Pretty Okafor of the famous defunct duo group, Junior and Pretty recently emerged as the interim president of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, PMAN.
The former singer and entertainment entrepreneur was declared interim president of the music body recently by Justice A. O. Abang of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos.
In this interview with Isaac Oguntoye, he analysed the challenges that has been thwarting the success of the association.
In the next 18 month, PMAN is putting out new executives, are you interested in contesting?
I really do not know right now because I have a lot of work in my head but, I found out that PMAN does not have anything, no structure, no building, no staff, and no equipment to work with. I’m starting afresh and I’m sure that by the time I’m done, I won’t be interested in doing any other stuff because I just want to put the structure in place and get out.
What is the important of the court judgement to the Nigerian Music industry?
The importance of this judgement is that there is a future for the music industry. We are moving forward and artistes can actually something to go home with after dropping an album, and that after 15 to 20 years, they will still be receiving royalty.
Like you rightly talked about putting the right structure in place, how can you achieve this when the association does not have a permanent secretariat?
Right now, we are operating from my personal office and that’s why I said I’m linking it up. We are actually using my office as the main secretariat until PMAN gets its own building. And that’s why under two months I have been able to put all the consultants together. Though I’ve been putting structures, talking to people and bringing partners in before I got the news that I’ve been declared the new President but, everything started materializing after the court’s judgement.
How are you sure that your own committee will bring an end to the crisis within the industry?
I’m sure of myself because I don’t double deal and I work strictly with the book. The book we have is the constitution. Like I mentioned; I found out from investigation that the problem that we have been having in the union is that people do not follow the constitution- once you set the constitution aside then, you are inviting problem. I will work strictly with the constitution. I will appreciate all other states’ chapter chairmen because they are also there to work.
Is this the only constitution that binds all PMAN together?
Should we say the judgement is the driving force for you?
Yes, without the court’s judgement, there would have been problem. If you do anything outside the court judgement, that’s contempt of court which means you’re liable to be arrested.
You said you met with the other factions of PMAN but you didn’t tell us the outcome?
The sincere truth about the court’s judgement is that, it has only nullified any past existing government. So what are we dragging? The only thing that I did was to bring everybody together and find out how much they’ve spent and how to move forward so that everybody will be on a good note because, the sincere truth is that, It is not really about the court’s judgement but the industry. It’s about the artistes and we are doing all this for the betterment of both the artistes and the industry.
Most people will ask the Interim President has to be you because they don’t think you’re qualified.
Yes that’s true because I was informed of how efforts were made to get some of our reputable members to come and head the Executive to no avail. Every other person was scared of getting involved for fear of being embroiled in unnecessary controversies for which the Union has been known in recent times.
I went further to investigate other groups claiming leadership of the union only to find out that they do not have any legal bases or locus standing as they call it in law and therefore, are not legitimate enough to stand against this consent judgement.
The two warring groups within PMAN that eventually collapsed into one and got this consent judgement after working out the “terms of settlement upon which the court gave its seal, had been in legal battle since 2011 preceding any other subsisting case in that respect.
It now dawned on me that if nobody can bail the cat, I should do so. After all, evil can only thrive when good men like us refuse to act hence, I accepted. Having said all that, I sincerely want to make it clear to all and sundry that this Interim Executive/ Caretaker Committee is standing on a sound legal footing, so, no shaking! As contained in the court order that established us, anybody, group or organisation in possession of any property, document, or document of title belonging to PMAN should surrender same to this Executive without delay. I want to use this opportunity to humbly appeal that if you know you are in possession of any item belonging to PMAN, please surrender it now to avoid embarrassment as we shall leave no stone unturned to recover what belongs to the Association in that regard. But if you go on appeal and reverse the order that we have, we shall obey that order accordingly because we are law abiding and peace loving people. But until such a time, we urge and invite all peace-loving and progressive PMAN members to join us to work for the Union’s revival.
What is PMAN’s anti-piracy initiative all about?
We recognize the constraints of the Nigerian system. Ordinarily, government should be in the position to fully capture the immense economic power of entertainment in its plan for Nigeria’s economic transformation.
A sound and vigorous national anti-piracy drive, complete with reliable and enforceable laws, would naturally emerge from such a disposition. ‘Heaven helps those who help themselves’ is an axiom that PMAN has always fallen back on to confront pirates.
This time around, our approach is more civil, sociological broader and technologically up-to-date. When we say our latest approach is more civil, we simply mean that it is hinged on sustained and comprehensive dialogue with all relevant operators in the business enclave, including pirates themselves.
You mention Alaba market, what is the relationship between PMAN and ALABA MARKET?
The outcomes of our series of meetings with Alaba International Market based music business operators have been very, very robust and impressive!
The prominent ones among them have resolved to fully cooperate with us to put the piracy problem in check. We appreciate the patience they exercised in our efforts to make them understand the importance and higher future profitability of aligning with our plan. We reckoned that the pirate replication and distribution networks can be legitimatised and used to seed the emergence of a world-class national distribution chain in Nigeria. Our latest anti-piracy agenda will be operated as Media Distribution Network (MDN). It has the following features:
Definition and maintenance of systematic nation-wide product, distribution route for accountability. Standardization of product packaging in terms of size and of material. Compulsory GSI bar-coding of products for tracking purposes. National and international distribution control.
*this was published in the Daily Times dated Tuesday, December 23, 2014