Battle for the soul of music

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For the Performing Musicians Employers' Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Tuesday October 31, 2006 will remain the darkest day in the history of the association.

It was the day members threw decorum to the wind and turned its national secretariat on 18 Adegbola Street, Ikeja, to a theatre of war, unleashing violence, terror and causing a breach of public peace.

According to PMAN Secretary General, Okey Dike, what started like a mild drama between a faction led by juju maestro, Admiral Dele Abiodun and staff of the secretariat later snowballed into uncontrollable mayhem and blood-letting, as a result of which the security man on duty, Mr. Omo Patrick lost four of his teeth, and the association's National Treasurer, Alhaji Kabiru Kehinde was allegedly matcheted on the head. Hapless workers at the secretariat including elected President, Mr. Bolaji Rosiji and the body's image maker were not spared from the alleged assault by Dele Abiodun faction, assisted by policemen and court-bailiffs.

As at press time, Daily Sun gathered that the injured national treasurer is still receiving treatment at the Intensive Care Unit of an undisclosed hospital.

Speaking at a press conference held at the secretariat shortly after the incident to clear airs on the issue, Rosiji told journalists that by invading the secretariat, with an intent to forcefully take it over, the musician acted contrary to the Lagos High Court Ruling of October 12, 2006 which declared the reinstatement of the competence of Chief Fred Agbaje a long-time lawyer of the association to defend Dele Abiodun in a substantive suit filed by the association to stop him (Abiodun) from parading himself as PMAN president.

Flanked by elder artistes, Fatai Rolling Dollar, Bolojo Exponent; Chief Josy Friday, his Legal Adviser, Rotimi Abimbola and the Corporate Affairs Manager, Rosiji explained that the association's objection to Agbaje's continued appearance for Dele Abiodun was based on the fact that the constitutional lawyer is privy to some privileged information, having been PMAN's lawyer for close to ten years.
He berated the opposition for acting under the guise of serving the workers a notice of the court judgement of October 12, only to force its way in, and evict all the employees.

To worsen the situation, Rosiji further disclosed that all attempts by him and the Secretary General, Dike to bring the situation under control were rebuffed by Abiodun and his group.
According to him, it took the intervention of men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) from Area F Command to restore normalcy in the area.

Corroborating Rosiji's argument, his Legal Adviser, Abimbola told journalists that the suit before the court required it to determine the competence or otherwise of Chief Fred Agbaje to defend Abiodun, but not for the judge to make a pronouncement of the substantive suit which hearing is fixed for Monday, November 13, 2006.

According to him, the October 12 ruling which upheld Agbaje's competence to defend Abiodun, contains pronouncements that gave opportunity for appeal including the status of the contending parties.
Meanwhile, Rosiji has filed an appeal against the October 12 ruling.

When contacted, Dele Abiodun in a telephone conversation told Daily Sun that he was actually at the PMAN secretariat on that Tuesday to assume office. But he debunked Rosiji's claims that his (Abiodun's) men attacked the staff at the secretariat and inflicted injuries on them. According to him, it was Rosiji's men that formented trouble which later aggravated the fracas that made people to sustain serious injuries.