Entertainment industry lawyer Ozako dies

The entertainment industry has been hit by the death of another vital stakeholder, Efere Ozako, a lawyer, whose frantic agitation for ‘the right of the entertainer to profit’ has changed the showbiz orientation in Nigeria.

Ozako, a Multichoice Nigeria’s Legal Adviser and prominent participant at various entertainment conferences, made a debut with a business forum, Dtalkshop, in 2006, which he ran with his cousin, Kaine Agari, author of Yellow-Yellow.

One of Efere’s closest allies, Mrs. Amaka Igwe was too stunned to say a word, when contacted on telephone. She wept quietly. Agari’s phone continued to ring unattended.

Efere, was said to have suddenly fallen ill yesterday, complaining of a headache, after returning from a trip to South Africa. He was rushed to Havana hospital by his wife. He was later referred to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, where he gave up the ghost. Unconfirmed reports say he died of cardiac arrest. He was 49-year-old.

The mood at his Surulere residence, this morning explained how much he was loved by many; neighbours cried inconsolably, so were the entertainers who thronged the house. Spotted at the residence were comedy merchant, Opa Williams and actor Fred Amata. Others where Charles Inojie, Emeka Osai, Fidelis Duker and Kate Henshaw.

Reports say the late lawyer had been penciled down for honours in the next edition of Ojez Monthly Entertainment Forum. The forum rewards celebrities who have been outstanding in their chosen careers.

Ozako was the co-founder of Dtalkshop, a legal agency ran with Agari. The agency publishes TAKAii magazine, Nigeria’s premier law tabloid. Ozako came to prominence with a workshop series tagged, Wetin Lawyers Dey Do … Sef?; a forum meant to awaken the filmmakers to the reality of their right to live and feed well through their artistic endeavors. The group frowned at the activities of pirates and similar rights infringers.

The second edition of Wetin Lawyers Dey Do… Sef? had a symposium under the theme: “The Entertainment Industry; Where is the Money? The Role of the Lawyer and other Professionals Explored and Defined”.

Ozako’s pursuit of a commercially viable and respected entertainment industry was unequalled. He saw the commercial potential of the Nigerian film industry as a situation that is largely untapped. Through Dtalkshop, he had engaged various economic experts through workshops and seminars sought to educate stakeholders on how to harness the business and professional ends of the emerging industry which has been rated in terms of quantum.

The first edition of the Dtalkshop workshop series tagged “The Law, The Lawyer and Business of Entertainment” which held on July 27, 2006 in Lagos, Nigeria had over 100 participants who were also treated to topics like “Understanding, Owning, Recognising and Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights”; “Finance 101 for the Entertainment Industry”; “A Walk Through Contracts”; and “Comparative Lessons from the UK and South Africa”.

The second event was being supported by agencies like the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Nigerian Film Corporation, National Sports Lottery, NewAge Communications and Brickwall Communications. These agencies and organizations also presented papers on their plans for the development of the industry. The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for instance, as part of its continuing effort to enlighten the public on taxation and contribute to the development of non-oil industries, addressed taxation issues in the entertainment industry.

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