Thursday, January 27, 2011

Keep The Change (A PMAN Tale)

"When you're finished changing, you're finished" - Benjamin Franklin

PMAN (The Performing Musicians' Employers Association of Nigeria) had their Annual Delegates Conference to Elect New Leadership for the next two years on Wednesday the 26th of January. The Conference was held in Osogbo, Osun State and hosted Delegates, Members and Representatives of PMAN from all over Nigeria who were present to decide the future of the Union. The conference also saw the brief attendance of PMAN's founding President, the Legendary King Sunny Ade, current Governor of Osun State Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola, as well as Former President Chief Tony Okoroji.

The truth of the matter is that, over the years, there has been a major disconnect between PMAN and the very professionals it is supposed to represent and/or protect. At its inception, this is a snapshot of who the founding members were: Chief (Mrs.) Christy Essien Igbokwe, King Sunny Ade (KSA), Evang. Sunny Okosuns (late), Chief Ebenezer Obey, Lemmy Jackson, Tee-Mac Omatshola Iseli, Emma Ogosi, Laolu Akins, Funmi Adams, Oby Onyioha, Maliki Showman, Harry Mosco, King Pago, Bobby Benson etc. Anyone remotely familiar with Nigerian Music History will agree that this was in the very least, an excellent representation of who were the significant PERFORMING MUSICIANS of that era. Part of the Union's Constitution that these great artistes put together can be found online at http://pmanonline.net/about.html.

Fast forward to today; PMAN is now a shadow of what it used to be, and essentially a disgrace to the legacy those that came before us put forth. Nigerian Musicians are achieving worldwide success in leaps and bounds, yet a snapshot of today's union shows that absolutely NONE of the significant musicians representing Nigeria are involved in the runnings of PMAN. Nigerian Musicians have accomplished great things in spite of a Union that no longer cares or caters to their needs; in spite of a Union that has been run down by greed, poor leadership and an archaic mentality; in spite of a Union that has alienated the very Professionals it is supposed to care for.

They say you should "be the change you want to see in the world". It was with this in mind, that today's crop of Nigerian Musicians attempted to rejoin PMAN en masse, and get involved in its leadership. We heard through the grapevine that the current administration's leadership term had come to end, and that the Organization was as frustrated as we the artistes were about the state of things. There were tales of offices shutting down, of staff salaries being unpaid, of rundown or nonexistent studios around the country and a total lack of organization; and so the artistes held a series of meetings. We all came up with a team of executives amongst ourselves, that we felt represented a cross section of Nigerian Music today. A team that did not necessarily comprise of the most popular musicians, but a team that on the one hand represented a solid cross section of Nigerian Music, as well as one that would be willing and able to put in the work necessary to right a sinking ship. The team included names like: eLDee The Don, Mr Cool, KSB, M.I., Sound Sultan, Ed Jatto, Efe Omoruegbe of Now Music etc.

The team made the journey to Osogbo along with other people including D'banj, Don Jazzy, Jesse Jagz, Wande Coal, 2Shotz, Dr Sid, D'Prince, Ice Prince, Baba Dee, and yours truly Banky W. Other artistes who were part of the meetings but did not make the trip included P'Square, 9ice, Tuface Idibia, WizKid and Skales. That we were able to assemble such an incredible cast of people under such short notice was a miracle in and of itself, but it also goes to show the frustration with the way things are and the willingness to work to bring about change. The purpose of our making the trip was to appeal to the powers that be at PMAN to vote for and put in the new team of leaders, and give them (us) a chance at resuscitating a failed Union; a chance at restoring PMAN to its glory days; a chance at restoring it to a place of relevance and a chance at Uniting the Body with the very members its supposed to comprise of. Safe to say I believe even the founders would have been proud at the Contingent of Artistes behind this movement, as I'm sure that's what they envisioned when they started this years ago.

What we found when we arrived in Osogbo was heart breaking. A system that is in rot and decay; a mindset that is so stuck in the ways of the past and an unwillingness to accept the realities of the present, much less step into the future. One would think that PMAN officials and delegates would accept the appeals coming from its Musicians; if they had accepted us, PMAN would automatically become a force to be reckoned with overnight as it would now TRULY represent all Nigerian Musicians, young and old; those in the limelight and those in the twilight of their careers.

