All in One Place: The Limericks of December

The Centennary

Luggard and his Flora took aim

And whimsically gave us a name

A century gone

‘thout even a song

But now we revel in the same

 

Politics

There once was a governor who wept

It seems funds were sloshed as he slept

The pictures depict

All schools derelict

His aides must be really adept

 

The quest to be pragmatic

Makes questions automatic

When brooms kiss brollies,

Chickens, (follies!)

The future’s problematic

 

See how it’s now different here

So much so, it’s totally clear

That PDP rage

Is now viewed “on stage”

No longer a “family affair”

 

The Senator mannered so mild

Who Stella the Syrian once piled

On heaps of abuse

For culture misuse;

Is blessed again with a girl-child.

 

Operation: Save Akinola

There was a Bishop named Peter

The Anglicans’ old gate-keeper

Got kidnapped in Ogun

Then saved by Amosun

An APC rescue-team leader.

 

A Bishop was kidnapped in Ogun

But before the news could be broken

Commandos swooped in

Rejoice, Bishop’s kin

All hail SWAT Leader Amosun!

 

 

Football

So Suarez is wearing the (c)

Ol’ Rodgers being crafty, is he?

For as we all know

Dear Luis will go

To London or Spain, certainly.

 

Catfish

Dear Friends,let us lay this to rest

This verificational test

Who’s real & who’s not

Who’s only a bot

Whose life is a soupjoint request

 

Hollywood

Beyoncé, she pulled off a coup

Made music & videos too

Spent nothing on hype

And yet, true to type

They’re luvn it, luvn it, oooh!

 

So Khloe’s divorcing Lamar

Another de-conjugalled star

Tis best when you wed

T’keep private your bed

And not live your life in a jar

 

Stella’s Aerotropolis

10 MILLION JOBS, they chorus

And no, don’t say it’s bogus

The latest update

From Aunt ‪#Stellagate

Is the Aerotropolis

 

Chris and the Catholic Church #SaccharineDelights

Fresh Chris our old-time rock star

Has verily lifted the bar

Condemning to Hell

The Catholic swell

He says they are for Lucifer.

Funnies of 2013: My 7

In this season of reflection over the happenings of the past year, it is inevitable that  looking back will leave many regretfully melancholic (grammar!). To help with countering this, I have been asked to draw up a list of my 7 funniest things this year. Here they are, in no particular order –

1. Le Selfie du Dele Momodu

Just before the word “selfie” became the cliché of 2013, our dear egbon put up one of himself with a solitary tear running down his left cheek and got the exact opposite of the public reaction he expected. Granted, seeing one’s billionaire benefactor’s daughter begging for an investment pittance would move most to tears. But for an elder statesman (he ran for president, so, yes) to then selfie-fy the moment? Laughs for days.

2. When Catfish isn’t Point-and-Kill

There was the curious case of the Royal Amebo. I’d seen “her” Twitter handle being engaged with by others but had no personal interactions with “her”. Then she died. Heartfelt eulogies and tributes flowed and digital rivers of digital tears were shed.  She even had a fiancé. Then it emerged no ne of the eulogisers had ever met her, including said fiancé. They’d been catfished. My question is, who announced her demise? The schadenfreude (with regard to the chief mourner) and epiphanies that followed were epic.

3. Signs and Wonders

Mandela died, but not like Royal Amebo. He really died. And they got a sign language person to help viewers with hearing impediments follow proceedings at his funeral. I suppose they realised something was amiss when, during Barack Obama’s speech, the man signed “Mandela. Catfish. Obama was born in Kenya.” When it all blows over, he will probably enjoy his three months of fame, like the African fella who went for a job interview at the BBC and ended up on their international broadcast, mistaken for a policy expert. Chuckles.

4. More Signs and Wonders

In the year of our Lord 2013, Manchester United fans found their objective bone. Fergie retired and took all their noise and rambunctiousness with him. As the disappointing results piled up, United fans grew introspective, objective and almost fatalistic, even.  Moyes may have started winning  and winning the united faithful over but for at least four months this year, the world was blessed with humble and objective Reds. God bless David Moyes.

