The Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Nigeria’s biggest copyright collective management organisation, has announced the death of one of its directors, Hon. John Ewelukwa Udegbunam.
Udegbunam, nicknamed ‘The Rock’ of COSON board, passed on in the evening of July 3, 2021, after a brief illness, at Holy Rosary Specialist Hospital, Waterside Onitsha.
He was 63 years old.
A statement issued Sunday night by COSON, Nigeria’s royalty managers for the music industry, described the late Udegbunam as “vastly respected”, adding that he had, from inception, “been a member of the Management Board of COSON, Nigeria’s most respected and successful copyright collective management organisation, acting as a rock in the COSON foundation.”
Udegbunam was the immediate past National President of the powerful Music Label Owners & Recording Industries Association of Nigeria (MORAN), Nigeria’s biggest association of owners of copyright in sound recordings.
“The no nonsense activist was a trained musicologist, composer, music teacher, producer and label owner and National Music Director of the Praise & Worship Ministry of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Nigeria (CCRN). He was CEO of Eweson Communications Ltd.
“Due to the high esteem in which he was held in the Catholic Church, when Honourable Udegbunam buried his mother in Oraeri Anambra State about five years ago, over 40 catholic priests stormed Oraeri to perform the Requiem mass,” the statement recalled.
Udegbunam was also a staunch member of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Anambra State and was once a councillor, in the state, under APGA. He was said to have played a critical role in the recent emergence of Prof Chukwuma Soludo as APGA governorship candidate in Anambra State, in the forthcoming November election.
The magnificent COSON House in Ikeja, headquarters of the CMO, has been enveloped in mourning with the news of passing of Udegbunam.
A COSON Board Member, Chief Uche Emeka Paul said, “I am devastated. My heart is broken. A great Iroko has fallen. I spoke with him yesterday (Saturday) morning. Oh God! Why this time?”.
The COSON General Manager, Mrs. Bernice Eriemeghe-Ashibuogwu said, “It is sad. I spoke with him just this Monday and we chatted and laughed.”
Afro juju exponent Sir Shina Peters, another member of the COSON Board, said, “Oh my God, not this time, I’m just speechless and sad.”
Engr. Sharon Esco Wilson, yet another director of COSON expressed grief at the loss of the one he described as the “COSON family arrow”.
COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, said: “I am beyond sad. I am devastated. I do not cry over the death of men but here, I am weeping. I used to call him Madu Asa (seven persons in one). If you have Hon Udegbunam with you, it’s like having seven persons behind you. He was unshakable when it comes to standing with the truth, even when everyone else is telling lies. He had great strength of character. The great COSON family will make sure that Honourable John Ewelukwa Udegbunam who was one of us and precious to us, is buried like the great man he was.”