Sadly, this was not to be. We came with respect on our minds, appealing to those that had been in the rundown system for years, to let us help rebuild it. We came "dobale-ing"; we pleaded, begged, offered all kinds of opportunities and the resources at our disposal. We offered to lead but to do so by serving. We offered to help restore relevance; to empower PMAN Nationally and at the State levels and so much more.

We were met with resistance, bitterness, slander and ignorance. People so afraid of any kind of change that they would rather cling on to a sinking ship than reach out and get on to a helicopter. And those that were apparently willing to accept the change, expected us to play the same old ignorant tactics that our corrupt Politicians play to get there. Ironically, what we saw yesterday was reflective of what is wrong with Nigeria as a whole.

We have one message to PMAN, and to Nigeria as a whole. Change will come. It will. They say the only thing that remains constant in Life is Change. The fact that Change will come is inevitable; we can choose to embrace it or evade it, but it will be to our progress or peril.. our development or demise. History is rife with instances where people were given an opportunity to choose either of these options, and the consequences that followed. PMAN was given an opportunity to choose to make History and to choose to change the failed ways of the past, and it declined, because we refused to stoop to reducing our standards. Dear PMAN Delegates (and Nigerian Politicians), please understand that we will NOT buy (or sell) Votes. What we are working for is so much more long term and the payout is infinitely greater than the here and now.
What they refused to realize is this: the ACTUAL Performing Musicians and Recording Artistes in Nigeria are determined to right the wrongs of our industry, with or without PMAN. That they declined is inconsequential to us. Our journey continues, but we strongly believe that they will remember and regret this day.

Our message to PMAN is as Benjamin Franklin once said “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished”.

- Banky W.

31 comments:

Phury Mackeltar said...

I haven't the foggiest idea why we bother with PMAN. I had no idea they even still existed. If you ask me, a new generation of Performing Artistes should come together and form a stronger union because we all know this is a necessity.The entertainment industry is booming. What is the use of an association that does not care for the younger generation? Are we not the future?

Even in law school, we are taught to do away with archaic terms and languages. This is the 21st Century and everyone should adapt to the way things are being run now.

That you all made the trip is admirable considering that this association has not helped or been there for you in any way. Like you said, change must come-and a lot of people are about to be swept away in the tide.

0331ajs said...

this is very apt, It's the same problem with all the other associations....the Actor's Guild of Nigeria is even worse.

teazer411 said...

Well spoken Mr banky,ur kind of thrivn spirit is wat we all need to make dis change dat is our most vital need!!!

Olukunle said...

Banky, please devote some more time to blogging. You write beautifully well

Anonymous said...

this piece you have written is sensitively accurate of major deficiencies that we the next generation have to combat, your portrayal of even begging to get an apprentices like format going which they rejected, shows the anomaly.

The point that needs to be stressed is maybe constitutionally it is viable to create a new union for performing artist I now see why our promotional international out put is limited to the old visionaries, there is a whole oyster out in the world no need to take crab bites any more.

I must also indicate to you that you write better articles only your music surpasses your writting skills for a young man your are very intelligent and articulate, as I read it, tears swelled in my eyes as I just did a comparison between the old guard of Nigerian politics no change thats why I flowed like that not knowing that it was deeper than the current Nigerian politics so apologies for my wrong assumption.

Protection and Guidance always stay blessed we will get there, don't ever give up still go for it.

An EME, admirer

Hollalaykan said...

Well Said .. keep fighting for what you believe in . It would be funny to artistes that most of their audience feels PMAN is an association meant for JUJU,FUJI music etc... I meant traditional music as a whole ... If we dont stand for something.. We will fall for anything ... ENOUGHISENOUGH ... politics in every sector of Nigeria economy is dis-heartening ... I remember when TENIN asked me about the rates which Media stations pay artistes their royalties in Nigeria.. I just didnt know what to tell her.. I bursted out in laughter cos I dont think such thing exist in Nigeria yet.. with all the good music thats coming from the young minds in Nigeria its pathetic that the old men cant just do things accurately to make sure the dreams of the Nigerian Musicians come through... Eldee Banky etc ... You guyz should keep the struggle alive.. Its gonna pay off someday soon ... God bless Naija

Easystalker said...

So long it is for da gud of da industry, don't expect dos old hags at da helm of affairs to roll ova easily. Wanna make a change? Break away. I'm not a musician, but i've learnt to appreciate gud music tru u guys i.e nu generation artistes, but wuld very much lik dis change u r aggitatin for to b extended to da leadership of dis great country as wel becos u guys r a stronger influence/figure on da youths.