5. I am not a Tribalist

Femi Fani-Kayode, former PDP stalwart, now of the APC, had a prolific year, churning out essays with verve and gusto. Fancying himself a Galahad of the Yoruba people, many of his essays were written with, at the very least, a pro-Yoruba slant. When accused of being tribal in outlook, he denied vehemently, listing amongst other “proof”, 3 Igbo women that he had had “long and intimate” relations with. He then expressed utter shock and disgust when the consensus amongst readers of his trilogy of essays was that he meant, well, long and, uhm, intimate (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). Hehehe.

6. Oga At the Top

In a year of memes, the one that stood out the most and has endured the longest in speech and popular culture references was the one inspired by Agent Shem of the National Strategic Commandoes Directorate of Commandoes (the NSCDC). On telly to discuss a scam recruitment website for the agency, he insisted, when pressed, that he would not be able to disclose the authentic website. Huh? Why the hell you on national telly, then? The fantastic civil servant that he is, he ascribed all websittical glory to his “Oga at the Top” before telling us that the current [but perhaps not yet authentic recruitment] site was “ww dot nscdc…dazzall!”

7. Character and Vehicular Assassinations

Honourable Dino Melaye and Aviation Minister Princess Stella Odua were extremely fortunate this year. In the middle of scandals and crises, some God-forsaken elements now attempted to kill them with magical bullets. At least that is the inference to be drawn when the police claim (in Stella’s case) that the non-bulletproof, non-BMW car, not carrying her at the time it was attacked (48 hours after the attempt took place, during which period the incident was not reported to the police), was riddled with bullet holes and yet they were only able to recover “a spherical metallic object” for further forensic analysis. And in Dino’s case, the police said they found no evidence. I hereby call on Minister of Trade, Olusegun Aganga, to ban the importation of real bullets to protect our nascent magical bullet industry.

Have a happy and prosperous 2014, everyone.

Fictions of Factions

The word “faction” has probably never had greater prominence, in Nigerian political history, than now. Its meaning, its existence and/or non-existence will be key factors in the impending political crinkum-crankum of 2014-15. APC’s current momentum, given added by impetus by the defection of all manner of PDP politicians into its fold, can be brought to a grinding halt if the courts uphold the PDP’s contention that defecting legislators should be stripped of their political office.

I have already suggested here, that the legislators’ seats ought to be safe. The premise of my argument was that the law permits defecting lawmakers to retain their seats if their original party is factionalised. There is a supporting judgement of the Supreme Court that states that the Electoral Commission’s refusal to register the faction will not lead to the removal from office of the defecting lawmaker.

However, the PDP insists that there is a subsisting judgement that says that there are no factions in the PDP. I dispute this, for the reasons stated hereafter, and ask anyone with a certified copy of that court ruling to please share it with us. The reasons that I do not believe that it was the dictum of the court that “there are no factions in the PDP” are as follows:

  1. The court’s ruling was not reported in any newspaper to be about whether a faction existed or not – it was about who the lawful leaders of the Party are/were. ThisDay reports that it was the splinter group that went to court to restrain Bamanga Tukur and the rest of his executive committee to stop parading themselves as the PDP executive. A further report, of a subsequent suit (as the initial one was struck out) can be found here; and
  2. It is customary for judges provide the rationale behind their decisions. Their decisions would be arbitrary, otherwise. Thus, if a court rules that there are no factions in a party, it must state the test or criteria it adopted or created in reaching this determination. No such criteria have been relied upon by the PDP members seeking to rely on the alleged judicial pronouncement that “there are no factions in the PDP”.

One must then ask when can it safely be said that factions exist within a political party? The question is important, as many commentators cite a precedent from last year where a state lawmaker that defected from Labour Party, in Ondo State, lost his seat.  The court upheld the contention that the lawmaker did not prove a division (or faction) within the Labour Party. It is also relevant that in reaching its decision, the court relied on the Supreme Court’s pronouncement in Amaechi v. INEC (2008), that –

“…if it is only a party that canvasses for votes, it follows that it is a party that wins an election. A good or bad candidate may enhance or diminish the prospect of his party in winning, but at the end of the day it is the party that wins or loses an election.”

