LAGOS – As part of his contribution towards the awareness and campaign against intellectual property rights, Nigerian Ace Entertainer Tony Okoroji formally launched his book titled;”Copyright, Neighborhood Rights and the new Millionaires” (the twists and turns in Nigeria).
The Launching Tony Okoroji’s book, Copyright, Neighbourhood Rights & the New Millionaires was in so many ways a book launch with a difference. It is safe to say that since 1965 when the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs was built in Victoria Island with British funds, the institute had never witnessed such a bevy of stars. The launch was a fashion show, a beauty pageant, a music concert, an intellectual property seminar and more. It was indeed an entertainment industry carnival.
The stars came from every corner, young and old, and sparkled in their resplendent attires as they walked the bright red carpet stylishly laid at the entrance of the institute’s main auditorium by Okoroji’s TOPS Ltd. Each guest was given a warm reception by the stunningly beautiful girls of the TOPS red carpet, specially selected for what became a unique show.
Among the many Nollywood queens of the screen who stormed the venue dressed to kill were Stella Damasus Nzeribe, Omotola Jelade Ekehinde, Kate Henshaw Nutal, Eucharia Anunobi, Stephnora Falana and Portia Yamahan. As they walked the red carpet, the paparazzi exploded thousands of light bulbs to record the occasion for all times. Their male counterparts and the powers behind the big movies such Bob Manuel Udokwu, Segun Arinze, Saint Obi, Patrick Doyle, Kalu Ikeagwu, Paul Adams, Ruke Amata, Zik Zulu Okafor, Dickson Iroegbu, Sonny McDon, John Njamah, Lancelot Imasuen, Charles Novia, Femi Brainard etc, were not left out of the party. King of Comedy, Ali Baba was there and so was Koffi. Richard Mofe Damijo present not just as a star or as a State Commissioner but as representative of Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan.
Within the music industry, musical legends such as Sir Victor Uwaifo, Christy Essien Igbokwe, Onyeka Onwenu, Ras Kimono, Laolu Akins, Adewale Ayuba also arrived in style with the younger generation of stars like Sammie Okposo, Sunny Neji, Muma Gee, DJ Jimmy Jatt, Yinka Davies, Dekunle Fuji, Lara George, Keffee Obarekee, Segun Obe, Anne Iyang, Felix Duke, Isaac Chinagorom, etc. Even the hitherto warring sides in PMAN seemed to have called a truce in order to honour Chief Tony Okoroji, their former president. Both Tee Mac Iseli and Admiral Dele Abiodun were there in their party best and each of them came with a large retinue of supporters. Odion Iruoje, legendry producer of stars like Manu Debango, Kris Okotie, Sonny Okosun, Ofege, etc was there. Iruoje who is clearly one of the greatest influences on Nigerian pop music over the years had not been seen at public events for years. Niteshift Governor, Ken Calebs Olumese was present. Also present was Chief GAD Tabansi, the scion of the famous Tabansi empire, who came personally to honour Chief Okoroji.
The guru’s and best brains of the intellectual property community were also there in full force. The likes of Prof Egerton Uvieghara, former Chairman of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, Dr Bankole Sodipo, President Intellectual Property Law Association of Nigeria , Mrs. Lorreta Njoku, former Acting Director- General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission were present. The current Director – General of the NCC, Mr. Adebambo Adewopo was represented. So was the former Attorney -General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola. Also present were many top city lawyers such as Mr. Akeem Aponmade, Mr. Innocent Oviegbudia, Mr. Caleb Atolagbe, Mr. Joseph Kur, Mrs. Ifeoma Williams, Mr. Thompson Bielonwu, Mr. Mena Ajakpovi and Mr. Toyin Subair, Chairman and CEO of the fast growing HITV satellite TV network.
The masters of communications, brands and corporate relations also came to express solidarity with the man behind the NMA, Nigeria’s best known entertainment brand. At the venue were the likes of Mr. Charles Otudor, branding wiz kid and CEO of Adstrat Ltd, Mr. Yinka Akande, Etisalat’s Director of Communications, Mr. Sampson Oloche, Star Lager brand Manager from NB Plc, Mr. Ehi Braimah, CEO of Neo Media, Mr. Felix Ideh, UBA’s Divisional Head, Brand management and a team of Communication Officers from Globacom made up of Amaechi Okobi, Celestine Amucha and Ugolee Emmanuel.
Computer guru and chairman of Zinox Technologies, Chief Leo-Stan Eke who was chairman of the Red Carpet Launch, held the audience spell bound as he recounted his personal experiences in Nigeria. Chief Eke concluded that Intellectual property is the future of the Nigerian economy and provides the greatest assurance that the son of the poor in Nigeria will become rich without stealing. He commended Chief Okoroji, whom he described as a man of style, for the ground breaking book.
Former information Minister, Prince Tony Momoh who presented the book amidst a lot of fanfare said that the book could not have come at a better time. He said that he was not surprised at the quality of the book as he had identified Tony Okoroji’s promise and ‘stubbornness’ from when Okoroji was 17 years old He recommended that the book be used as text material in institutions of higher learning across the country.
Others who spoke at the launch which had the character of an intricately planned show, were the group CEO of UBA Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu who was represented by the bank’s Director, Group Marketing & Corporate Relations, Mr. Martin Anyanwu. Both Mr. Emeka Mba, Director-General of the National Film & Video Censors Board and Mr. Saemund Fiskvik, a member of the Board of Norcode, the Norwegian Copyright Development Association pleaded with the country to do more to protect intellectual property rights.
The audience which included the likes of former Aviation Minister AVM Anthony Okpere , former Presidential Adviser, Senator Florence Ita Giwa, Sir Polly Chuma Ubechu, CEO of Cenoux Logistics, Okoroji’s wife, Queen and members of his family, was treated to first class entertainment by choice performers like Yinka Davies and Dizzy K. Falola who flew in from London to pay respect to the man who as he told the audience, housed him for three years and turned him into a success after his family had sent him away from home because of his decision to play music. The event was masterfully conducted by comperes, Iretiola Doyle and Etoma Edu.
The stars were later treated to mouth watering cocktails at the foyer of the NIIA as a thousand more flash bulbs exploded to mark a never to be forgotten event held on a Tuesday afternoon in Lagos. At the end of the day, one thing was made clear: Tony Okoroji remains one of Nigeria’s greatest crowd pullers.
By Uche Onunkwo. Photos by Bode Apalara in Nigeria for Trendy Africa. Trendy Africa is a Multi Media Production Company based in Texas and are Publishers of Trendy Africa Magazine, Trendy Africa Fashion Xtra and www.trendyafrica.com