Alex Ozone is the Chief Executive Officer O3media. With B.Sc. in Business Administration, Ozone is believed to be the engine room of most successful Nigerian artistes. In this interview with Daily Times, the talent manager who is targeting to work with more artistes reveals the story of his success, the entertainment industry, challenges and what the government needs to do.
You have been away with some artistes on Euro tour, how did it go and what
was the experience like for you?
Euro tour is what we‘ve been doing for the past six years or so; and just as I was saying, passion is our driving force.
I think it all started when I traveled to Europe with Terry G; and while there I found out that some people were doing this thing but were doing it wrongly. I found out that many of the so- called promoters were deceiving and promising Nigerian artistes that they were going to do this and that but at the end they will do nothing. They will take the artist to Europe and the moment they got there the story will change, they will not provide anything. Then, I said to myself that though the task seems to be very difficult, but I would make a difference, and that is what we have been able to achieve for these years.
Part of my game plan was to avoid looking at what to gain or loss. but at the positive result, though we are not totally there yet but looking back at where we were then and where we are now, it is safe to say that we have succeeded. Part of the positive changes we have made so far is positively projecting the image of Nigeria and Africa to the outside world through entertainment.
I was the first promoter to take Davido on foreign tour, and from there people began to pick more interest, because, then, no one really want to pick interest in the Nigerian culture and music. But the moment the guys over there saw the progress we were making with what we were doing, they began to pick interest. Though some other guys were there even before us doing it, they were not doing it the way it should because they didn’t have this connectivity with the Nigerian artistes as we have. One of my success secrets is that I know the basic problem of the average Nigerian youth; and these artistes you see are good examples of the Nigerian youth, I understand them very well because, I have been there; and I am still there as one of the them; so, I know how to tackle their problem. I know how to put them through; and along the line, we manage to build a strong bond to achieve positive result I talked about earlier.
How many countries and cities did your artistes perform on the tour?
We toured 12 countries and about 18 cities. I don’t know if I can be able to mention all the countries and cities off hand, but I can remember Czech Republic because it’s more like my base, Austria. We did about three cities in Austria, two cities in Germany, two cities in Italy, we did Paris, we did two cities in Norway, two cities in Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Malta, and so on. I must also mention that from Tekno, Skales to Patoranking history has been made regarding Nigerian or African artistes performing in major cities in Europe in terms of big turnout of fans. It’s indeed a new face for the Nigerian and African music.
Looking at the general society and the polity, what do you think about it?
O3media your dream?
My brother nothing is working in this country I won’t tell you lies. In fact, Nigeria feeds me with pain and sorrow whenever I come back into this country. Right from the airport, nothing is really working here. Hunger everywhere, suffering everywhere, anguish, pain and frustration all over the place. It’s no longer funny, they promised us change, but the way it appears now it seems we are now in chains. It is even so funny that nobody is talking about this, we all travel outside this country, we see how things are being done over there, but rather than come back and do what is right to help our people, we will do the opposite. They promised us change and nobody is asking questions, what is happening to the change?. Is this the change they promised us? What is happening? Why is no one asking questions? No electricity, no food, no job, nothing and everyone pretends as though all is well. The cases of suicide and suicide attempt in Nigeria is becoming so alarming. How did we get ourselves to this position? Why is no one talking? Why is it that anytime I want to come back to Nigeria I always feel agitated? The answer is simple, it is because I know what I would be coming back to face. I know the kind of suffering and frustration I would be coming back into.
Do you think the poor health condition of President Muhammadu Buhari is part of the reason things are not working?
The president’s health has got nothing to do with what is going on in Nigeria because it has always been like this. The president is just an individual, he has his cabinet and runs the affairs of the country through these cabinet members, so the president illness does not stop his ministers from working.
