide? For me, this is just shameful,” says Mr Ajayi, a longtime leader of the finance committee and one of the key pro-audit voices.
Members of the COSON Reps visited the PGM Radio Show last year to discuss this issue among many others. Check it out here.