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Monday , 23 July 2018

Robert Okosun’s Speech to fellow musicians and Artistes in Diaspora

To my fellow artistes, my name is Robert Okosun and I will like to thank God for such a great privilege and opportunity for us being alive and you taking time from your busy schedule to the present with us here at the RANCH. There is this saying from one of the favorite authors, the late Chief Chinua Achebe in one of his great books tilted “things fall apart” and I quote that when families do come together for a purpose, there is this possibility that something is amiss or something is about to happen. It is not a coincidence that we all gathered here, it is been preordained by GOD that we as a family of artistes and musicians will come together under one umbrella. We all gathered here for the main fact that the entertainment industry both here in USA and in Nigeria is not performing and functioning the way it used to be, and I had to speak out due to the plight, struggle and situations that faces our less privilege musicians and artiste that lives across the pond. There situations reminds me of Fela’s song titled “suffering and smiling”. I do personally that God for those of us that are fortunate to live in the US. My brief discussion with some musicians both here and abroad is the subject matter that inspired and motivated me to propose for this meeting. As some of you might have known, I grew up in an entertainment family as far back in the early 70’s with my late brother evangelists Sonny Okosuns.

We grew up in an industry where there was respect, dignity and host of talented musicians, and also a true love for the art. Some of us still do remember the good old days when recording companies like EMI DECCA POLYGRAM and a few local labels like PHONODISCTYC and TABANSI  where owned and operating effectively and responsibly in Nigeria. We had record pressing companies where men like Prince Adeniyi of poatson printing company that does all the record sleeve. Distributions of albums and singles were were well taking care of well across Nigeria and her frontier, and all the mechanism that goes with the industry was at work then. When artiste names like King Sunny Ade, Chief Ebenezer Obey, late Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Late Evg Sonny Okosuns, Late Chief Osita Osadebey, Ms. Dora Ifudu, and Ms Onyeka Onwenu were mentioned, you immediately knew the labels and companies they represent.

In the promotional circle we had men like Chief Chris Okolie who later became the new breed publisher, Mr Vincong and late Mr Black power promotions. Those were the Era when Men like Tony Ibegbuna , J.A.J and Benson Idonije were playing our records on the new FM radio stations across the country, those were the good old days\. I was so fortunate to learn and work with some of the best in the entertainment industry like late Henry Mosco of “country boy fame”. Onyeka Onwenu of “endless life fame”. Yvonne Maha of  “child for sale fame”. Charlie Aka of “poor Charlie Aka fame” and I briefly managed Uche Ibeto, but most importantly I worked with my late brother the legendary Evg Sonny Okosun’s with some of his albums both here and abroad.

I say all this is not as a badge of honor or being pride full about it, but to but mindful I have all the credentials to speak on issues concerning the Nigeria music industry. As of this moment it is not about you and I but about the industry and its legacy. PMAN that was formed in the early 80’s to cater to the plight and needs of Nigeria artiste has gone into factions and not catering to the yearn of musicians and artist. Some months ago I decided to take a trip to Nigerian with my family on a fact finding working vacation to Lagos. It was then I met the new PMAN president Mr. Pretty Okafor for the first time who happens to be a straight shooter and a man of high quality and integrity. And from our long discussions I came to the realization that this gentleman knows a lot about the music industry, and as I walked away from his office I knew that PMAN coming together under one umbrella is bound to succeed.

I personally pray that from all I see and observe, hopefully everything in place the Nigerian musician will be proud of their profession, and that is my personal opinion. In as much as our music sounds great with good beats and meaningful lyrics, unfortunately here in America there has not been adequate airplay on tv and radio stations, but most especially a lack of distribution network has hindered the sales and impact of our music.

The task of building and sustaining our music industry here and abroad is not the duty of government agencies alone but required the active participation of every one of us. I mean a spirit of oneness. My fellow artiste and musician this is not the time to follow who is right or wrong but do the right thing. It is true that a picture can say a million words, but it is also a fact that the same picture can capture the essence of a person, so what does our picture say about us?  So ladies and gentlemen let’s busy and the good LORD gives us the strength to overcome as we walk in unity and love towards HIS divine connection.

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