Madame Sting said...

I love that quote and i'm looking forward to what you guys have up your sleeves.

sweetandsensible said...

"Applauding loudly" well said...........very well said........we run organizations in Nigeria the way we run the government.........to serve ourselves only......so sad......and i agree....things WILL cahnge....one way or the other, we only pray for he better

OLAY said...

What u doing is good and please do it with the right intentions/motive. Don't just involve only ur friends n Artiste ind limelight but all interested performing Artistes n Employers like us.
Its truely time for progressive change in music administration in Nigeria.

Nolimit said...

Banky, I respect you and I appreciate the fact that you stand for change.And it must have a taken a lot out of you guys to go all the way to Oshogbo to meet with this people.
People in power are not always willing to relinquish the said power especially when they are very drunk with it.
I read in another paper online right here:http://bit.ly/eLClKs that you were all there with the former president and you guys demanded that Eldee the Don be made the president.
While the intention is good, in my opinion the approach wasn't exactly okay.As you said in your post "We all came up with a team of executives amongst ourselves"...granted it was/is a well put together team but it sounded like you just sprung this executives on them...that would have definitely caused friction no doubt.
Just my opinion.
I don't think you guys should give up on what you've started... Gradually, the current leaders will see that there's no other way forward than to embrace the future... the youths...
I really hope that you guys won't give up on PMAN regardless of whatever happened on the said day.

dee ola said...

wow...great work y'all for standing up for yourselves and working to effect change.

However, I think a little bit more caution should have been employed; some of those people (granted old and probably not doing much relevant work) have given and dedicated themselves to this cause and it is never easy to be confronted with how little one has done or can do. It is not easy for any one. So it is necessary that you all learn to work first with these people and learn their ways and then contribute. I do not think it will be easy to have a committee already made and then try to present such a committee to a group of people who are so set in their ways. In an ideal world, we would all like the most effective man to do the job but we have to take the work of others in to account. So you all need to humor them first and start as followers (effective, dynamic followers) before you ask for them to delegate the responsibility to you.

Change is a gradual thing and we must all keep working to make sure it comes to every aspect of Nigeria. The same thing is seen in Nigerian politics everyday. Certain people desire change but it will not be easy to hoist people who have firmly entrenched themselves in the system and take over. we must all learn to start from scratch; be effective and relevant followers, prove ourselves in little tasks and then and only then will we receive greater places to rule.

Once again, kudos to you all. So proud of you

**Disclaimer: Of course, I was not there, so I don't have the whole story but these are just my thoughts from all the info I got from your blog post

Anonymous said...

Its time to hold a "town Hall Meeting" somewhere like stadium Surulere to birth a new body. I tell you we will witness a large attendance of Nigerian music practitioners and not a selected names of some labels and cliques in the industry. The gathering should be coordinated by the likes of Obi Asika, Don Jazzy, Efe Omoregbe, Eldee, Banky W,Keke, Akpor Gbemre 411, Dbanj, MI, Ayo Animashaun and selected few of the old crop of musicians who is interested in the change and that is the map to the beginning of a new music industry in Nigeria. So Banky reach out to a selected few to finalize on the general "town hall meeting".

Note: am using the word town hall meeting to symbolize the the significance of the gathering we may choose another term to call it.

God Bless Nigeria Music Industry.

God Bless Nigeria.

Laolu Akins said...

Banky, I'm short of words with which to describe your commendable efforts towards reviving our union, the only one that finally received the Nigerian Labour Authority's approval after several efforts and many years of trying to establish a truly Nigerian broad-based Musician's Union PMAN. If need be,I can vouch for your sincerity ( All of you who went to Oshogbo) and good intentions, but I ask you, With the history and antecedents of the Union til date,was the approach well thought up? and the strategies
well articulated.I confess that I desired these changes long before now, but Won ki fi oju boro gba omo lowo ekuro. Nobody sweeps out the dirt as well as the floor of a house. Any positive change can only take place and endure when it is painstakingly put together. Please do not give up, "GHANGE" ? We must and will have it. Agbo to fehin rin, Agbara lo lo mu wa. A word is enough for the wise. Laolu Akins

Anonymous said...

