Ubi Franklin vs Iyanya: The Made Man talks to Joey Akan (Part 3)
The concluding part of a riveting saga
The concluding part of a riveting saga
The final and concluding part of our Ubi Franklin vs Iyanya series features Joey Akan’s conversation with Ubi Franklin. To recap the events from the last two parts of this story, here are three important summary notes of the story so far
1. According to Iyanya, Ubi Franklin excluded his name and signature from the official Corporate Affairs Commission documents filed for Triple MG
2. Iyanya also speculates Ubi ran MMMG with funds from all the revenue he was generating, even though he didn’t share the profits.
3. Emma Nyra came up with the name ‘Made Men Music Group’, and allegedly had a tumultuous personal and professional relationship with Ubi Franklin
By Joey Akan
Ubi Franklin called me a few days after Iyanya went public with his side of the story. On the phone, he sounded hurt, panicky and desperate to clear his name, like he had his back against the wall.
Before saying anything, he outlined all he had at stake: A son, for whom he wants to be a role model and his reputation as a businessman. I noticed Ubi didn’t volunteer any new information, except the bits that clear his name. He also repeatedly pressed for implicative parts of my story, promising to show me proof of his innocence. He didn’t.
Instead, I received a large batch of screenshots of conversations with Iyanya. The messages covered money exchanges and a number of requests from Iyanya to Ubi. Ubi Franklin was also keen to find out if Iyanya had spoken to me about Emma Nyra. He revealed that during her contract termination process, one of the settlement clauses was an NDA. In his words, the fine is N10 million if either party voids the specifications of the NDA.
We kicked off our conversation from how Iyanya’s name came to be excluded from MMMG Corporate Affairs documents. According to Ubi, Iyanya didn’t want to be a part of Made Men until they had to secure the bank loan for the business. He says it was during the application for this bank loan that Iyanya was made a director, as a requirement for approval.
Joey Akan: Before Iyanya was made a director, did Triple MG get the loan?
Ubi Franklin: No they didn’t give us the loan
Joey Akan: What was the reason?
Ubi Franklin: That Iyanya must be a director in the company. You can see that he was really disappointed that he didn’t want to be part of the company. So, we went to Abuja, we registered the company and allotted shares to him and the company was set up. We came back to Lagos, presented the document to Access Bank and they said we needed security for the loan.
What really happened?
What I’m saying to you, in essence, is exactly what happened. I’m not really finished. If you see from the emails we exchanged [when Iyanya was about to leave MMMG], I asked him ‘bro, are you sure you want to sign this document?’ Because I didn’t want him to go. I wanted us to fix whatever the issues were. I didn’t know he had made up his mind. Bro, do you know Iyanya left on the same week my wife left?
So I nearly killed myself. I attempted suicide several times because I felt my world was down.
How did you react to the news Iyanya was leaving Triple MG?
I went asking people for help, to see how they can help me talk to him to not leave me. But he didn’t listen, his mind was made up because Temple was calling him, Mavins were calling him as well. Which I don’t blame them because of what he told them. Me, I have proof of everything. I’m a documented guy.
What happened with Chibbz?
He came to me. I knew Chibbz for a minute. So he told me he wanted to join me saying he wants to join us. I now told him no problem, I’d talk to Iyanya. He promised to pay us N5 million sign-on fee for our Triple MG imprint. He paid 2 million out of the money. Iyanya took half of the money, I took half of the money. And then, two years into the game – like almost a year doing music he could not even shoot one video. Today he would tell you how he is working on something, I have proof of this. That he is doing this, he is doing that. I told him, I said, I warned you earlier. I don’t want to have an artist that I cannot push because I didn’t plan to sign you. You claim that you can do it for yourself and you just need an umbrella. I now saw his comment saying our deal was fraud. Now I want to ask ehn, in this case how have I defrauded the boy?
So there was no actual fraud?
Yeah, because he commented: ‘Don’t mind him this is fraud’. I think, writing about him is a waste of your time. Because his case is not the case.
Why wasn’t Baci offered a deal, even though he was promised one?
You see where Iyanya is implicating himself. Iyanya promised that he was going to give me money to promote Baci because I was already carrying a load of Tekno and Emma Nyra. One day, Iyanya called me and said he had told Baci that he should buy him a camera to go and be a videographer that he should not sing again. Iyanya promised him a deal. It was Iyanya’s bit to bring the money to promote the guy. The way we were running the company he was not interested in bringing money for the company to run. So I was using my money for promotion, to put those other guys on. Did he say he gave any cash for artists on the label?
