By Balarabe Oshiafi
Following public outcry over the death of a fast rising Nigerian Musical Artiste popularly called Mohbad, dexterous entertainer, Sunny Neji has charged younger musicians on the need to come under the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) for protection.
In a release made available to ExpressDay, Neji said “it’s really sad, at happened to this young talented rising star. I never met him in person but since his demise, I’ve heard quite a lot about him.
“When people die, they tend to be a lot more talked about, especially if they touched lives while alive. It’s obvious he touched quite a lot of people with his music. Everyone is talking about Mohbad, in homes, offices, the streets and in bars. Infact, just yesterday, I was called by a radio personality to come on air and lend my voice to the discourse.
“But here’s what I think. What is very clear is that Mohbad is dead and the circumstances surrounding his death are not clear. Infact, the speed with which he was hurriedly squeezed into a box for a coffin and buried is suspicious.
“I hear the Police have exhumed his body due to the global outcry for Justice for Mohbad and are carrying out an autopsy. I join everyone else asking for Justice for Mohbad, that they get to the truth about what really happened and Justice is done.
“And now, to where I’m very worried. How many other Mohbads are out there without a voice? Where can they go? Who can they talk to? Who can protect them?
“Well, the answer is, a good, strong music union. The union could have arrested the situation on time by engaging the artiste and the record label.
“People have been calling to ask me why PMAN (the music union) didn’t intervene in the matter between Mohbad and his record label. Well, the answer is somple. Did he bring the matter to PMAN? was he a member of PMAN? The union cannot jump into a matter it is not aware of and without invitation.
“A lot of the young artistes today do not believe they need a music union. It’s quite understandable because so far they have thrived without the contribution of one.
“Understandably, over the years all they’ve heard about is the infighting in PMAN, the only music union in Nigeria. But, it still does not change the fact that there’s need for a good, strong and vibrant music union; especially now that our music has gone global.
“A couple of years ago, the current PMAN President, Pretty Okafor, convinced a few of us to join him in a task to fix the union. All we wanted was to reorganize and reposition the union properly for industry practitioners benefit.
“It has been an uphill task. We had the challenge of making it attractive to especially, the young artistes, after decades of a battered image. It wasn’t easy but after a while, the brand perception started changing.
“We all know the power of a working PMAN and we have been trying all we can to sell it to the young artistes as their home and backbone. We have been trying to let them know that this is not the old PMAN they used to know. This PMAN is poised to protect and fight for their rights at all levels.
“This PMAN is poised to make sure they can practice their art without fear. This PMAN is poised to go to govt. and make a case for the industry. This PMAN has lawyers to help negotiate contracts on their behalf and settle disputes etc.
But, the truth is, it’s been very difficult to get them to understand the importance of a good, strong music union.
“The death of Mohbad is very sad. If there are no lessons here to be learnt, then it will be even more sad.
This should be a wake up call to Nigerian artistes that we all need a strong and vibrant music union to work for us. Most thriving sectors have unions or regulatory bodies; they bring sanity, protection and an ease to do business.
“Mohbad’s sad demise has sparked off many conversations.
We pray his soul receives justice so he can rest in peace.”