You may recall that this was the [curious] decision in which a person who did not participate in the gubernatorial elections (after being replaced on the ballot by his party) was declared the winner of the election and ordered to be installed as Governor, as it should have been him on the ballot and “at the end of the day, it is the party that wins or loses an election”.

We should probably note, first of all, that the constitution is superior to even judgements of the Supreme Court and, as such, the first consideration of any court should be whether or not a division exists within the party. Given the events that have taken place from the PDPs special convention until now, I think it is hard to suggest the party is united. A walkout was staged, a parallel executive was elected, the splinter party sought to operationalize a secretariat but was prevented from doing so with state apparatus (police and SSS), the splinter party sought registration at INEC which was declined, both the splinter party and the main party sought orders of court recognising them as the de jure party leaders, etc.

I am acutely aware that it is possible for future defectors to abuse the law, if all that is required to establish a faction (for the purpose of retaining an electoral seat) is staging a walkout and attempting to seize the party’s apparatus. However, this is more the reason why a mere declaration of the absence of factions is useless if we cannot tell, by the same ruling, when one exists. It should certainly not be that any group of individuals (no matter how small their number or insignificant their political clout) can claim “faction”, defect and retain their seats. However, with 6 governors, 1 former vice-president, a list of senators and representatives  (and even state and municipal legislators) that keeps growing, I would strongly suggest that denying the existence of a factionalisation of the PDP would be a fiction. What we need from the judiciary right now (and I’m not sure not only the SANs that will earn the JUMBO fees next year welcome the coming litigation) is further clarity on what constitutes a division within a political party.

BON, COSON and MUSIC-SHUNs: 5 THINGS

It has now been widely reported  that IBAN* and BON** (associations of independent television and radio broadcasters) have chosen, in response to lawsuits by COSON, seeking the payment of royalties for its members, to stop playing the music of COSON-registered artists. Here are a few bits and bobs on collecting societies and royalty payments.

  1. What is a Collecting Society?

A collecting society is an organisation that, as the name suggests, collects royalties income on behalf of its members. What income? Well, you’d have to go back to Copyright 102, on who owns the music, for copyright basics. However, to quickly summarise, the music and the process through which it is made confers exploitable rights on different people. If you’re a busy song writer or a touring singer, the chances are that you cannot track all the stores, radio and tv stations, digital platforms, etc. playing or selling your music. Collecting societies do this for their members. Examples of collecting societies outside Nigeria are The Harry Fox Agency, PRS for Music, ASCAP, NORM, SAMRO and so on. In Nigeria, we have COSON – the Copyright Society of Nigeria. COSON is the collecting society for musical works and sound recordings in Nigeria. What are musical works and sound recordings? See Copyright 101.

2.   Does COSON represent only singers/artists?

In theory, no. I reckon COSON would also argue that it doesn’t just represent singers in practice.  In theory, COSON should represent and indeed holds itself out to represent everyone in the music-making process – singers, writers, instrumentalists, producers and so on. However, the nature of copyright is such that if a producer or instrumentalist was hired and paid a one-off fee for their work, it is deemed a work-for-hire and copyright vests in the employer. Which brings me to the “in theory” part, because in Nigeria,  most singers write their own songs and the producer (hired and paid a one-off fee) sequences the music with software. After Cobhams, not too many others hire session bassists, guitarists, percussionists, etc., unless you’re part of a fuji or highlife band, but you get the drift. If a singer who’s written his own music (or his label), hires a producer (on a one-off fee) who lays the beats, who owns the copyright in the work? The artist? That’s right. But I am more than happy to be corrected if my assessment is wrong.

3.   How do Collecting Societies pay their members?

I’m just going to copy and paste the ASCAP formula . You can find the breakdown and explanation on their webpage, here.

Use Weight  X  Licensee Weight  X   “Follow The Dollar Factor”   X   Time of Day Weight   X   General Licensing Allocation

+

Radio Feature Premium Credits
(for radio performances only where applicable)

+

TV Premium Credits
(for performances in highly rated series, where applicable)

=

CREDITS

You can also view BMI’s method here.

How does COSON pay its members? They also describe it on their website and here’s another copy and paste:

“At COSON, there are two categories of distributions: Specific Distribution and General Distribution.

