The brewing controversy surrounding the Europe tour of pop artiste, Orisefemi. is growing into uncontrollable proportions with the main actors throwing the punches of accusations at each other.
The singer has been accused of absconding without fulfilling contractual obligations of a leg of the tour in Europe for which he has been allegedly paid.
According to reports, Orisefemi and show promoter, Alex Ozone departed Nigeria on November 8, 2014 and they landed in Padova, Italy on November 9 ahead of the month-long European tour of 10 cities at the rate of €1,500 per show.
Before the tour, Czech Republic-based Urban Entertainment, through Alex Ozone, signed the tour contract papers with Orisefemi’s ‘Arogunmente Sound Entertainment, spelling out the details.
The story making rounds at the moment now is that despite signing a contract for the shows, Orisefemi ran away from his hotel room in Czech republic and returned to Nigeria to demand for more money.
According to the tour organiser, Alex Ozone, the ‘Double Wahala’ star had been paid €6,500 which should cover his fees for 5 shows but has only performed at two shows before disappearing and turning around to ask for more money.
NET spoke to both parties, and below is a narration of their versions of the story.
Otherwise called Danku within the Nigerian music industry, Yusuf Adebola is Oritsefemi’s manager and he spoke to NET exclusively on the saga trailing his artiste’s European tour.
According to him, ‘Matthew Ohio was supposed to package the tour, I’m sure wherever he is now, he’ll either be laughing at us or feeling pity for us. I didn’t give Alex Ozone the approval but because he’s a friend of the house he took it up and started promoting him and convinced us that he could handle it.
He just got to know Femi this year, through me. This same guy now came to my house to let us know we need to start the tour travel processing, so he collected our passports with the aim of going to the embassy to get visas and other documents, instead he kept my own passport in his house and only submitted Oritsefemi’s own along with his own claiming that he manages Oritsefemi at the embassy.
He went to represent himself as the manager and kept my own passport at home, I just went to ransack his house yesterday and picked it up under a cupboard in his house where he kept it.
Contrary to Ozone’s claim, we were not paid any upfront payment, he’s probably the one that collected the money from the show promoters and got himself stuck and when their documents came out, I told them that we won’t travel if my documents don’t arrive but he convinced us that my visa would be approved during the week and I’ll join them there, so the plan for was Oritsefemi to go with him and when I join them we’ll kick off the tour, but since that didn’t happen because he didn’t even process my visa, and my artiste wasn’t comfortable with the arrangement.
After about a week, he called me that he wasn’t comfortable with the setting and immediately I got him a return ticket and flew him back home, because when they got to Europe, they stole Oritsefemi’s passport to keep him stranded with them.
Ozone can’t claim he paid my artist, because he didn’t sign a contact with my artiste, he signed it with me on behalf of my label, so why would he pay my artiste if he’s really sensible. I told him I am not concerned about that.
According to Ozone’s version of the story, Oritsefemi had earlier travelled with him to Europe only to return to Nigeria to demand for more money before coming back and absconding yet again.
Oritsefemi’s manager said: ‘It’s a lie, nothing of such happened, if I even want to take him on as regards the contract we signed, the contract stated that he was supposed to arrange visas and travel documents for 4 members of the team, but I only gave him mine and that of Oritsefemi and yet he didn’t deliver on it, he kept my own in his house, Ozone is a fraudstaer, I have known him for several years and he should be jailed.’
Alex Ozone, in his initial reaction to the controversy on his Facebook wall wrote:
‘That’s how Orisefemi abscond from his hotel back to naija without notice and start demanding for extra money outside the signed Tour contract fee… Yet he was paid upfront money and everything was provided for him….. WHICH WAY MY PEOOLE?.’
In an exclusive interview with NET, Alex Ozone narrated his own version of the story saying: ‘This story came up because some people are just fools, I was the one that did Davido’s first European tour which was very successful, I was the one that brought Terry G, Chuddy K and others to Europe for their last European tours too and it all went smoothly. This is what I do, it is very expensive to bring an artiste from Nigeria to Europe, I don’t gain anything from it, I’m just doing it to promote Nigerian culture and music. They all know the situation, there’s no money its just to promote their brands.
