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Opinions of Monday, 3 September 2018

Columnist: George Hyde

Zylofon Media Menzgold launch/concert in Nigeria; Why our artistes failed and my observation!

I was excited when I heard Zylofon Media/Menzgold is opening another continental branch in West Africa’s biggest and most populated country, Nigeria. My excitement stems from the fact that in Nigeria they don’t only have the numbers but they perfectly understand the entertainment business.

Many people have advocated for Nana Appiah Mensah to penetrate the Nigerian market because they cherish business opportunity and they love their own. The argument as I monitored on social media is that, unlike Ghana or Ghanaians who kept criticizing and insulting the ‘Messiah’ Nana Appiah Mensah for coming to the invest massively in the entertainment industry, our Nigerian folks will embrace and ‘worship’ him if he comes to invest in their entertainment industry.

The arduous vision of Nana Appiah Mensah, CEO of Menzgold and Zylofon Group, is to see his brands in every nook and cranny of the African continent as well as the rest of the world, thereby creating employment opportunities for the unemployed youth.

Finally, we were told that the much anticipated launch/concert was coming off on 24th August at the Eko Conventional Center. It is the most prestigious concert venue in Nigeria, and can host up to 6000 people. It is situated at Plot 1415 Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island.

On the bill, were all the signees on the Zylofon Music record label, namely; Shatta Wale, Stonebwoy, Becca, Kumi Guitar, Joyce Blessing and Obibini, while 2Baba, Patoranking, M.I, Phyno, Olamide, Ycee, Tekno and Niniola made up the list for the Nigerian hosts. From all indications as per the list of artistes, the event promised to be a mega concert.

As an entertainment socialist and analyst, I have been following Zylofon Media keenly because of Nana Appiah Mensah. For years unending, players in the Ghanaian entertainment industry have cried and needs a savior like him to revive the industry and place it on a different pedestal.

The multi-millionaire himself told us that he remains resolute and believes something good could be made out of the industry. He promised his company intends to bring professionals to execute and plan events spearhead by Zylofon Media.

So I was thrilled when I got to know that one of the finest event organisers, Nii Amarh Amarteifio, who has been the main event coordinator for Miss Ecowas Pageant, which have been held in most West Africa countries, later moved to work with Media Excel Production as Head of Event and then Class Media Group as Deputy Head of Talk and Head of Event, has been appointed as Head of Event at Zylofon Media.

This is one gentleman when you have as your event coordinator or stage manager, you are sure of a good production. His experience in Nigeria as far as I know is unmatched. I was also excited when Zylofon Media announced in April this year that Arnold Asamoah Baidoo and Halifax Ansah Addo, are the latest to join the Zylofon Media family.

He is the Chief Executive of Halifax Entertainment – an events and talent management company. Halifax has been organizing Ga –Mashie Homowo Bash every year at Bukom. This year, I was there myself and it was great. I saw this same Nii Amarh guy handling and coordinating the stage and anybody who attended this year event can tell you it was well coordinated.

Arnold Asamoah Baidoo has been a board member for Ghana Event Awards since its inception and nobody has to tell you about his rich experience when it comes to events organization. Arnold, has gained much experience in the arts industry. He has served as Board Member for the People’s Celebrity Awards and 3Music Awards.

Also, there is Lawrence Nana Asimah Hanson aka Bulldog, who is the Artiste/Repertoire Manager of Zylofon Music but we all know the dexterity of Bulldog when it comes to event planning and execution. He and his team have been organizing the Bass Awards and for all the years it has been a great show.

The move of experienced Events/PR specialist, George Quaye, to Menzgold Ghana came as a surprise to many. And we are all know Aboagye when it comes to events. He is a gem.

So, if you have all these gurus in your company (Zylofon Media) who are paid huge sums of money monthly and have been given branded company cars (which I strongly believe they deserve) how come all these people were not part of the planning and execution of Menzgold/Zylofon Nigeria Concert?

