“I am glad to report that I have fulfilled the pledge I made to the Entertainment Industry last year. The Federal Government has released $200 million to the Bank of Industry to be accessed by practitioners in the entertainment industry at a single digit interest rate and arrangements have been made with The Lagos Business School to provide entrepreneurial capacity training for beneficiaries of the Fund” — GEJ Facebook status on Wednesday, 8th February, 2011.

Eldee, Ksb, Tony Okoroji and Banky w

The promise made on the 6th of November, 2010, by the president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the 30th anniversary of the Silverbird Group anniversary, has been fulfilled. GEJ announced at the high profile function that the Federal Government of Nigeria would release $200m to the Nigerian entertainment industry. Three months after, GEJ makes good his word shocking all who had peddled the promise as another political statement. And even though some allege that more than half of the money was contributed by the World Bank to Nigeria’s entertainment industry leaving the Federal Government to come up with the remaining half, releasing the $200m for access has turned out to be the lesser half of the industry’s problem. As a matter of fact it has helped expose if not heighten the extent of disconnect and maybe rivalry that exists between the old and new generations of musicians.

The past few weeks has been marred with editorials and counter-editorials by both watchers and players of the Nigerian music industry. Apart from the Oshogbo disaster where younger artistes led by ex-PMAN president, Tony Okoroji, picketed a PMAN delegates’conference, wanting to be a part of elections into a body they aren’t legal members of, a lot more drama has unfolded.

On January 31st, dozens of propagators of ‘New Nigerian music’ in the likes of eLDee, KSB, MI, Sound Sultan, ID Cabasa, Ed Jato, Jude Okoye, D’banj, Ruggedman, Weird MC, Blaise, J-Martins, Kaffy, Azadus, Dr Sid, Kaha, and a lot more others converged at The Place in Ikeja, Lagos to form a music body to cater for their needs. At the end of the meeting lasting hours, an interim board of executives were appointed. This included eLDee, KSB, MI, Jude Okoye, ed Jatto, Sunny Nneji and a few others. The same set of intending contestants in the Oshogbo PMAN elections the previous week. It was based on the refusal that scribe Banky W took to his blog, writing a castigating opinion about PMAN quoting Benjamin Franklin: “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished”. At the end of his piece, he urged PMAN to ‘keep the change’.

Writer Chris Ihidero followed up on Banky’s piece pegging the forwardness of the generation at Tony Okoroji’s prompting while raising other questions. Talent manager, Efe Omorogbe attempted an answer before Tony Okoroji responded to Chris, pleading guilty to conniving with the younger ones to the end of fulfilling their dreams and ultimately uniting all Nigerian artistes under an agreeable functioning body.

With the crop of intelligence that names like eLDee and Banky among others are known to possess, it is unbelievable that they embarked on the Oshogbo trip in the first place. That they ever conceived that the Dele Abioduns would concede power to them, to head a body they have never been part of is preposterous. Truly PMAN should cater for Performing musicians and their employers’ but how many of the revolting artistes are performers. Don’t many of them only record in studios and mime or lip-synch on stage? There’s still the question of legality. Which of all the ‘New Nigerian music’ propagators are card carrying members of PMAN? (Apart from Efe Omorogbe, that is). Do they know where the state chapter offices are? Did they ever attempt picking up membership form with PMAN? So why the cry of incompetence if they never tried to contribute legally? Do you need to be in power to make change? Imagine if the men and ladies had besieged the Lagos PMAN office in their numbers and requested for forms to enable legal participation in the union, wouldn’t that had made more sense? Plus if this set of people had made the ‘take-over’ move before the FG’s aid, it would be difficult for the ‘elders’ or anyone to think they had ulterior reasons.

I conclude this matter by saying that in spite of all the noble intentions these young men (and women) had and have, they put the cart before the horse in the Osogbo matter. PMAN is only mandated to cater for its members. And unless you are a member, you do not have the legal right to complain talk less vie for power. If the Union is dying and you feel so passionately for it, strongly desirous of a change, channel your passion legally. And if you think forming a rival body is the next best alternative, how else do you convince the people that you are not just power-hungry? Time will tell. We wait.

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