“When a license is issued for a clearly identifiable work or a log is received from which the royalty due to a particular work is clearly discernible (e.g radio & TV promos, road shows, jingles, ringtones, etc), the copyright owner/s is entitled to a royalty based on how much the society has collected on behalf of the owner from the user. The only deduction in this case will be the administrative cost.

On the other hand, a general distribution is made to members across the board, in cases where the royalty collected cannot reasonably be ascribed to any specific work or where the members at an AGM have decided that a token be paid to all members irrespective of the amount of use of their works. General distributions are usually done once in a year.”

4.   Is COSON the only collecting society in Nigeria?

Uhm, yes, although Charlie Boy and his friends at MCSN would probably disagree with me. And this article, here, suggests there should be more than one. However, the Copyright Act says that you cannot officially be a collecting society unless the Copyright Commission licenses you as such. The Act goes further to state that that the Copyright Commission does not need to license more than one collecting society if it is satisfied that a single society can carry out the role adequately. Therefore, as the law currently stands, royalties for the broadcast of musical works and sound recordings in Nigeria are payable to COSON alone.

5. Does COSON’s “International Standards” Argument Fly?

COSON prefaces most of its statements on this matter with a reference to international standards and practices for the industry. If we want a world-class industry, then YES, it certainly makes sense for us to adopt the standards that the very best representatives of the international industry have imbibed. However, our history, both economic and political, has shown (and it’s unclear to me whether this is fortuitous or by malevolent design) that wholesale adoption of international standards has not always worked. In his piece on the matter, industry heavyweight, Efe Omorogbe frowns at the BON/IBAN tack of wanting to develop a system that takes the “peculiarities of the Nigerian industry” into cognisance. Obviously, given how long BON and IBAN have contended with collecting societies (and other, more sinister motives, as alleged by COSON), there are some trust/credibility issues. But there is nothing wrong (if BON/IBAN are sincere) with looking at the roles that culture, environment, etc. played in the evolution of international systems while they were evolving, and see if we need to tweak any parts of what we’re adopting. For instance, is it a factor worth considering that in the royalty regimes practising these international standards, pirates and piracy are not as pervasive as they are here? Is it worth considering that our traditional channels for distribution now involve an Alaba “distributor” negotiating a one-off fee with the artist and  the artist expecting no more sales income from the album (thank God for digital)? These have no direct bearing on radio and television per se, but they underscore the point that our industry is neither American nor British – it is Nigerian.

Clearly, BON and IBAN have to pay for licences to exploit the music, unless they all decide to become 100% talk radio stations. This is more so as they are required to have 80% Nigerian content. If their ban is as a result of not wanting to pay at all, it is unconscionable. If, on the other hand, they want to develop a royalties regime in good faith for the Nigerian industry, then rather than merely complaining about antagonism and harassment, they should be putting out counter-proposals to COSON’s. Eventually, the law suits that have been filed by COSON will reach a conclusion and things will come to a head. It will be interesting to see if the ban will last as long as the lawsuits.

________________________________________________________

**IBAN – Independent Broadcasting Association of Nigeria

**BON – Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria

Nelson Mandela’s Musical Legacy

English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gaute...

English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 13 May 1998 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How will I remember Nelson Mandela? It will be in the music that was made about him and his role in the struggle to smash apartheid. There are many reasons why. As a child of the 80s in Nigeria, we didn’t have political programmes dedicated to the struggle – it would have been hard and perhaps a bit hypocritical, seeing as we were under the thumb of the military for the greater part of 1980-1990.  There was no CNN/cable television for us until the mid to late 90s, no internet, no news breaking globally in an instant. No. My initial education on South Africa, apartheid and Nelson Mandela was from the music of the day.

I remember Majek Fashek’s Free Mandela, from his album I and I Experience. The song spoke of the man who had been in jail for 27 years, who “left his wife and his children for the sake of Africa”. The song also reminded us that Nigeria had been independent had been independent for 29 years but Nigerians were still dependent. Majek begged Margaret Thatcher, George Bush and Frederik De Klerk to free Mandela; it begged Babangida to free Nigeria and it begged colonial masters to free Africa. During the Fela-rites-of-passage years that all Nigerian men in universities go through, I would later hear Fela Anikulapo-Kuti point out the absurdity in Thatcher and Reagan, who he said were friends of Pieta Botha, go to the United Nations to press for a charter on human rights.

