Deborah Odutayo is the President of Electronic Media Content Owners Association of Nigeria (EMCOAN) and doubles as the Executive Director of Royal Roots Communications/R2TV/R2Radio FM. Her TV credits as a producer include Bella’s Place, My Mum & I, Edge of Paradise, Soul Sistas, About To Wed, House A-Part, Tides of Fate, among others. She shares her journey into the entertainment industry and vision for EMCOAN in this interview with SEGUN ADEBAYO.
What has your experience been like being the President of EMCOAN in the last few years?
It has been wonderful and I love working with everyone at EMCOAN. I have always seen everyone as equal and it’s because they trust me that I was elected as President for a second time unopposed. I can only thank the members of the association for the confidence reposed in me. I promise to do my best to take the association to greater heights. It’s a body we formed because we noticed that we needed an umbrella body to shield all content owners from the perils that we encounter.
What exactly does EMCOAN do?
We found out that EMCOAN members are responsible for over 85% of media contents in Nigeria, so we decide to form a body that would protect our intellectual properties and stand as a unit so we are not short changed for our works. The art of content creation is big all over the world because life is about stories and more stories, hence, there will be need for more engaging content creation for audience at home, Africans in Diaspora and for different specific audience. EMCOAN is all about content creation for different media platforms.
The society can sometimes be chauvinistic about women in leadership position. In a group of EMCOAN that is more populated by men, how have you been able to go above this sentiment?
I have said it several times that I don’t rule over them, we work together as a team. We see each other as colleagues. In fact, I am so blessed to have the crop of Professionals/CEOs as my members. I enjoy a lot of encouragement and support from them especially our Chairman Board Of Trustees (BOT) Uncle Wale Adenuga MFR. It’s not all a bed of roses, but we have treated issues and challenges as matured leaders and professionals aiming for the same goal. We have faced each situation head to head and face to face. You need to see us at our monthly meetings, we argue, we disagree but we always agree at the end of the day to the benefit of all our members and businesses. Maturity and genuine respect for each other’s opinion has been the answer to resolving each challenge. The men respect me because they know and have seen that I know what I am doing. I enjoy their sincere support. It’s basically respect and the fact that we all know where we are coming from, we have seen that we can achieve more and have a brighter future for our industry by coming and sticking together. We all have the same objectives at EMCOAN; our content which we say is king must actually be the “KING”.
As a boss at office, president of EMCOAN and producer on set, how do you relate these things together, especially at home?
I am an African woman that was trained properly. I was born in Nigeria but I wasn’t bred here. I was trained very well, so, I always give respect to my husband and that is why I have been able to work with him for the past 19 years. I have achieved everything I have because he has allowed me to. And for emphasis, he met me as a producer so it’s not like he trained me on the job, we were both professionals when we met (laugh). Home or office, he is the boss. He gives me my respect and I give him his. We are not in competition at all.
Tell us your experience as a member of the Panel of Judges of AMVCA from its inception
It has always been a great honour ever since I was called upon to serve in that capacity. Having more Nigerian women on the judging panel just proved that women are not in competition with our men but that we do not have to take the back bench any longer. When I received a call from MNET for the first AMVCA and was told that I will be working with my big brother Femi Odugbemi; another notable individual in the entertainment Industry, I was humbled and felt so honoured. He has been the big brother since I came into the Industry. I’ve know Uncle Femi since 1993. He has always looked after my interest. For the first AMCVA, we had to undergo trainings in South Africa. Uncle Femi and the whole MNET team were so awesome. I was treated like the Nigerian Queen that I am… (laughs)… I was the only female in the panel of judges then.
From R2TV in Lagos, your firm is venturing into radio with the new R2FM Radio in Ibadan, tell us more about it
We are proud of our work at R2TV and we are replicating same on the radio front located in Ibadan. The truth is Ibadan is the largest market after Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt; the market is there and people are not seeing it. By the grace of God, we are looking at starting very soon, all things being equal. The structure is already there, equipment is arriving, auditions have been done and the hiring process is also on going with the consulting firm. So things are working simultaneously and then we have to travel twice in a week to see the progress. So everything is going good.