Nigerian music platform iROKING fired its chief executive officer (CEO) Michael Ugwu, citing “gross misconduct” and alleging Ugwu had launched his own digital music platform while in the company’s employment. In a press release, iROKING said Ugwu breached the non-compete and confidentiality clause he signed when he signed up for the job. They also went ahead to state that “a number of the iROKING staff have also been dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct” so as to protect the intellectual property of their platform and they have “generously” given them six weeks severance pay.
But there are always two sides to a story. And Michael decided to share his part of the story. According to him, Iroko partners – the parent company – had earlier decided to wind down iROKING. The company offered him a position as COO of Spark Ltd, which is a company founded by Iroko partners that was described at its launch as “a $1m-backed company to support and develop aspiring Nigerian tech and Internet entrepreneurs”. However, Michael declined saying he will like to stay in the digital music sector. He went on to further say “It has been clear for some time that iROKO Partners wanted to exit the music space culminating in the winding down of iROKING so I am still fully trying to understand how I would set up a platform to compete with a platform that was to be “scrapped” according to Mr Jason Njoku.” He challenged Iroko Partners to show physical evidence of the digital platform he has set up. According to him, he was let go because the company is looking to get out of the music game, citing a Whatsapp message from Bastian Gotter, one of the iROKO Partners founders.
He signed out by saying artists should be beware of Iroko Partner’s “apparent commitment to developing the digital distribution space”.
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