The way Iyanya puts it, money he was making was used to run the label?
Bro, that’s a big lie. I go for shows, and as a businessman, I believe that I should not put all my eggs in one basket. And I invest in other people. When Tekno came, he said that he was not interested in signing Tekno, that he was not interested in signing Emma Nyra. That if I want to take those burdens myself, I should take it myself. So why is he now lying? Bro I have proof. Tekno’s first video, “If I Dance”, I have a receipt of when I paid Sesan.
How about Selebobo?
I don’t think Selebobo will want to involve himself with this. Because I and Selebobo don’t have any issues whatsoever. Except there is an issue he thinks I have. The only issue we have is a contractual issue. It expires in May and he wanted me to give him rent for one year. I don’t have any problem with Tekno. Did you talk to Tekno?
Tekno isn’t talking
Me and Tekno don’t have any issues now. All these things Iyanya is doing now is just to hype himself around. I’m not joining issues with anybody that’s why I’m saying Chibbz has nothing against me. And I’d tell you that Baci has a right to be angry. The one person that put in a lot of work in our label was Baci and Emma Nyra. Baci first, he was our driver, he was our houseboy, he was our everything. And I know that for a start he deserved the deal but at a point I was carrying a lot and I had nothing, but Iyanya kept promising he would bring money.
Ask Iyanya if he dropped one pound sterling for any artist to be promoted on the label. Ask him that question. Does he have proof? Iyanya told me that he doesn’t want to sign Tekno and that started our problem from 2013. He said that he is not interested, that Tekno is stubborn. I’m like, “This boy just came. You don’t even know him”. When Tekno came he already had “Holiday” and the song was already out there. And right, Tekno said he deserved a room upstairs and not downstairs (at the Triple MG house) which was right. Before I could tell Iyanya that we have to find a room for Tekno upstairs, Tekno had left. So I started calling him everywhere and I now found him and brought him back. And I gave him a room upstairs. Iyanya now told me that when we are paying rent for that house, I would pay more than he pays because I’m bringing another person into the house. I said no problem. You know why I did that? Because I believed that Tekno was going to blow and it happened. So where is your say in all of this? That I signed Tekno? That I invested in Emma Nyra? That I invested in Selebobo?
You said you only gave Paul Okoye half of Tekno’s management.
Exactly. I only sold management shares to Paulo for Tekno not Made Men Music. He is getting that wrong. I have a contract to back that up. And just because I don’t want to bring Paulo and Tekno into this, I’d just let that fly. When Iyanya left, I was scouring around looking for money to be able to push Tekno. We’ve had our differences, but Tekno always tells me “Baba, I’d stay here and finish my contract and then I can leave”. And if Iyanya says he walked out of his contract and left everything, and that I took his shares and sold to Paulo, I want him to show me the proof.
I’m very sorry. Iyanya needs prayers and they need to check him because he is mixing words. The issue of shares: I was taking 40% he was taking 60%. So I reduced my percentage to 20% so that he can take 80% and also from digital sales and all that. Now he had liabilities which I’m not going to mention in details. Paulo knows about it. One of the liabilities was like three or four different people. And he said he is going to leave those liabilities, that I should talk to the people to let them go. Those were the reasons he had to relinquish his shares. Emma Nyra was the one that told me that, “Ubi register the company. Even if Iyanya doesn’t want to be part of it” She told me “I believe that after sometime Iyanya would come back and want to be a part of the company”. And exactly what Emma Nyra said happened. When we went to get a loan from the bank that was when they found out that Iyanya’s name wasn’t on the document. They now told us to go back to CAC and rectify the document and put Iyanya on the document. We did that. I have the documents, and the day they approved the loan. We went back to Abuja to go and do the document and come back to Lagos. Listen, artists have issues; it is everywhere. By the time you look at the label’s side and look at the artist’s side yeah, you’d see that everybody has where their issues are. I’m not the first record label an artist is leaving. So for Iyanya to open his mouth and say I’ve destroyed a lot of people, I’m still trying to understand how I did that.
What happened with Emma Nyra?
