CORA/Arterial Network Nigeria, at the weekend, launched the Enterprise Support Programme (ESP), an initiative developed in partnership with a leading full service commercial law firm, Ajumogobia & Okeke, for professional legal advisory services to Nigerian creative industry entrepreneurs. The event brought together members of Arterial Network in Nigeria, leaders of creative industry associations, dignitaries and other stakeholders.
The event, anchored by Nollywood veteran actor and producer Francis Onwochei, provided opportunity for stakeholders to interact with Ajumogobia & Okeke and seek clarifications on the programme’s plans on Intellectual Property (IP) protection, advice in contract negotiations, sponsorship deals, tours and agency. The law firm, represented by Associate Partner Mrs Ebunoluwa Awosika, explained the scope of pro bono professional services with regards to trademark registration and protection, copyright notifications, brand protection and licensing as well as how artists and creative entrepreneurs would be guided by the law firm in the preparation of legal documents required for processing credit facilities with banks.
Dignitaries and leaders of creative industry associations in attendance commended the initiative and advised artists to utlilise the opportunity judiciously. While reacting to the programme’s official take-off, veteran musician/Concert Flautist and Chairman Entertainment Foundation of Nigeria, Dr. Tee Mac Omatshola Iseli (MFR), praised CORA/Arterial Network Nigeria and Ajumogobia & Okeke for the collaboration.
‘‘I commend Ajumogobia & Okeke for this support and urge all artists to take advantage of this opportunity’’, said Prince Yemisi Shyllon, Nigeria’s foremost art collector and patron. ‘‘There is one other area I would like to mention which is unrelated. I think artists should also look at the issue of health insurance. I’m being inundated, on a very regular basis, with artists having stroke, artists cannot walk and so on. This is an area we will appreciate if Arterial can take up’’, he added.
Nigerian lawyer and co-founder of Red Media Africa, Chude Jideonwo expressed his excitement about the initiative.
‘‘I’m very excited about the support from Ajumogobia & Okeke. Not just for the appearance of support but for the quality and intensity of the support because my ears were open listening (to the briefing). I was thinking, would there be exclusionary terms that might give significant burdens to the recipients?’’ he said.
President of Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA), Oliver Enwonwu, while commending the initiative, seized the opportunity to draw attention to some peculiarities in the visual arts industry that also need adequate attention in the programme’s implementation, notably the issue of Artist’s Resale Right which entitles creators of original works of art (including paintings, engravings, sculpture and ceramics) to a royalty each time one of their works is resold through an auction house or art market professional.
The president of Association of Movie Producers (AMP) Ralph Nwadike advised artists against the assumption that they are immune to legal actions even when they feel they are doing the right thing. ‘‘Basically, we need this thing because no one is an island. You may think you are always treading on the right path and suddenly something drops on your lap and it’s a law case. Most of us, at some time in our lives, need a lawyer. What they are offering us (Ajumogobia & Okeke) is fantastic.’’
Israel Eboh, President, National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) hailed the initiative and assured the CORA/Arterial Nigeria of NANTAP’s cooperation.
In February 2018, Mr Odein Ajumogobia, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, signed the MOU with CORA/Arterial Network Nigeria to provide legal backing and support for artists and creative entrepreneurs to improve their documentation and access to funding, investments and other business opportunities.
A new steering committee elected
Following the expiration of the term of office of the immediate past Steering Committee, the following members were elected to steer the affairs of the Network in Nigeria for the next 2 years:
- Anthony Afolabi Martins (Fola Martins) – Chairperson
- Unoma Giese (Numero Uno) – Deputy Chairperson
- Omolara Sanni – Treasurer
- Olaoye Ghaffar – Financial Secretary
- Seun Olota – Cultural Policy Officer
- Mitchelle Defounga – Media & Publicity Secretary
The positions of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Port Harcourt Representatives were declared vacant due to absence of eligible voting delegates from the 2 regions. The General Assembly unanimously resolved that a bye-election be organized by the National Secretariat during general meeting of members in the 2 regions.
Following the 2015 – 2017/18 report presented by the National Coordinator Ayodele Ganiu for the period, members of CORA/Arterial Nigeria, commended the immediate past Steering Committee under the chairmanship of Jahman Anikulapo for the impressive record of performance despite limited available resources. During the period of their leadership, the Network empowered a total of 464 artists and practitioners through various trainings and other capacity building activities. Under its advocacy and campaigns, the Network provided direct emergency assistance to 3 artists, administered 3 petitions which pressured authorities and resulted in freedom of persecuted artists. The Network organized 2 stakeholders’ fora on copyright reforms which contributed to the civil society pressures on the Nigerian Copyright Commission, resulting in the approval of the draft Copyright Bill by the Federal Executive Council and subsequent transmission to the National Assembly for legislative actions.
In the area of Information Dissemination, the Network, during the period under review, researched and distributed 39 releases on art residencies, travel grants, project funding, trainings, job openings and other opportunities. It produced 27 editions of the national affiliate’s e-newsletter communicating the Network’s activities and developments in the Arts and Culture Sector to members.
In the area of market access, the immediate past leadership supported the establishment of ADIRE HERITAGE fair in Nigeria, signed the MOU with Ajumogobia & Okeke for better access to business opportunities and initiated the planning for hosting Arterial Network’s Foire des Industries Culturelles et Créatives Africaines (FICCA) i.e. African Cultural and Creative Industries Fair in Lagos.
The immediate past Chairperson, Jahman Anikulapo, in his closing remarks, congratulated the newly elected steering committee members and expressed his excitement and belief in the ability of the team. ‘’Congratulations to you all on your election. These are exciting times indeed, and I am sure the ‘tear-rubber’ Exco is very much up to the task. The diverse talents, skills and resources in the team will ensure greater success and smooth ride.’’
‘’In particular, the Chair’s charming personality and deep knowledge of the dynamics of the creative industry, extending to all arms of the media, will be very helpful harnessing the opportunities that abound around us, and the challenges that will no doubt be wheeled our way in this journey.
‘‘I am excited at the huge prospects ahead of our beloved CORA-ARTERIAL NETWORK. Welcome to a new era everyone!’’ he said.
Newly elected chairperson, Fola Martins, thanked members for their confidence in him and members of the new steering committee. He expressed appreciation for the meritorious service of the immediate past steering committee and sought the support and cooperation of all members.
“Thank you very much everyone here, particularly all members of the outgoing Steering Committee, our indefatigable National Coordinator and all other members present here today. It is a huge privilege, an honour, and a great responsibility to take on this assignment. May I humbly state that I can only be sure of doing everything best for the Arterial Network family within my ability because of the support I know you are all committed to extend to the new team?
‘‘I believe firmly that we can give Nigeria’s humongous creative treasures, which are often referred to as potentials, a ramped up activism plus a compassionate creative disposition that is right for our times and right for our country. I’d like to thank all of the other participants in this call to serve, for the very civilised, decent and reasonable way, the inauguration of the new Steering Committee has been conducted. This is only reasserting the conciliatory power of arts, culture and the creative minded.’’
‘‘At Arterial Network Nigeria, we have grown talents, we have encouraged the birth of ideas, above all we have continually exhibited optimism about the future for the Country’s creative industry and the future of our country. I make bold to say that this new team is fully mobilised to continue and exceed the sense of discipline, the sense of professionalism, and the sense of purpose, inherent in our collective membership of this continental family.’’