Chief Tony Okoroji
Abba Johnson Crescent in the Adeniyi Jones area of Lagos State, where Kulture Yard is located, will be on lockdown on the 27th of October 2023. On that day, the stars of the Nigerian Creative Industry will roll out the red carpet and in a very special way, celebrate a master of the industry, Chief Tony Okoroji, a man who, year after year, has provided consistent and unmatched leadership towards the building of what is today known as the Nigerian creative industry.
Wrote Amb Felix Duke, President of the Creative Industry Group (CIG), to Chief Tony Okoroji, in a letter officially conveying the development: “With your antecedent as a front runner in the Nigerian creative industry, your tenacity and innovations that have impacted millions in the country, we wish to humbly announce that you are being celebrated for your distinguished contributions over the decades, especially and most notably in the Nigerian music industry . We also want to present an Award to you on the night”.
Chief Tony Okoroji who is today Chairman of the Board of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Nigeria’s biggest copyright collective management organization, was 29 years old when he was elected National President of Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN). He went on to transform the hitherto little-known body into one of the nation’s most powerful professional associations. Chief Okoroji led the team that spread the tentacles of PMAN to every nook and cranny of Nigeria and won national and international respect for Nigerian musicians.
As an activist leader, Tony Okoroji mounted an unrelenting campaign for the review of the nation’s copyright laws, organizing demonstrations across the country which forced the hands of the military government. He was eventually appointed by the Federal Government into the committees that redrafted both the Nigerian Copyright Law and its first amendment. He also led the vanguard for the establishment of the Nigerian Copyright Commission and served twice on the Board of the Commission. Chief Okoroji is today one of Africa’s most respected authorities on Intellectual Property and continues to be an unrelenting voice in the campaign for the rights of creative people across the continent.
A fearless, consistent and unrivalled mover of ideas, Chief Tony Okoroji, the prolific writer and public speaker has written extensively on copyright, presented over one hundred papers on copyright and the entertainment industry. His groundbreaking book, Copyright & the New Millionaires (the twists and turns in Nigeria) published in 2009 has received great acclaim across the world.
Chief Tony Okoroji created, launched and produced the unrivalled Nigerian Music Awards, Africa’s first internationally respected entertainment award event which played host to Heads of State, Ambassadors, Ministers, Governors and stars from all over the world. As a social activist, he has served in many capacities including being a member of the Lagos State Police/Community Relations Committee. Chief Okoroji has been received at the State House by different Nigerian leaders including President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Ibrahim Babangida, for his contributions to national development.
Okoroji was for some years a counsellor to the Norwegian Copyright Development Association (NORCODE), intervening on behalf of NORCODE and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the UN body, in several countries in Africa.
For about 12 years, Chief Tony Okoroji has written the much-followed weekly column, Saturday Breakfast with Tony Okoroji, which is widely syndicated on the Internet.
Reacting to the news of the proposed celebration, a frontline member of the COSON Board said, “this is honour very well deserved and over due. Chief Okoroji is a nationalist per excellence, completely detribalized, brilliant, bold, hard-working and always ready to sacrifice his immense intellect and skills for the good of everyone. I cannot miss the event”.