For the Performing Musicians’ Employers Association of Nigeria (PMAN), it’s a new dawn.
This is coming as the Ibadan Judicial Division of the ,National Industrial Court of Nigeria, sitting at Ibadan, recently made a pronouncement uniting all the factions of PMAN under the presidency of Mr. Pretty Okafor.
Delivering judgment in a suit by way of Originating Summons brought by Comrade Obi Okwudili Casmir’s (Uncle P) faction of the association, the National Industrial Court presided over by Honourable Justice J. D. Peters, ordered that activities of PMAN under Pretty Okafor should not be interfered or tampered with by anyone or group of persons acting in whatever guise during the pendency of the regime from February 6, 2020 to February 5, 2024; and that Pretty Okafor and the NWC under his leadership should manage the affairs of PMAN for the next four years.
The judgment further affirmed the judgment of Honourable Justice Ogunbowale handed down on February 6, 2020.
Deciding on the issues tabled for determination by parties, the court analysed and declared that “the Consent Judgment of Honourable Justice Opeloye A. Ogunbowale dated February 6, 2020 in Suit No. NICN/IB/90/2019 between Sunny Neji & 7 Ors vs. Mr. Pretty Okafor & Anor was not given under fraud and deceit, mistaken of fact, misrepresentation or non-disclosure of material facts, without proper authority and is accordingly not liable to and cannot therefore be set aside not being a nullity.
“That Suit No. NICN/IB/90/2019 between Sunny Neji & 7 Ors vs. Mr. Pretty Okafor & Anor does not in any way constitute an abuse of court process. That Comrade Obi Casmir (Uncle P) and other claimants in the suit do not have the locus standi (legal right) to set aside the consent judgment in Suit No. NICN/IB/90/2019 between Sunny Neji & 7 Ors vs. Mr. Pretty Okafor & Anor.”
The court went ahead to dismiss all the reliefs sought by the claimants for being unmeritorious. Having dealt with the case of the claimants (Obi Casmir and others), Justice Peters went on to consider and decide the counter-claim brought by Sunny Neji and 8 others and declared that “Pretty Okafor and other 10 persons named in the Consent Judgment in Suit No. NICN/IB/90/2019 between Sunny Neji & 7 Ors vs. Mr. Pretty Okafor & Anor are judicially empowered to constitute the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Performing Musicians’ Employers’ Association of Nigeria (PMAN) and shall have the power to direct, run and lead PMAN at the national level and to have supervisory power on PMAN’s state chapters all over Nigeria for the period of four (4) years from the 6th day of February, 2020 to the 5th day of February, 2024
“That the counter-claimants’ (Pretty Okafor’s NWC) right to the management/leadership of PMAN cannot be interfered with by the defendants to the counter-claim (Uncle P’s group) or any other persons whether named in the judgment or not during the subsistence of the extant Consent Judgment delivered by Honourable Justice Opeloye A. Ogunbowale on 6th day of February 2020. That Mr. Pretty Okafor and his 8-member team are judicially empowered to make up the NWC of PMAN immediately with the power to direct, run and lead the PMAN at the national level and to have supervisory power on PMAN’s state chapters all over Nigeria.
“That from 6/2/2020, the effective date of the Consent Judgment of Ogunbowale J, of the National Industrial Court, any National Working Committee of PMAN whether at the national or state level stood dissolved and the defendants to the counter-claim (Uncle P and others) or any person holding himself/herself as the National President of PMAN, whether named or not, ceased to hold themselves out as such. That the defendants to the counter-claim (Uncle P and others) or any other persons are perpetually restrained from parading themselves as President or members of the National Working Committee of PMAN.”
The Judge observed that the whole gamut of issues in the PMAN tussle revolves around leadership, management and control of PMAN as an association, which has bedevilled the PMAN in the last 15 years or thereabout, and that the judgment of Justice Opeloye A. Ogunbowale of February 6, 2020 in its comprehensiveness, detail and all-encompassing depth, has fully resolved all the issues.
According to the judge, “all parties involved in the PMAN crisis are all members of the association and are important stakeholders who are desirous of peace in and progress of the PMAN so that it can take its rightful place in the entertainment industry in this country. That being the case, the Consent Judgment of Ogunbowale J of 6/2/2020 provides the ample opportunity for all the stakeholders in PMAN to commence the journey of a New Beginning.”
He admonished members and stakeholders to put aside personal interest and selfish aggrandizement and support the court sanctioned present leadership of the association which can only last for the stated duration.