The Performing Musicians Employers’ Association of Nigeria (PMAN) was founded in 1984 by Christy Essien-Igbokwe and Sunny Okosun with a clear mission to safeguard and promote the interests of musicians in Nigeria. Recognized under the Trade Unions Act by the Nigerian government, PMAN is widely perceived as an organization that advocates for its members’ welfare. However, a recent decision by PMAN to ban the staging of “Plateau Got Talent” after a lackluster second season has raised questions about the association’s authority to restrict non-member show promoters.
Section 5 of the Trade Union Act 2005 (Amended) emphasizes that joining a trade union is not obligatory. PMAN’s constitution explicitly outlines its objectives, primarily focused on the well-being of its members. It defines PMAN as an association of musicians who engage the services of musical instrumentalists, producers, entertainment managers, and arrangers for mutual benefits and welfare. Furthermore, PMAN is committed to fostering the study, practice, and dissemination of music and musicology throughout Nigeria.
PMAN’s other objectives include:
Facilitating negotiations between the association and representatives of individuals or entities using musicians’ works.
Addressing matters related to the above negotiations.
Establishing negotiation channels at the national level.
Ensuring the equitable enforcement of negotiated agreements.
Supporting members based on their musical interests and geographical areas of operation.
Providing training and education opportunities for members.
Advocating for the protection and enforcement of copyright laws.
Safeguarding the creative and performing rights of member musicians.
Entering agreements with various stakeholders for royalty payments to members.
Notably, PMAN’s constitution lacks any provision that empowers it to ban show promoters. Its role in terms of sanctions is confined to its members and is outlined in Rule 14 of the constitution.
In the case of the “Plateau Got Talent” ban, PMAN’s leadership in Plateau seemingly overstepped its authority. This responsibility lies with the Plateau Tourism Cooperation (PSTC), which is mandated by the Plateau Revenue Law of 2020 to issue licenses to various entities, including hoteliers, bar and restaurant owners, bakeries, clubs, tourism consultants, event centers, and promoters. PMAN’s role should have been limited to condemning and petitioning the appropriate authority, which could then investigate, warn, seal (ban), or revoke licenses, as a government agency. Any agreement with PSTC should not transform PMAN into a regulatory body but should maintain its role as a union.
It’s essential to uphold the correct procedures and avoid setting a wrong precedent.
Tok Morgan (BigBlunt) Broadcaster Journalist 27th October 2023