I had never witnessed such pride, joy and celebration in my several decades on earth.
Two days ago, the musicians of Nigeria from every nook and cranny of the country met in Ikeja. They came for the seventh Annual General Meeting of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) of which I am the Chairman.
After the meeting, the hundreds of musicians trekked about 300 hundred meters. As they walked and sang, they were a spectacle to behold, some with their wild dreadlocks and some others in very colourful outfits.
The walk was to 41, Oluwaleimu Street, almost equidistant from the Ikeja main streets of the popular Allen Avenue, Toyin Street and Obafemi Awolowo Way.
At 41 Oluwaleimu Street is located the sparkling new COSON House, the first edifice of its kind owned by the musicians of Nigeria or indeed by any association, union, club or group in the Nigerian creative sector.
I had never witnessed such pride, joy and celebration in my several decades on earth. There were adulations and songs of praise in practically every language in the country.
The wild dance of one old female singer from Kwara State will remain in my mind for the rest of my life. One reggae artiste held on to the wall of COSON House as if he was in a trance or a dream and was afraid that he would wake up and COSON House would have melted away.
No, COSON House is not a dream. It is reality. It is proof that our nation is not jinxed and that when we put our minds to it, we can achieve anything. I don’t want to bore you with the many traps and obstacles on the way to achieving this dream.
There are those who think that I am a micro manager. They may not be wrong. I learnt some time ago that in this part of the world, if you want anything done very well, you either do it yourself or you supervise it very closely. I have been at the COSON House site practically every day since the reconstruction of what was a very old building began about four months ago.
I have participated in the laying of every block, the placing of every tile, the construction of the new roof, the pulling of the hundreds of meters of cables that provide the veins and arteries that power the air conditioning system, the cute audio system, the projection platforms, the mood lights in the Arena and the different hi-tech installations at COSON House. I have spent many hours on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays keeping to the promise I made to my colleagues.
Some might say that I have been obsessed by the project. Correct. The emotions I saw expressed two days ago prove to me that I was right to be obsessed by COSON House. No one can look at COSON House and consider the people who own in as the dregs of the society as artistes used to be considered. In case you do not know, stakeholders in the Nigerian music industry own COSON House without a grant, without a loan and without owing anybody one penny.
As the stars of Nigeria gather today to formally commission COSON House, share cocktails and dance at the COSON House Arena, I want to thank my colleagues on the COSON Board and Management for sharing this dream and making the sacrifice that has made the dream a reality.
Our nation has an amazing array of talents that just need to be inspired to do awesome things. I met quite a number of them on the COSON House project.
I can say without equivocation that without the 100% passion and commitment of Uche Joseph who coordinated the construction and burnt endless man hours on site to deliver COSON House in record breaking time, the dream would have remained a dream.
On the COSON House site, I met an incredibly young and inspiring mason called Hazeez who works very long hours and always with a smile and never complaining about the many changes in concept and the endless reconstruction he is asked to do.
I met also Abiola the young tile man, one of the best I have seen anywhere. I also have become friends with Chukwudi whose wizardry with the electric circuit is amazing. His team of Tunde, Laolu and Samuel have joined my extended family.
One of my favourite teams on site was the P.O.P. team of Sunday, John and Bernard, all 17 years old or thereabout with a craft level and work ethic that are out of this world. Their team leader, Ifeoma Ariwaodo, always with a smile and doing easily what many men cannot do, was an amazing source of inspiration on site. Her younger brother Hilary provided huge support.
I have known Aladave for a long time. He is easily my best lighting man in the country. I have worked with Aladave on many events. He has never let me down. Both as a professional and as a man, he is as solid as a rock. Aladave designed and installed the lights at the COSON House Arena. This time, Aladave outdid himself!
At the COSON House Arena, you hear the sound pump but you practically do not see where it is coming from. Who made that happen? That is the result of the wizardry of another young Nigerian that goes by the crazy name, Milly X.
The unique theme of colours at COSON House is the handwork of my guy Ade known to many as Michael Power. Michael Power is really an auto painter but when I need a unique theme on a building, I dial the number of Michael Power
I have told everyone in the team, plumbers, carpenters, painters, cleaners, cladding men, Internet installers, etc that they should come with their dancing shoes today. After the official commissioning, we will have an after party at the COSON House Arena.
After all, they built it.
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