A True Story on Music and Business (Sunny vs Abioro) 0.2!
Hello guys! I trust we are doing quite well. Let’s continue where we left off on the previous article; A True Story on Music and Business (Sunny vs Abioro). Let’s get right to it.
Continuance on Sunny vs Abioro’s Feud
He brought out a bundle of documents, even from where he was seated across the table, Sunny saw that it was a copy of the contract he signed. “An agreement signed has been made. It is a binding contract!” The chief (Abioro) informed them. “This is what you signed. This is what you are entitled to! No more, No less.” He returned the documents to the file. Case dismissed.
But Sunny was not done. “Chief, this is not about the contract. You are our father. Our request is for adequate compensation! Let’s leave the contract aside.” Chief Abioro looked at the young star like a parent will look at a child asking for another candy. “Leave the contract aside? We should leave the contract aside?”
The chairman asked incredulously. “You know, it would be nice to leave the contract aside. But you know what? That would be illegal!”
Haba! Illegality ke! It was then that someone brought up the idea of requesting some of his friends to plead their case. Sunny agreed. After all, Eni ti o mo oju Ogun, ni pa obi ni ‘re; it is the person who is conversant with Ogun, the god of iron, that is usually given the duty to administer its rites. They went to meet Prince Okunade Sijuwade who would later become the Ooni of Ife.
They also met with Chief Afolabi Joseph, Chief Ebenezer Obey, as well as Chief Nurudeen Alowonlehey. They all were requested to intervene. The eminent persons appeared in the court of the Balogun of Ipokia as ‘amici curiae’ on behalf of the musicians. Amici curiae are lawyers invited by the judge(s) to assist in filling briefs that may be helpful to the court in deciding a case. Our eminent persons argued their case like experienced advocates. They cited relevant sections of the unwritten Yoruba constitution.
They cited Yoruba proverbs. They made reference to the story of Oduduwa. The presiding chairman listened to their submissions and summarily dismissed the case. Contract is contract!
Chief did not only dismiss the request for a raise. He opened another file on his table and brought out a new set of documents. Your guess is right! A new five-year contract! By now, Sunny Ade had learnt enough law. He had become a professional mathematician. He obtained his Master of Business Administration from practical experience. He knew the implication of putting pen to paper. He applied for an adjournment.
The King of African Beats found himself in a quandary. His new songs were ready but Chief had threatened not to release any new album until he signed the new contract, neither was KSA ready to sign any new contract until the issue of royalty was resolved.
KSA remembered a proverb his grandmother frequently quoted. “Ti abiku ba gbon ogbon ati ku ni igba erun, iya abiku a gbon ogbon ati sin oku e si etido” — If an abiku decided to die during the dry season when he knew that the ground would be hard to dig, his parents would also decide to bury him by the riverside where the ground would not be hard to dig.
Sunny Ade decided to release his record with another company. His plan was to use the album to bargain for a better deal with African Songs. Instead of the measly 20 kobo,.He was confident that the chairman would be ready to pay him at least N1.00 per copy. The album was recorded in Nigeria but taken to London for mixing. What Sunny Ade did not know was that Chief Abioro was a master at the game. Before Sunny could get a copy of his own album, Chief Abioro was already in possession of the new record.
Baba Ibeji, i.e Sunny Ade was composing fresh materials at home when the court bailiffs arrived. They served him with an order of interim injunction! The court order was as comprehensive as it was broad. Sunny Ade was prohibited from sale, distribution, marketing, dealing, etcetera, of the record. He read the order again. Even without being a lawyer, he knew the implication of the document he was holding.
With palpable emotion, his mind went back to how he came to Lagos from Abeokuta with only one shilling and eighteen pence! He remembered his years with Baba Sala. He recalled how he got stranded with Baba Sala’s travelling theatre in Jebba and Kano. How he did not see his mother for two years whilst he suffered to make it as a musician. He recalled how his first album sold only 13 copies. Now when he was at the threshold of success, this court order! With grim determination, he knew he couldn’t afford to quit.
Sorry guys, we’ll stop here for now, to pick it up from where we left off in the next sequel.
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