I was in Nigeria and what I saw is appalling. I was told the concert was managed by State Of Mind Entertainment Limited. A company owned by Becca’s husband, Tobi Sanni, and that tells me why the Nigerians dominated and humiliated the Ghanaian Team including our own musician.

This is an event owned and financed by Menzgold and Zylofon. Therefore, the stage, content and time allocations to performing artiste MUST be controlled by the Menzgold/Zylofon Team in collaboration with Tobi’s Team.

So the big question is what went wrong? How come Menzgold/Zylofon Team didn’t know this? What role was played by the Menzgold/Zylofon Team? Who was the leader of the Menzgold/Zylofon Team?

So I made my checks to get answers for all these lingering questions. I was told that there is this lady called Sika and a gentleman called Aaron. I was told they were the main guys who collaborated with Nigerian organisers to put the concert together, and Sammy Flex, Gh Kweku and Mel Davies were roped in later.

Then I asked, are these two guys (Sika and Aaron) event organisers? What is their track record? What events have they organized in Ghana before they were given this huge task to lead a Menzgold/Zylofon Team to execute a mega concert in Nigeria?

My checks at Zylofon tells me these are guys in charge of Business Affairs at Zylofon Media. Sika is the boss and Aaron is her assistance. So, I was wondering what will make Nana Appiah Mensah ignore the likes of Nii Amarh, the Head of Events at Zylofon, Halifax, Bulldog, Arnold, and Aboagye etc and allow the Business Affairs department (Sika and Aaron) to collaborate with Tobi and his guys to organize this mega concert? What is their (Sika and Aaron) background?

Ladies and Gentleman, I found out that Sika and Aaron were not even an entertainment or industry people. Sika was a worker at MTN and Aaron worked at NADMO before they joined Zylofon Media as Business Affairs Managers.

For me, that explains everything that happened in Nigeria. Because I realized the Zylofon Team doesn’t seem to have control over the event. The team appears clueless and the few times I spoke to Aboagye and Halifax who were in Nigeria, they didn’t give the impression to know what is going on.

The Aaron guy, who I saw was very busy both at the hotel and at the event ground, looks very miserable. At a point, I asked him what is program line-up for the event is like…..he told me he will get back to me because he is busy.

On Friday Morning at the opening of Menzgold/Zylofon office at 1437 Sanusi Fafunwa Street, Victoria Island, most of the Nigerian dignitaries were present at the venue and there was no SINGLE official or representative from Menzgold/Zylofon Media.

Later, I saw a gentleman and some few Zylofon Cash guys (I recognized them because there were wearing Zylofon Cash and I have met them during the Zylofon Cash Premier League launch). The gentleman, I was told is the Operations Manager of Zylofon Media. His name is Flexo.

The opening ceremony was performed without the presence of the CEO Nana Appiah Mensah. I was told he was not in town at that time. The whole event was poorly coordinated. There was no programme outline with assigned responsibilities.

What surprised me was, although, most of the Zylofon celebrities were in town at that time, none of them was aware of the opening ceremony. Later in the day, when I met some of the celebrities during sound-check, they told me they were not aware of the opening ceremony and they don’t even know where the office is at.

During the sound-check, I saw Bulldog, Halifax, Sammy Flex, Aboagye, and GH Kweku; whilst I got the impression that Sammy Flex and GH Kweku have an idea about the evening event, the rest (Bulldog, Aboagye and Halifax) have no clue.

I then asked myself what the heck is going on at Zylofon Media. Who is this Sika and Aaron who are so powerful yet knows next to nothing about event organizing? Why do we have these industry guys (Bulldog, Halifax and Aboagye) in Nigeria and there are not in charge of anything?

Why is their Head of Event, Nii Amarh not in Nigeria to spearhead this event? Why is Nana Appiah Mensah not putting his best foot forward knowing very well this is a mega event outside Ghana and you need people with the requisite experience to collaborate with the Nigerian counterpart (State of the Mind Entertainment) to deliver a world-class show?

