Majek Fashek, Charles Novia in war of words
When Majek Fashek, in 2016, claimed Timi Dakolo “stole” his song, ‘Send Down the Rain,’ (an allegation Timi has long denied), and said he would take him to court, so many people had thought the veteran musician was all bark but no bite.
But it seems the musician is going ahead with his threat as he said he intends to sue Timi Dakolo and Charles Novia for “giving Timi the right to work on the song”.
And with the latest development, both Majek and Charles Novia engaged in a war of words when Saturday Beats reached out to them to get their side of the story.
Majek Fashek’s music business consultant, Omenka Uzoma, who spoke on his client’s behalf, said that by March, they would begin the lawsuit process. He gave reasons why it took this long to instigate a legal action.
He said, “We are very serious about suing Timi Dakolo and Charles Novia. It took us this long to take action because we have not been in Nigeria for a while. When we came back, we noticed that our work had been infringed upon and we sent a direct message to the parties involved with the hope that they would come around but they did not. Since we initially spoke out that we were going to sue them last year, we had expected that they would reach out to me or Majek but they did not. We just came back to Nigeria in December and we have been putting finishing touches to our new apartment. We have given them time and since they did not reach out to us, I decided to contact my solicitors in Nigeria, America and the UK. They are all aware and they are about to follow up on the matter starting from March.”
Uzoma claimed Majek is very angry with Charles saying, “Charles Novia knows that Majek has had his ups and downs in life and he capitalised on that. Majek was not aware of any transaction and he did not receive any money. They said that Majek has a short memory but he remembers the name of the studio he recorded the song, the name of the street the studio is located, the people present in the studio and this happened over 30 years ago. He is saying these things because he feels that once people hear Majek, what comes to their mind is the image of a drunk. But he should not worry. Majek does not have a contract with Charles Novia; even a managerial contract does not exist between them. Where was Charles Novia in 2005? He was not different from the people in Alaba but it was Majek that gave him a name when he allowed him market his album, Little Patience. Majek was in America when Charles Novia came to beg him for help. Charles Novia said he wanted to delve into music and he wanted to become popular. Majek talked to his boss in California and vouched for Charles. Majek also did this so that his fans in Nigeria could get a feel of his music and Charles Novia and the American company went into an agreement with Majek vouching for Charles Novia. They said that Charles Novia was to pay some certain amount of money to the company but he did not complete the payment and that caused problems between Majek and his boss in America. It was part of Majek’s downfall and he lost out in America. Majek was not paid a dime for the album.”
Uzoma still alleged Majek is not aware of the contract with Timi Dakolo.
“Even the contract they said they have with Timi Dakolo, they just put Majek’s name on it but his signature is not there. If someone wants to work on a legend’s song, at least there would be some sort of rapport between them. But this was not the case with Timi Dakolo. Majek does not even know him neither does he know what he looks like.”
Even as people have the perception that Majek decided to sue Timi and Charles because he is broke, Uzoma denied that perception claiming Majek is currently residing in an apartment that costs N7m a year.
“For those who think that Majek is broke and wants to use this law suit to make some money, they should know that he lives in an apartment that costs N7m per annum in Magodo. Who is Timi Dakolo? Majek’s song is currently used in the United States to raise funds to feed Africa. I signed the contracts in the United Kingdom for the song, We are Not Afraid. No one in Africa has the kind of international reputation Majek Fashek has. He is too big for all of them and that is why he did not want to talk initially. Where people should have begun to suspect him was when he said he paid N500, 000 for the song. It is like paying N40, 000 for a 2017 car. This is disrespectful. Majek started having his problem because of Charles Novia,” he said.
Responding to the allegations levelled against him, veteran film maker, Charles Novia was upset because he felt his name is being tarnished. In his words, he said, “Majek and his manager Uzoma must be high on stupid weed.”
Talking more on what transpired, Novia said, “What do they mean that I came to beg Majek Fashek to help my career? When I was already a successful movie producer? What kind of nonsense is this? We went to the US and signed an agreement with Coral music owned by Charlie D’Agostino, and they gave us a right to market Little Patience in Africa. The agreement stated that there was to be no royalties whatsoever to Majek Fashek from November Records because we had already paid an upfront sum to Coral Music. So it was out of pity for Majek, when we released the album and it was doing well, that I decided I couldn’t be selling it everywhere without Majek making some money. So, I brought him down to Nigeria for some shows. He attended about five festivals and he was duly paid for every performance.
I spent about five years of my life trying to bring his career back on track but he went into a dark hole and after the dealings I had with Timi Dakolo, I said I had had enough. For somebody to call himself Majek’s manager and he is trying to malign my image, he must be high on weed, he does not know what he is saying and he is a bad influence on Majek. He is as stupid as whatever he is taking. The whole industry knows what I did for this guy. Uzo is not at liberty to comment on the transactions I had with Majek when I was managing him. It is not his business because we had the power of attorney and in the presence of four witnesses in the office Majek gave me power of attorney and he put his thumb print on it. Majek came and was begging that he needed money. We negotiated on his behalf and we got $2000 for it and that was when a naira to a dollar was about N250,” he said.
The film maker said that the only reason he helped the veteran singer was because he had watched him as a kid and he wanted to bring his career back on track. He told Saturday Beats that because of the singer, he lost a lot of money and friends.
“There was never a time when I was managing Majek that he did not need money and apart from the official payments, I cannot count the number of times I gave money to that fellow out of my own good will. I lost friends and businesses because of Majek. He is an ingrate. Why has everybody who has helped Majek in the past run from him? These are things I should not be saying but I am a bit angry because they are maligning my name. I went out of my way and flew to America so many times to help him and bring him back to the limelight because I felt when I was a kid, I watched him on the television and I knew he has talent but he went into oblivion. So what is the guy saying that I begged him to help my career? I was already a successful and award-winning film maker at that point in time. I did not need to go into music but I spent millions promoting the man. I am still a successful business man,” he said.