Musicians in AFRICA by this time, were very genuinely naive about the recording business. Out of sheer ignorance they trusted the record companies and accepted, unperturbed what ever returns on sales, record companies declared. They were happy collecting what ever sum on royalty paid them. The domination and control of the trade was hence completed in this unequal and one sided affair.
Thus the musicians, untutored in the bargaining game were left unprotected and without leadership. They were like the proverbial sheep without a shepherd. The educated few in the bands who were employed and serving in government and private agencies, had no desires to become professionals. They were content doing music part time. The road to professionalism was, "precarious and strewn with uncertainties. They declared.
Equal opportunity for popular musicians is not practised in Nigeria. Popular musicians were completely alone to themselves. They have no recourse no National social or welfare schemes or anything. Side musicians could bot even buy instruments of their own. The band leaders and proprietors of hotels controlled everything and the progress of musicianship in the country.
There was no television at the time. The press in those days did not consider popular musicians worthy of news coverage, and so their problems never got aired in the public.
In 1957, three years after Pa Fela Sowande had nudged popular musicians to organised themselves into some form of an association for the protection of their labour, a bunch of left wing trade union activists infiltrated the rank and file of popular musicians and took over the union, known then as the Nigerian Union of Musicians. N.U.M.
These men were dedicated and serious in their determination to take popular musicianship into the trade union's organisations. Amongst them, Mr. Amefuna Ikoro, a dynamic hard-working activist. Well connected internationaly, who became the General secretary. Others and whose influences indirectly or directly guided their actions were, Agu Norris. Dare King, Kunle Maja, Zeal Onyia, Paul Epu, Dagogo N'zeribe, Wahab Goodluck, Tom Borah, Ben Lawrence and Teddy Ibiama. They brought ideology to the musicians union. Tried to reform the status of popular Musicianship apparently not in the statute book. Talked one on one with (individual) musicians, and lectured on the importance of popular music in the national economy. Popular musicians' right of negotiation along trade organisations both national and internationally, collective bargaining and scale. It should be admitted that during their reign, musicianship,and popular musicians learnt much, became more vocal and organized and successive, They were able to make demands on the government.
For example during the independence Ball preparations. Government ceremonial committee protocol wanted the Great Edmondo Ross to perform. The union, of course, did not find the move patriotic and appropriate and decided to act. The union protested and lobbied vigorously. At the end, the Prime Minister Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, was persuaded to turn down that decision. The musicians won and there was no Edmondo Ross from London.
Also to their glory, scholarship for the first, and last time, since then, were offered to popular musicians to study abroad in the Soviet Union. Donations of musical instruments by China and Checoslovakia came in response to the programme to educate popular musicians and teach them the basic requirement in Music Theory.
Things were looking rosy and bright for popular Musicians. They had hoped their profession will be given the lawful recognition. But they were to be disappointed. The government declined to accord industrial status to popular musicianship. There were of couse disappointments in the leadership and rank and file that their hope was not realized.
Inspite of the visible relative successes, we have recorded above, Government however declined, and withheld recognition of popular musicianship, as a labour related organisation.