I remember Ras Kimono’s Kill Apartheid. He sang, “Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, Gorbachev and Pieta Botha/All of them come and join together/They want to be the blacks’ masters/So, kill apartheid, we have to kill apartheid…” I forget the musician’s name now, but I also remember “The whole world is saying: stop this apartheid; Africans are saying free Nelson Mandela! Oh yes! Liberate South Africa Now!

I remember Paul Simon’s Graceland  concert, with which he launched his African-flavoured album of the same name. Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba (God rest her soul too) did a duet – Bring back Nelson Mandela, brick him back home to Soweto, I want to see him walking down the streets of South Africa TOMORROW! Bring back Nelson Mandela, bring him back home to Soweto, I want to see him walking hand in hand with Winnie Mandela…” Apart from Masekela’s hypnotic trumpeting, there was something about that simple plea that plucked at my young heart.

I remember Onyeka Onwenu’s tribute to Winnie Mandela. “Winnie Mandela, sould of a nation, crying to be free…they can take away your man, take away your happiness, but they can’t take away your right to be free…”. I remember Nel Oliver, who resurfaced recently with the wedding hit “Baby Girl”, do a song on apartheid as well. “We must refuse segregation, we are born to live together. Open your hearts and sing in harmony, Apartheid in South Africa…” [Update: I’ve since learnt that the song was called “Upheaval”. I also found the video…]

There were so many more songs celebrating Madiba and his struggle. I’m sure I will be reminded of a few. I remember being in boarding school the day he was released from prison. We all gathered round the TV they’d brought into the common room just for the occasion. I suspect that the gravity, the significance, of the occasion was lost on the prepubescent gathering. For me, it was that this man I’d heard so many songs about was finally free.

Rest in peace, Madiba.

NB.

I’ve been told that it was sacrilegious to omit Asimbonanga by Johnny Clegg. I hope the powers that be will forgive me for this oversight, as I’ve sought to correct my error by embedding a keeper. Madiba joins Clegg on stage at this performance of Asimbonanga. Enjoy.

MTN Corporate Elite 2013: 10 Things

The end-year-office-party season kicked off yesterday, the 1st of December 2013, with MTN’s Corporate Elite 2013 concert at the Convention Centre of Eko Hotel and Suites. This is the seventh year in a row that MTN has hosted the event and man, did they put on a show. These days, I really can’t go anywhere without doing a little aproko, so here are my bits and bobs from the event.

1. Billy Ocean is a LEGEND. End of.

Our man is grey-haired now, being all of 63 years old, and he’s grown dreadlocks along the way. He showed last night, however, that his lyrics are eternal. Reeling out classics like What is the Colour of Love, Suddenly, When the Going Gets Tough, Get Out of My Dreams (Get Into My Car), the entire venue sang along; even the stuffy elite of the corporate elite. Suddenly was particularly tender as everyone, including yours truly held on to their other halves and loved up the atmosphere.

20131201_22565420131201_222021

2. Maxi Priest can saaaaaaaaaaaang!

We know him on this side of the planet for hits like I Just Wanna Be Close to You, Wild World, Just a little bit longer and the like, and he performed those songs to all our delight. However, I’d personally confined the man in the box of my mind to being a mere reggae artist. No people – the guy is an absolute rock star. Maxi Priest brang it and then he sang it. What’s more, after his set, he came to sit in the audience at the table right next to mine. So of course I famzed and he shook my hand. Said hand is currently in a vacuum glass glove, destined to remain unwashed until we cross over into the new year.

