Says BON will lose the Battle
PA Chris Ajilo is a man that has paid his dues when it comes to music. At his age, he is not afraid to say the truth no matter whose ox is goad. In this interview with our Emmanuel Thomas, the highlife maestro attributed the recent logjam between the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) with Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) and Independent Broadcasting Association of Nigeria (IBAN) to corruption. He believes that it is unreasonable for BON to shut out some of the best of Nigerian musicians from airplay and that most of the problem confronting copyright as it relates to payment of royalties is ignorance on the part of lawyers, judges and greed among members of BON. Excerpts.
I have forgotten your name sir
My name has not changed, it is still the same, I am still Chris Ajilo
How is life in retirement?
I am not retired, I am still on my feet, the only people who are retiring are those who are dead and as long as I am still alive, God has not retired me.
So what have you been doing?
Me, I have been doing what I have been doing best, that is music.
Are we expecting something new from you?
I don’t know, I play on my own; I do my practice all the time.
How do we get out of this logjam between COSON, IBAN and BON?
Look Nigeria is full of corruption, it is all corruption, it is only when we realise that corruption does not pay that things will be better, because BON knows, when I was general manager of Performing and Mechanical Rights Society (PMRS), I have been to BON convention, twice, they know. This station, Radio Lagos is the only station that was paying royalties, they started by paying N1.5 million but when I left they stopped because others were not paying because BON is behind it all. Now they have IBAN, who is IBAN. Are they not presenters, who took over from the lazy people they have in the radio industry. All they are after is money, they give the presenter airtime and they go out and look for business and pocket it. They make their money that way, they advertise themselves on radio all over the place and what happened? They are now big boys, so what they do is to assist BON to carry on that they are doing, saying that COSON is trying to make money from nothing, saying who is paying for copyright, where is the money to pay for copyright? It is all rubbish; it is all rubbish to ban all musicians from airplay.
What can we do?
One is vigorous enlightenment, not only those on top because those on top know what is happening but the general public must know what is called copyright; that is the only way that we can fight and win them, the law is there but how many lawyers know about copyright ? How many of them can go to court and defend copyright cases, how many in the house of parliament know something about copyright, how many judges know about copyright? If I have a case now and I bring a case before the judge, how can they prove that I am entitled to copyright when there is no lawyer to assist you because they themselves do not know what they call copyright, this is the problem we have and as long as corruption is taking the lead in everything we do in this country, I know one day will be one day.
How do we get out of the impasse?
As far as I am concerned there is no end in what they are trying to do and they cannot win, I believe that. COSON can stop them from even playing foreign music in this country because COSON belongs to copyright societies all over the world. So what are we saying but because we are not enlightened, they keep on telling us stories that is the problem.
Which means that BON is fighting a lost battle?
Of course they are, they are fighting a lost battle. They can’t win?
Your advice for them?
Me advise BON, they should all go to blazes, all of them should go to blazes. They should go to blazes and bring in people who understand. They are fighting for themselves for individual radio stations, they are making it and they don’t want to pay for the work of the artistes they are using, it is all rubbish, it will end one day.