WHY Does Anybody Want To Kill Tony Okoroji? – Reprise
By Tony Okoroji
YOU may have read this before. With recent events, I just thought I should readjust and serve it for breakfast today. Please, indulge me.
About seven months ago at NTA in Victoria Island, I ran into my old friend, the mathematical one, the great Segun Odegbami, one of the most iconic footballers our continent has ever produced.
Sure, I am an unapologetic fan of Segun Odegbami. Apart from his football wizardry which made the late famous football commentator, Ernest Okonkwo, label him ‘mathematical’, Segun Odegbami is brilliant. I am convinced that if Segun did not have his great football skills, he would still have been very famous. He is a great writer, a smart sports presenter and an interesting thinker on a broad range of issues with a great personality.
Our meeting on the day was completely unplanned. At the office of the self-effacing DG of NTA, Yakubu Mohammed, with whom Segun went to school, we shared lunch and I was made to listen to Segun shower encomiums on me.
Segun had been one of my presenters at the main hall of the National Theatre at the famous Nigerian Music Awards which I organized in the early 90s. Thereafter, we found that we had mutual inclinations and mutual friends and thus developed significant comradery. We however lost touch for a long while and I did not realize that Segun Odegbami still felt strongly about my modest contribution to the progress of our nation.
I did not come to NTA to meet with Segun or to have lunch with the DG. I had come to discuss the proper coverage of the 2017 COSON Week, the monster eight-day spectacle, then about to roll out. I met lunch and suddenly realized that I had not eaten all day. I needed little persuasion to join.
While people like Segun Odegbami admire my long-term commitment to the good of our nation and the things I believe in, there are those who cannot stand me. They hate my guts. They think that I am arrogant and too full of myself. Some think that I know too much. Some of them verily believe that I am exploiting the music industry to make myself super rich. Last year, one of them, a well-known Nigerian movie producer, in a moment of deep disdain, exclaimed to people around him, “that Tony Okoroji is going to be killed soon. He thinks that he is the only one in Nigeria who knows about copyright!”
I have taken nothing from the guy who said those despicable words. I have never exchanged words with him. I have given everything I can to make the industry in which he operates have a more favorable environment so that he can make more money. I actually admire the work that the guy does and I commend him at any opportunity that I have. The only difference I can think of is that he once sent me an inbox message on Facebook asking for N200,000. I had no money to give him and told him so.
But I understand what drives people like him crazy. They cannot figure out how I continue to get things done despite their many failed prophesies that I would go down and their prayers that I fail.
My secret is simple. I do not believe in luck so I work hard, so hard that people with little commitment or passion cannot understand it. I do not want to operate in ignorance so I study hard and end up with ‘A’s in the university. I do not like failure. Ask people around me and they will tell you that I always prepare very hard for whatever I have to do including the events that I produce and the organizations that I lead.
I believe that hate is very destructive so I operate in an atmosphere of love and try to spread love wherever and whenever I can. I believe that a man’s word is his bond so I try very hard to keep to the promises that I make. I verily believe that whatever you steal, you will lose with interest so I refuse to take that which is not mine. I know that my redeemer liveth so I drive on a full tank of faith. And my God has never let me down.
I am convinced that if my guy who foretold that I would be killed would apply some of the above principles, he will find true happiness and won’t be dreaming of my death. He is destroying himself waiting for me to die. I really wonder why anyone would want me killed. Will the person inherit my life?
Apart from not eating all day when I met Segun Odegbami that afternoon, he probably would be surprised to learn that I had not had a bath. I had spent the entire night in the office with the graphic artistes and designers working on the events of the COSON Week. Our work had spilled into the following morning and we kept at it because we realized we had little time left. That was when it struck me that I had to head to Victoria Island for a scheduled meeting with the entire NTA team. I simply ‘dry cleaned’ myself and changed clothes and moved on.
Back from Victoria Island, I had people waiting and I got into a battery of meetings. Thereafter, I began work all night editing and proof reading the Nigerian Music Machine, the all gloss COSON Week journal that must go into circulation before the week. In between, I had to write Saturday Breakfast. I had been working flat out and had really not slept for several days. I was still struggling to get the funding to back the events of the COSON Week but I was happy, very happy. While a lot of people get their fun drinking pepper soup and washing it down with some beer, I find happiness in working and making things around me better.
I have asked God to use me to do good things and he has. I know that he will take me when he is done with me and until then, I will continue to drive on a full tank of faith.
See you next week.