Must the country be grounded because Mr. President is sick? Don’t we have Acting President again? Don’t we have ministers? Are they all sick as well? The problem is not the health of Mr. President. The problem is actually those who are working with Mr. President. Take for example, I have been away for some time now in Europe and my office is still functioning. That is made possible because I put capable hands in place. We Nigerians need to start thinking outside the box because these so called politicians are like wolves, the only thing they think about is how to feed themselves and their families and how to make themselves comfortable. I even feel pity for some youths out there who are killing themselves and destroying the little they have because of these politicians who doesn’t care about them. Look, these people only care about themselves, check out the recent the wedding ceremony of the daughter of former head of state, Ibrahim Babangida, all these people both from the north, south, east and west, they all gathered, they were all smiling as they merry but the poor masses were shut out because that place is not for the poor. Look, we must do something, we must say enough is enough. Buhari is not the issue here unless we want to deceive ourselves. Anyone can fall sick, I can for sick and my office will still be running because everybody have got their jobs to do, everyone has got their role to play.
Based on what you have just said, are you by any means trying to say
that those Mr. President have chosen to help him run the affairs of the country are not capable of doing the job?
They are all capable but they don’t want to do the job, they are selfish. They always want to blame someone else for their failure. You have to own up to your responsibility, that way you can be able to evaluate your progress. Minister of power must own up to his responsibility, the minister of Agriculture must own up to his responsibility, minister of Sports must own up to his responsibility and so on.
The reason the previous person was removed and you put in that place is for things to change and work for better. Not for you to come back to us every now and then with excuse of how the previous man did not do it therefore the thing cannot be done. So why are you there? If the previous man had done it then there wouldn’t have been a reason to change him. Minister of works must make sure that the roads are in order, minister of agriculture must make sure there is food, minister of power have to make sure there is electricity. That is why they are there, they are not there to be giving us excuses or blame another person for their failure. You don’t blame your predecessor for your failure. Because your predecessor failed doesn’t mean you must fail too
Recently, you posted a picture and a video clip of you and former President
Olusegun Obasanjo in a flight, what is your connection and relationship with the former Nigerian leader?
You see, I actually wanted to pass a message particularly to the Nigerian youth through that my little encounter with Chief Obasanjo, I used the term ‘little’ because it wasn’t a major. As an aspiring entrepreneur, as an artist, as a young person, whoever you are, whatever you want to do or be, they say opportunity comes but once. So when you see an opportunity don’t fail to grab it no matter the obstacle might be.
Why did you do that?
What I did there was to pass a message to our youths to take a good advantage of the opportunities that come their ways no matter what. No matter who the person is, if you feel he is who you really desire to meet, please go ahead, he may bless you, he may cures you, but the most important thing is play your own part which is to take the bold step to approach him, and also be ready and willing to accept whatever the outcome of that your step is.
But most importantly, never fail to clear your conscience because if you don’t, one day you might look back and regret not taking those chances.
Meeting Obasanjo for me was an ordinary thing because it was not actually major, it was not planned. We were just on the same flight returning to Nigeria. When I saw him I observed that no one was going to meet him or exchange pleasantries probably they were scared or something. Though initially I was like, what is baba doing here? Because, ordinarily, he was supposed to be rolling with a private jet as former president.
So, I got up from my seat and approached him. When I got to him I simply said, ‘Baba o’; and he said, ‘’how are you’’? I responded and introduced myself as Alex Ozone of O3 Media, from there we started talking. Obasanjo I must say is really a nice and jovial person. In the course of our discussion he asked me what I do. I told him that I am into entertainment business, and that I was coming back from European tour with my artist. It was a very nice and pleasant experience for all us on the flight.
Have you tried to contact or approach him for any favors since you came back?
Not really. I am also important in my own right, so, when I need baba I will reach out to him, but for now, I will not want to abuse the privilege he gave me by calling him unnecessarily. I survive through myself, I hustle, I work hard for myself, for my family, for the Nigerian youth, and for the general society. I help push and positively project the image of Nigeria to the outside world through my work.
Based on that experience with Obasanjo, what would you like the youths
to learn from it?
My message to everybody out there, not just the youths, though the youths are my primary constituency, is that they must believe in themselves. Self confidence leads to so many good things in life.
You must believe that nobody is better than you, you must believe that nobody is bigger than you, you must believe that you can achieve whatever you set out to achieve.