Right from that time, I knew our Ghanaian musicians are going to face challenges with their time allocations and performances. There were no arranged radio interviews for our artistes, no Television interviews to promote their songs before the concert. Our organisers were just clueless.

According to Zylofon FM discussion on radio on Monday, I heard someone saying the fans were 'paid and bused' to the auditorium to cheer and dance to all the artiste on the show, but they decided to cheer ONLY the Nigerian arts.

The question is, who went for the people and paid them? Was there any Ghanaian rep within the team that went round to bus the fans to the place to know indeed they were told to CHEER all the artistes including Ghanaians and not ONLY Nigerian arts?

I don't know how Zylofon Media made their invitation and distribution of tickets for the fans to come to the show. I don't know whether they gave out tickets to radio and TV stations to share via on air or off air. Or they went there to do the distribution of tickets themselves.

I am still finding it difficult as to how they shared the tickets because I hear it was a free show, not a paid show.

I wasn’t surprised that our Nigerian counterpart had a field day. The show was ran and controlled by the Nigerians. The Zylofon Team didn’t provide leadership. They have no idea and no experience. It was pathetic.

On Tuesday, I heard Arnold Asamoah Baidoo, the PRO for Zylofon Music, speaking on radio about the event. How is that possible? Arnold was not in Nigeria. How can he speak to an issue that happened in Nigeria when he was not there?

I checked with some of the productions guys who were in Nigeria why Arnold wasn’t in Nigeria, since all the Zylofon Music artistes were there to perform? I was told there was list prepared by the Business Affairs department and his name wasn’t on the list.

I asked again, who is these guys (Sika and Aaron) who determines who goes to Nigeria or not? What is the point in recruiting experienced industry people and not allowing them to work?

Monitoring social media on Friday, one of the events people were talking about was the 3-days International Youth Empowerment Summit (IYES 2018) hosted by Prophet Brain Amoateng. They were talks about how successful and well-coordinated the 3-day event was.

I saw pictures and videos on social media….the crème de la crème of our celebrities were there. Top Gospel musicians performed at the events. And guess who was the Stage Director and Coordinator? Nii Amarh Amarteifio, the Event Manager for Zylofon Media.

What even beats my mind is, this is a guy who knows the Nigerian terrain very well. He has coordinated shows in Abuja, River state, Bayelsa , Lagos, etc. So, why would they leave such a guy out in an event in Nigeria? I have heard the CEO of Media Excel Productions, spoke about this guy on Peace fm Entertainment Review after the successful SP Kofi Sarpong Concert last year.

We are all supporting and praying for Nana Appiah Mensah to succeed. And we know he will succeed. But what is the point in praying for Nana to succeed, when he has the men to do the work yet refused to allow them to work?

What is the essence of putting round pegs in square holes? When you have great guys like George Quaye, Bulldog, Halifax, Nii Amarh, Arnold, Sammy Flex etc in your fold, how can you fail with your events?

An organizational structure helps define the roles of, and the relationships between, the different people, departments and functions within an Organization. It helps specify the division of work and the hierarchy, authority and formal lines of communication.

Events are a serious business and if it must be done it must be done well. The investment in establishing a media house is quite huge; therefore running that enterprise must not be done by amateurs …it will not succeed. Is quite unthinkable to invest $800,000 in an event and produce such an outcome.

The last I was reading a post on your IG when somebody was cautioning you to “shine your eyes before it is too late”. For him spending huge some of monies to employ these professionals is “waste “of money.

As much as disagree with him, I also believe putting the right structures in place to steer affairs and recoup returns of your huge investment is the way to go. Your pledge to “fix this industry” depends largely on the people you put in the helm of affairs.

One man can’t do everything especially when there is no track record to reference but I believe with the right Team and proper structure you can led the Team to the promise land.

Nana Appaih Mensah over to you!