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Maxi Priest

3. The Madness that is Awilo

Weeeeeepah! We love Awilo Longomba. We’ve loved him since Comment tu t’appelles? in the late nineties/early noughties. However, he exploded onto the stage and stopped the music after only  20 seconds. “Why you no dennss?” he asked disappointedly, in his thick francophone accent? Then he bust a few bars and held the microphone out to the crowd but only got a muted response. Someone needs to tell him though, that it’s because we sing his music phonetically – we don’t know the lyrics. Praiz  eventually joined him on stage for their new song to close the set.

www.myspace.com/aayaproduction

http://www.myspace.com/aayaproduction (Photo credit: hansgd23)

4. The C.E.O. Dancers

Two of them, anyway. Since their introduction to the continent (you have to love the internet) on Youtube via Britain’s Got Talent, we’ve seen them in a few music videos. Last night, they were Awilo’s dancers. The one with the bleached, short hair seemed a little overwhelmed by it all every once in a while, with a puzzled look on her face, but there you have it – Simon Cowell’s sphere of influence spreads to a concert in Lagos.

5. Put the Effing Tablets Away!

So, Joe comes on stage and all the women are swooning. But not so much that they forget to whip out their mobile phones and iPads. You rush to the stage, your screaming at Joe, he reaches out to shake you, you grab his hand and quickly spin around to take a quickie selfie with Joe? Hian! Even worse, you’re recording the performance on your 20-inch iPad and it’s so fricking large it covers your face. Joe comes over to hold your hand. You give to him, you’re screaming, going nuts yet you don’t put the tablet down so you can actually see his face and look at him properly?? Come on! Live the moment. Carpe momentatis (fake Latin, don’t quote me anywhere, please).

6. It’s the “Corporate Elite”, but Come On!

I was seated at a table with a couple of old folks. I suppose they’re the ones that MTN was really throwing the party for. Sometimes, when you’re in the Lagos Elite, I suppose you are mandated by social etiquette to honour all the invitations that are extended to you. But how on earth do you come to a concert, the whole auditorium rises to its feet because their song just came on and you ask me to sit  because I’m blocking your view? B@%#$ please! Then you wrap yourself up in a shawl, put your head on the table and look miserable all night, punctuating your misery with intermittent sips of champagne from a water glass. Just go home, lady. Corporate/socialite elite or not.

7.The Love of Joe

Joe is so fortunate, from the Nigerian perspective, that it was his music that people in their mid-30s to mid-40s became men and women to, and I don’t mean that in a dirty way at all. If you were in university in the mid-90s onwards, chances are you jammed to Joe (and Puffy, Pac, Ma$e and Biggie…but well…). Your first car, with your first Sony Explode car stereo jammed Joe and you probably have a few memories of relaxing to Joe with your boyfriend/girlfriend at the time.

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Joe got up on the Murray-Bruce’s table. Grandma Murray-bruce gave him a queenly smile.

8. They Know Me?

It was the first time in Nigeria for Billy Ocean and Maxi Priest.  You can tell it’s an international act’s first time usually by how they harp on “Africa” in their ad libs, but that’s a digression. I reckon both they and Joe were surprised at how popular they were, how everyone sang along to their lyrics when they’ve probably never earned a dime in royalties from Nigerians buying their records. Reminds one of the time DMX came to Abuja about 10 years ago and reportedly flipped out, enraged at the volume of bootleg copies of his CDs on sale. Enter COSON? (I’m sure I just made their Board happy).

9. Nigerian Acts

I cannot end without giving kudos to the Nigerian artists that featured yesterday – Praiz, Iyanya, Davido, Saeon, KCee. The same crowd that got on its feet for Billy Ocean, Dru Hill and Joe went absolutely nuts for its local acts. I bash local artists a lot for lyrical content but I can’t know much about music if the music I complain about brings tens of thousands to their feet. So keep on keeping on fellas.

10. The Product is Nostalgia

What’s your selling point, as an artiste who peaked 20-30 years ago? It’s nostalgia. When Tevin Campbell came on, you should have seen them mamas with teenage kids now screaming the lyrics of Can We Talk. When JT Taylor did songs from his Kool and the Gang Days, there was this grandpa in a bowler hat going all groupie on the man. The point is, I think, if you want to live on your music for the rest of your life, it has to be worth listening to 20-30 years from now. And this is me harping on lyrics again. I may not know much about music but whine-am-whine-am-go-down-low will not be paying the bills in 2023. What memories can your audience make to whine am music? The product sold be memory-making music.

Tevin Campbell

Tevin Campbell

JT Taylor

JT Taylor