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‘Campus IP clubs good for grooming future creatives’

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Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo

Friends of the Creator (Artistic) Foundation (FCF), the only organisation in Nigeria commemorating World Intellectual Property Day 2018 on April 26, has revved up activities towards the celebration. This year’s celebration has specific focus on women creatives the world over.

The theme is ‘Powering Change: Women in Innovation and Creativity.’

Perhaps, the new twist to FCF’s event scheduled for Warri, Delta State, was the letter of commendation the Intellectual Property Law Club, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, wrote the organisers indicating interest to also be part of the celebration.

The students had written: “We hope this mail meets you well. We at the Intellectual Property Law Club, Obafemi Awolowo University, are excited about the bold initiative of Friends of the Creator (Artistic) Foundation in celebrating the World IP day themed ‘Powering Change: Women in Innovation and Creativity.’

“As Nigeria’s first intellectual property law club, we are a group of enthusiastic students interested in how the important issues of creativity and innovation will drive change in today’s world.

We see this event as an incredible platform to learn and network with practitioners and stakeholders in law and the creative industry.

“To this end, we would, with your kind permission and support, like to send a delegation of three males and two females to the event. We look forward to hearing from you. -Kind regards, Solomon Nzere, President, Intellectual Property Law Club, OAU.” 

In his response to the students’ request towards the celebration and their desire to participate, Chairman, Board of Trustees of the foundation, notable poet, and Commissioner for Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Delta State, Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo, said the students’ enthusiasm was in the right direction.

According to him, “Absolutely! And we at Friends of the Creator Foundation are equally excited to know about the existence of an Intellectual Property Law Club at OAU, Ife. We hope that the club exists on other campuses, and, if not, then we would call on students in law faculties across the country to set up their own IP clubs.

Those OAU, Ife, students are indeed forward looking: in an age defined and driven by technology, and so innovation and creativity, the law and practice of intellectual property is bound to assume a far more important role than previously thought or imagined.

FCF is so impressed by the OAU students’ enthusiasm for intellectual property law that we have pledged support for their attendance at the event.”

Ifowodo expressed the commitment of the foundation to host the students in Warri and take care of their expenses to and from the event.

However, on what such recognition means for the foundation, the renowned poet said, “If by recognition you mean the awareness of the importance of intellectual property law by the students, to the point of setting up a club for the purpose of advancing their knowledge of the subject, then it does not have any specific meaning to us at FCF.

“If, however, you mean their recognition of the importance of commemorating the World Intellectual Property Day and their willingness to trek from Ife to Warri to join FCF in doing so, then we see it as warm encouragement to join forces with all individuals and groups in the country to propagate greater awareness of intellectual property law, rights and issues.”

Although he said the foundation would not plant such clubs in schools, he expressed its readiness for collaboration to advance the awareness about intellectual property rights.

According to him, “We do not have any plan at the moment, being a new foundation launched only mid last year, but it is something we shall certainly be interested in pursuing. Any such effort must, however, have students themselves leading it.

It is no use, I’m sure you will agree, to come from outside and plant clubs on campuses as if their mere existence alone achieves the goal.

Wherever we find students enthusiastic enough about intellectual property law to wish to organise themselves into a club, we shall collaborate with them.

“By supporting, where we can, their activities and being available to them as a resource centre, especially from the practice point of view.

We will also involve them, as much as possible, in our public activities, such as the annual commemoration of intellectual property day and the intellectual property lecture series we intend to institute next year.

“Considering that much of the creativity and innovation that animate the popular culture industry is by youths, campus IP clubs become a very important collective vehicle for reaching out to schools, secondary schools in particular, in order to make the future creators, innovators and consumers of the products of intellectual property (books, music, films, videos) better aware of the prevailing rights and issues pertaining to copyright — and also trade marks and patents.”

Ifowodo outlined activities already mapped out for the day, when he said, “We are very prepared. We have been energised by the growing enthusiasm for the event, perhaps the only one in Africa to mark the day in Africa.

Warri, and so Delta State, as you know, is famous as creative nurturing ground for the entertainment industry in Nigeria. We have also received a boost from the wide publicity the event has garnered, both locally and internationally.

“We have secured the venue (Petroleum Training Institute in Effurun-Warri), got video goodwill messages from very important figures in the entertainment industry (Mr. Richard Mofe-Damijo, Chief Tony Okoroji, Canada-based actress, Isoken Ibie, and U.S.-based artist, Happiness Bundu Akaniro, etc, trending on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), who cannot make it to the event due to prior commitments and are expecting one from the Director-General of World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) based in Geneva, Mr. Francis Gurry.

“The Engineering Faculty of Delta State University, our collaborator, will be bringing the engineering and innovation angle of intellectual property to the event.

A cast from the University of Benin Theatre Arts Department will present a dramatic interpretation of a poem, among other activities planned for the day.

In short, April 26 promises to be a memorable day in honour of women and their intellectual contribution in the area of art and culture to the development of Nigeria.”

Ifowodo said the foundation did not get support from Delta State Government, “because we did not reach out to them this time, though we very much intend to do so next year when FCF holds its first anniversary event.

Although not the same thing, we are happy to note nevertheless that the former governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, has made a personal contribution and also accepted to be the special guest of honour.

The Director-General of Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), Alhaji Adebayo Thomas, will be participating as lead discussant of the lecture.


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