As a child, it was very easy to tell your brother that you would teach him his assignment if he gave you his piece of meat and after eating it, turn around to say 'well, I no do again'. You will however discover that as the nature of the contracts you engage in gets complex and serious, you HAVE to jettison the childish nature of not taking agreements seriously and realize that a single breach could mean the end of your existence. Companies are daily wound up, individuals consistently file for bankruptcy, children are taken from their parents, lives are sometimes lost because people fail to live up to agreements they have entered into.
The essence of this write up is to reiterate the importance of contracts to emerging and established artistes in our fast developing entertainment industry. So many opportunities abound such that it would be foolish of us to ruin the prospects because we do not educate ourselves on the importance of concepts like integrity and contractual responsibility.
As entertainers, we have to be aware of the devastating effect that failure to perform obligations expressed in contracts can have on our careers. I have deemed it necessary to deal with this issue because it has become the norm in the entertainment industry that entertainers enter into agreements without understanding the import of same. We keep lamenting the lack of access to funds in the industry but we fail to realize that the little that had been committed to our hands, we one way or the other messed up. Would you expect a corporate organization that invited an artiste to perform at its dinner but refused to show to by any means invest in the career of that artiste?
It is high time we stopped whining about people not paying us the appropriate attention and look inward to deal with those things that led to such disposition against us. If we don't teach ourselves, we will not be in a position to benefit from the massive wave of prosperity blowing through the industry and would end up short changing ourselves. It is high time we treated the entertainment business with respect and integrity.
A contract is an agreement which the law will enforce or recognize as affecting the legal rights and duties of the parties. It is essentially a set of promises that the law will enforce. According to Professor Itse Sagay, trade and commerce would be chaotic, if not impossible, if the law permitted a promisor to break his promise without at least placing him under an obligation to pay compensation for the loss occasioned by his default.
It is not every agreement that the law will enforce. For an agreement to be construed as being properly constituted, certain condiments must be present. These are offer, acceptance consideration and an intention by parties to enter into legal relations. As soon as these elements are present and the act is not an illegal one, a contract is deemed to have been created between parties and will be enforced by the courts against a defaulting party, most times even if nothing is written down.
I will not delve into the technicalities of the terms, their exceptions and the various interpretations of certain expressions. All I want you to bear in mind is that every commitment that you reach with other people in business transactions are binding and all things being equal are enforceable against you.
Unless a contract is properly discharged, repudiated or terminated, damages will arise against the person in breach of the contract. Where the court is unable to compel the specific performance of an act agreed to under the contract, it will make orders for the payment of damages against the party in breach. It is not a hidden fact that the clauses most entertainers go through in contracts are the financial provisions, forgetting that the other party no be father christmas.
If you ask me, the most important clauses in any contract are the parts containing the obligations. For example, because an endorsement deal is for Forty Million Naira, you miss the fact that the agreement provides that you must not talk about, encourage or engage in any communication regarding its competitors. You then carry yourself on twitter and start gushing about how a competitor impressed you with its services, forgetting that this singular, seemingly harmless comment is a massive breach of your endorsement deal..... OR the agreement stipulates that the Company is entitled to fly you off to any location in the world with just 24 hours notice period for brand promotion; not paying attention to this, you execute another similar agreement with a different company. Schedules begin to clash and you start falling short on your obligations for which you have been paid (and for the wasteful ones, you fit don even blow the money on that Bentley and plenty Moet). By the time these companies are done with you, you go know say Mavin no be Marvin!!!
I don't want to bore you, but I cannot overemphasize the importance of taking your agreed obligations seriously. Let us get professional in the way we do business in this industry. Lets us respect ourselves and others will have no choice but to follow suit. Please stay fly and off drugs, I love you like a Unilag boy loves skinny jeans...lol.