I really don't know why u guys are bothered by dis PMAN thing. U guys are rich already and you'll keep making more money...that's enough na PMAN or no PMAN tuface is still Africa's best. Him no even go the Osogbo.....Real FESTAC boy :D...Naso, tubaba..Naso, Africa's best Na so.

Anonymous said...

Well said Mr. Banky we all know the system is rotten and when something is rotten it is dead! We the new generation should come together forming a new life giving covering association for Nigerian Musicians. God bless Nigerian Music Artistes! God bless Nigeria!

By the way I made a track for you if you are interested this is my number. 08036138920 Steve

Xtine said...

Be the change that you want to see. Establish the union the way you expect it to be. You already have the manpower and the resources...it may not be easy at first but then again, nothing good comes easy.When you start, you will be surprised at at what will happen and who will join you. If PMAN does not believe that you guys can do it, why not prove them wrong?

xtine said...

Be the change that you want to see. Establish the union the way you expect it to be. You already have the manpower and the resources...it may not be easy at first but then again, nothing good comes easy.When you start, you will be surprised at at what will happen and who will join you. If PMAN does not believe that you guys can do it, why not prove them wrong?

Anonymous said...

Banky, Banky, Banky...what can I say. Well said (or written). However, you and the younger generation of Nigerian musicians do not realise that you are steps ahead of these people. PMAN can't deal with that at this time. Can't you'll just form a breakaway union?? The history of PMAN is fraught with controversy & decay. I don't live in Nigeria but recall the constant squabbles reported in the media. God bless you dude. Your heart's in the right place..breakaway:)

funkola said...

shame! same with the leadership of the country.
i was speaking with Tee Mac Omatshola Itseli the other day and he was on about how he runs the PMAN office with his own money for diesel, salaries and all that. i wonder why they are then averse to a "bail out"...except there's something about it's leadership we don't know about, that's worth hugging.

Arinze said...

Forget PMAN.. Together we the youth can merge & build the music industry.. Do join our magazine page to share this post with other Africans..!!
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Zen-Magazine/130777576934677

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Adebisi Olugbenga said...

Ever wondered why pirates still exists? Don't be fooled that 'they' claim to fight it...

Ever wondered why we keep the 'circular' movement for long a such of time?

It's not far fetch...the narration speaks volume...it's just a tale of 'inferiority complex'.

Some of them might be of Alibaba's age...but he still moves with time and trained so much that remains relevant till date.

The shortest way to remain ever-green is to give lessons while you can to the little ones. It's futile to ever think you will forever compete with your son.

He will always have better ideas...simply help yourself by aligning with him...learn the better way at same time pointing him to where it all began. with that the future remains guaranteed! PMAN be Wise! Future is now..need not be preached over and over again!

The Corner Shop said...

That's too bad- for PMAN. Its amazing how people insist on being stuck in their old ways. Everywhere you look, change is happening; it's not something anyone can run from. I love that quote from Benjamin Franklin. It's totally apt

Adiya

Jay said...

Someone artiste are to be changed too.Tell them to stop bragging with blackberry.it's the cheapest mobile phone you can see on a celebrity.I'm a fans of you (them) and I bet my phone is better than blackberry.

MD said...

the truth of the matter is that the Fidel Castro and Gaddafi phenomena is a worldwide problem. People who have failed to achieve outstanding goals when they are in power are afraid to step down lest their cans of worms be discovered.

And again pride can push you not to accept help from others. Most especially when you denied such helpers help when they needed from you. PMAN has never done anything to promote growth, peace and unity in the Nigerian music industry.

they are nearby countries where their PMAN-equivalent is really efficient. I know of one of such, which requested and obtained a loan from their government to support the music industry of their country. They as well settle disputes among artiste. the day I heard PMAN settle a dispute among naija artistes and made funds available for upcoming ones, was also the day I heard that they was massive flood in the Sahara desert.

Only one principle can be applied in this case:"His office let another take". PMAN has failed to perform its duties and it is time to form a new association for naija artistes.

Anonymous said...

Erm why not form a new union?

Anonymous said...

Thumb up bruv, it was indeed a well detailed n comprehensive speech dat shed light 2 a berra generation of Naija industy "If" d said words can be pursue. Enough of d exasperating "noffin 2 show 4 it" ill concept of d old folks *no offence meant*.let d "can do" do it...D catalyst of positive changes...Ride on joor!