THANK You Father, Thank You So Much
By Tony Okoroji
TODAY, I thank the Almighty for the incredible protection he has given me in many trying circumstances and under conditions that would have sunk many men. Over and over again, I have been counted out by men but the good Lord has refused to count me out.
Some will tell you that I survive because of one powerful juju man somewhere continuously reading incantations on my behalf and throwing cowries into the air. Others will tell you that that guy, Tony Okoroji, is smart and cunning and always a step ahead of his adversaries. I have never been to any juju man in my life and the day I decide to place my future before any juju man, may the Almighty take my life.
I am not a fool but I am also not as smart as people sometimes think. Yes, I work very hard and believe in the maxim, ‘if you fail to plan, you have planned to fail’.
So, why is it that all the elaborate plans to sink and humiliate me always seem to hit the rocks? It is called favour – the grace of the Almighty which He visits on His children as He chooses. God’s grace defies human understanding. My survival is not by my power or my might. I am simply a very lucky man to be a beneficiary of God’s grace.
You know that the Almighty visits His children with different gifts – beauty, talent, wealth, knowledge, power, etc. Do you think that Aliko Dangote is the richest man in Africa because he is the smartest? Maybe you think that Mo Salah scores the incredible goals he puts in the net for Liverpool because he practices harder than everyone else? These are people who have discovered the Grace that the Almighty has visited them with and are deploying the grace adequately.
When on December 7, 2017, without notice, it was decided by some of my colleagues on the COSON Board that they wanted another face as Chairman of COSON, despite the fact that I did not agree with the timing nor the procedure, I took my lap top and left COSON House. I did not complain to anyone. I did not quarrel with anyone. I did not insult anyone. Next day, I addressed the staff of COSON on speaker phone and asked them to go about their duties with confidence and pride and even work harder for the organization than they had done with me as Chairman.
When on December 19, 2017 the members of COSON after 12 days of my absence ushered me into COSON House with thunderous ovation and overwhelming kindness, I cried. I cried in public because not many people live to witness such profound recognition and appreciation of their efforts.
Article 8 of the COSON Articles of Association states as follows: “Notwithstanding any provision in these articles, the General Assembly shall be the supreme organ of the society with powers to vary, annul or otherwise modify any decision or action of the Management Board”.
When the General Assembly took the decision which they expressly have the right to take under the COSON articles, to annul the December 7 decision of the board, I believed that the handful of members of our board who organized themselves to remove me, would act like true democrats and sportsmen, appreciate that whether the members were right or wrong, they acted within their powers.
I have watched TV programs during which incredibly defamatory things have been said about me and facts twisted so badly to run me down. They even wrote a very long petition to the Copyright Commission against me and asked their friends in the NCC to jump into the arena, twist the law and the rules, make pronouncements that lack rhyme nor reason and install them in office. I am a firm believer that you may go left or right but ultimately power resides with the people and not with any government official.
I have been told that a regulator is faultless and cannot be challenged. In other words, when someone regulates you, you have become a slave. If he asks you to commit suicide, you must kill yourself. After all, he is your regulator!
The great thing about the COSON experience is that it is taking all of us in Nigeria through an important civic lesson. At the end of the day, we may all learn that nobody’s power is absolute and that free citizens must remain free to say blatant ‘no’ to those who assume power to protect the people and use it against the people.
There are those who are scared that COSON will die as a result of the present issues. I disagree. Those who know the true story of COSON know that the organization is a product of the continuous challenge of impunity and lack of respect for the rule of law. COSON begins to die the day it accepts that injustice is right and the rule of law is meaningless. COSON will grow stronger and stronger when everyone in or out of government comes to the realization that creative people in Nigeria have come of age, deserve respect and no one should take them for granted any more.
Each of us have the grace of the Almighty. Do not envy me for the grace the Almighty has given me because you have yours. Find your greatness in the grace that the Almighty has given you and the sky will just be your stepping stone.
This week, by the grace of the Almighty, COSON members will meet at our Annual General Meeting and we will rise stronger than ever before.
Once again, I thank the thousands of COSON members across the country, our affiliates, hard-working management and staff, consultants, licensees, service providers and many friends of COSON at home and abroad. On December 19, 2017, with tears in my eyes, I pledged to you that I will not let you down. I will not.
See you next week.