‘Early this year when I was promoting Chuddy K’s tour, Danku and Oritsefemi came to my office and they said they want me to package their European tour, but I told them I couldn’t do it because at that time I was busy with Chuddy K’s tour so I linked them up with one of my DJs in Europe, but it didn’t work out because the Dj said Orisefemi’s brand wasn’t big enough in Europe. So when I finished with Chuddy K I told them I’ll help them out and I pulled some strings and spoke with my sponsor, Urban Entertainment. We agreed on a contract of €1,500 per show for 10 cities. The tour was supposed to have been in August, but Orisefemi postponed it because that was when he went for the NEA award in New York, then shortly afterwards the Ebola crisis happened so getting visas was a little difficult.
‘So because of the timings and urgency of the tour, when I took their visas to the embassy, they said it was already late, so I persuaded them and the lady said the best they could do was to do an express visa for Oritsefemi which would be ready in 4 days and she’ll prepare a first document for Danku so he could use it to re-apply later, but because I know his manager Danku very well, I was worried and I told Oritsefemi about it and he told me not to worry about it, that he’ll handle Danku’s case.’
When quizzed further on the allegations that he never took Danku’s passport to the embassy, Ozone said: ‘When the woman said both couldn’t work out, I told my boy to go and pick it up from her and give to Danku so he can use it to re-apply later by himself. All these while I was speaking to Oritsefemi about it but he assured me not to bother that I should give him upfront payment for the job and I paid Orisefemi N300,000 which is an equivalent of €1,500 and I later learnt that Oritsefemi even lied to Danku that I gave him N150,000. So we got to Italy and he played his first show in Padova and the following day we were supposed to connect a flight to Czech Republic where they had already booked his hotel for one month and paid, but we missed our flight, then the following day, Oritsefemi woke up and said he was going to Rome to see his friend, I advised him against it but he insisted only for us to discover that he came back to Nigeria after spending just 4 days.’
According to Ozone, he was puzzled but remained calm until he spoke to Oritsefemi.
‘When I discovered he came back to Nigeria, I called him up and asked why, he said his new management is not aware that he’s on tour. At that point I was pissed, because it’s his job to explain to his new management that before they signed him, he had already signed a tour contract and the next thing, he requested for €5,000 before he could come back. We paid him the money through Western Union and he came back and even did a video drop for two shows confirming he’ll be performing at those cities. He performed at one show on Wednesday, then on Thursday morning we went to wake him up from his hotel room but he was nowhere to be found, the receptionist said he checked out around 5am only for us to see that he’s back in Nigeria again. I was very pissed, so I called him again and he said he wants to be paid another money before he returns. The problem now is even if we agree to give him the money, what is the guarantee that he won’t run back and demand for more money, and his manager, Danku is aware of all these, he’s even the one demanding for more money. So far he has just performed at two shows, he’s been paid €6,500 and he has a contract of €1,500 per show for 10 shows which means he’s owing us now.
NET quizzed Ozone how he was supposed to be paid for his effort on the tour, and he said: ‘The show actually sells for €2,500, we pay the artiste €1,500 as agreed and we spend the rest on logistics, flight, feeding, accommodation and all.’
Between Danku and Alex Ozone
For those in the know, Oritsefemi’s manager, Danku and popular show promoter, Alex Ozone used to be very good friends and their friendship dates back to 2010 as rookie artistes’ managers. While Alex Ozone ran a media and entertainment company called 03 Media, Danku also runs the defunct E-74 Entertainment.
They have both worked with several pop stars in the industry in different capacities as mangers, A&R, publicists and all. The last project they worked on was the Terry G project in which Danku served as Terry G’s manager while Ozone was the A&R manager before they both parted ways with Terry G in January 2014.
Since then, Danku moved on to become Oritsefemi’s full time manager while Ozone embarked on the Chuddy K 2014 European tour project.[Online Nigeria]