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Tony-Okoroji-and-2face-Idibia-at-Nigerian-Entertainment-Conference-2014 The second edition of the much talked about Nigerian Entertainment Conference was one of the most successful conferences to hold this year. The event took place on Wednesday, April 26, 2014 at the Grand Ballroom of Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, with a large number of top personalities, celebrities, media moguls and entrepreneurs, managers, artistes as well as a huge number of entertainment industry participants in attendance, to discuss one common goal – how to move the entertainment industry forward. Hosted by comedian and TV show host Tee A, the conference featured six different sessions – Media, Business, Music, IT (Info Technology), Social Responsibility and Nollywood. Four of the six sessions were preceded by keynote speeches delivered by Prof Pat Utomi (Business), 2face Idibia (Music), Social Responsibility (Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde) and Nollywood (Emeka Mba). Accompanied by different moderators, each session included a discussion, which featured a group of panellists discussing different topics closely associated with Entertainment in Nigeria. Panellists included comedian Basketmouth, Storm 360 Chairman, Obi Asika, Jobberman co-founder Ope Awoyemi, pop artiste, Dr SID, renowned writer Toni Kan, Chairman of COSON Tony Okoroji, Storm 360 co-founder and E.D, Olisa Adibua, actor Ramsey Nouah and founder of the African Movie Academy Awards Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, among many others. This conference is great. It makes you feel more concerned. Talking is a good thing, and I’m happy we are talking. Positive things come out of the talking and this is an avenue for that and more’, said the CEO of Nigezie, Femi ‘Kwame’ Aderibigbe, a panellist in the media session. The conference, popularly known as NECLive kicked off with a welcome speech by Editor-In-Chief of NET Newspaper, the Chairman and Executive Producer of the conference Ayeni Adekunle. In his speech, Ayeni talked about the entertainment industry’s many shortcomings, despite the perception of its’ progress. ‘Today should be indeed a happy day. But it’s not. I feel pain because I know that there’s so much work to be done. And we’re not even scratching the surface’, he said in his opening remarks.  ‘How can we get the best from the system if the industry is not well structured and funded?’ he asked. NECLive 2014 highlighted a number of problems plaguing the entertainment industry, including Distribution, Piracy, Content Ownership, Collective Rights and Royalty, Absence of Infrastructure and Social Responsibility. The theme for this year’s conference was ‘Creating Pathways to the Future’ and as explained by NET Editorial board Chairman Chris Ihidero, ‘The future is changing rapidly, such that whatever we know at present pales into insignificance at an alarming rate’. ‘All over the world, rapid manifestations are occurring in the production and distribution of entertainment while we are still largely playing catch up with out-dated platforms. If we were behind by a few decades before, we may be moving behind by perhaps half a century if we do not properly chart pathways to the future of theNigerian entertainment industry’, Ihidero explained. Prof Pat Utomi who delivered his speech on ‘Solving the Distribution Problem Once and For All’ stressed the importance of those involved in providing entertainment on radio, television, film and theatre to treat their work as importantly as any other business in order for it to thrive.’ Show business has to be treated like business. And because you love it, you need to learn how to apply things that people have learned from enterprise’, Utomi explained. The Professor also shared solutions to the issue of poor distribution. Our idea was to set up an alternative distribution structure that will better serve the interest of both content owners and consumers so we set up Exodus Entertainment with the sole aim of effectively distributing Nigeria entertainment products (CD, DVD and Magazine) to all of Nigeria’, he said. Meanwhile, African Pop Icon, 2face Idibia who was also one of the speakers, delivered a speech on ‘Slaying the Collective Rights Monster’ stating that one of the major problems is an issue of ignorance or rather, a lack of understanding of the subject. ‘Artists and music executives/ administrators have to take time out to learn about the ins and outs of the subject so as to understand what they are getting into.’ He also said there should be only one CMO (collective management organization) for a developing nation like Nigeria. ‘How has having multiple CMOs impacted the subject of royalties and the owners of the rights in Nigeria? One thing is for sure, having more than one CMO operating within the industry has not helped further our cause as rights owners because, being a developing nation, everyone is busy looking out for their own interests’. In her speech ushering in the ‘Social Responsibility’ session, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, who spoke on ‘Why We Should Care’ raised two major points in her presentation – education and leadership. The Nollywood actress said that although success is not compulsorily tied to education, it is advisable to be educated. ‘There are many layers to being famous or being a celebrity and Education prepares us for these layers so we can reach our full potential and be trusted with more responsibilities. Social responsibility as you can guess is a lot of responsibility and expression. You might as some point be required to speak to different types of group of people as I am doing right now … Simply put, Talent will Never be Enough. The TIME 100 Icon also pleaded with her colleagues to use their influence the right way. ‘We have been sleeping giants for too long. Let’s wake up and lead by example Entertainers! In a continent with some of the strongest, most recognizable and loved entertainers, we  can change things’. The fourth speaker and final speaker of the day Emeka Mba delivered his speech ‘Building a Sustainable Film Industry.’ Mba, the current Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) said itwas important to recognize that the old order in Nollywood is changing. ‘Those who choose to maintain the status quo will find themselves on the wrong side of history and I dare say on the short end of the money stick’, Mba said. He also advised practitioners to be curious rather than critical. ‘Ask questions that provoke reflection and further inquiry. Do not create a fortress mentality. Ideas don’t work unless you speak up.’ Just like the inaugural edition, the conference ended with the NET Honours. Honorary awards were given to 18 individuals including musicians Ebenezer Obey, Onyeka Onwenu, Christy Essien-Igbokwe, Sunny Okosun, Daddy Showkey, OJB Jezreel, actors Jide Kosoko, Adebayo Salami, media businessmen Smooth Promotions CEO Ayo Animashaun, Cool FM founder Amin Mosaalli, Tajuddeen Adepetu and others.  

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This article was first published on 26th April 2014

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