We didn’t agree. You see, Emma Nyra’s situation, I cannot say much about it because I am binded by contract not to say anything about our situation. I am not going to say anything about it. Because if I say anything about it, I have a legal suit that I’m going to pay 10 million naira. So, I’m not going to say anything about Emma Nyra. If she does, I’d have to collect 10 million. Me and Emma Nyra don’t really have any problem. Even when she had the twins, we spoke. I even sent her a message. So, we don’t have problems. These are problems Iyanya is trying to create to hype himself up.
Tell me what you know about what transpired between Iyanya and Temple Music?
Yeah, it was a one-on-one conversation we had at his house. He showed me a heated WhatsApp chat with the owner of Temple, them. That’s why I was able to believe he was having problems with Temple. When he wanted to leave Temple, I told him, ‘Don’t leave Temple the way you left Made Men’. Which is, relieve yourself, settle everything and go. I said, ‘The fact that you want to leave Temple doesn’t mean that you should fight them. It would now become constant. It can’t be like it’s the same thing you do everywhere you go. People would come and be putting some rubbish things around it’.
People you collected money from to pay your house rent when your landlady chased you out. They gave you a car. You were stuck in America they paid for you. Have you spoken to Temple? Ask Iyanya if he told me that he had issues with Temple and he needed to clear up his contract with N60 million. Ask him if he told me that.
N60 Million, to exit his contract?
Yes. And I told him I was going to raise the money. Before I raised that money I spoke to him. It took me 24 hours or less to raise that money. When I raised that money I started calling him, he was not picking up his phone so I just left it. So for me, you see all these things Iyanya is saying ehn, when I look at it, I just laugh. Because I have everything to prove. I have everything to show. If this is what Iyanya is going to do after all my hard work. Now, you know what? People would comment and say ‘This Ubi guy, Ubi is like this, Ubi is like that’. You know why they’d say that?
All artist managers are hated. You know why? We do the dirty job. So I don’t expect anybody to like me. When we leave these artists and go, that’s when you start seeing who these artists are directly; you start to see who they are. Please, what did he say about Emma Nyra?
That you had problems in your relationship and you physically assaulted her repeatedly.
Have you asked Iyanya what happened between him and Yvonne Nelson?
Was Iyanya physically abusing Yvonne Nelson?
(Laughs) It’s, not my mouth you’d hear that thing from. I promised not to say anything or put Iyanya out.
He said he saw you beating Emma Nyra?
Did he advise her to leave you?
Bro see, Iyanya is a big liar. He has been saying it for many years that he is going to use Emma Nyra against me. You understand? I did every work for Emma to make sure…I’m not going to speak about Emma Nyra unless she talks. We have a contract binding us not to say anything. Why didn’t he say on his interview that I beat up Emma Nyra?
He did say that…
Bro, I’d advise you not to. Because I would put out all the married women he slept with. Their pictures side by side for me. Bro I don’t want to talk. Because if you allow me to do that to him, I’d drag him through the whole of this country. I’m not scared of shit. What I want about this matter is for people to see clarity. If Emma Nyra has issues she would come and say it herself. Emma Nyra is a mother now. I think her focus is different. And she even wouldn’t want to be involved in all this. I wish Iyanya was a father. If he was a father, most of these things he is saying, he would not do it. When I kept watching his interviews I kept laughing. Bro, don’t let me do this to this to this guy. If you’re writing your story, take out the Emma Nyra situation because if you’re writing about something like that, Emma Nyra needs to speak for herself and with the way I and Emma Nyra are tight, we cannot speak about each other. We had our issues and the issues were settled and I have a legal document to back it. So for me, leave her out of this and focus on something else. Write your post. See, I never really wanted to get to this point bro. For everything that happens, there are two sides to the story.
Do you think you treated everyone fairly?
I treated everybody fair. I’m not perfect bro. See, there’s nobody—even you talking to me right now—that would say they don’t have issues with people. Check the whole entertainment industry. Am I the first person that an artist is leaving their record label or an artist is having issues with? I’m not the first now. When did artists start leaving record labels? Let’s be very diplomatic about this thing. Did they say that I had their money, I ate it and I didn’t give them?
It was just about you not treating them right that they had expectations and those expectations were not met.
Okay, what expectations?
A more hands-on promotion and marketing perhaps?
Can I ask you a question? Iyanya says he was a partner and he was investing so why are they not blaming that on Iyanya? Exactly. Why is it that it is Ubi they are blaming it on? Why is it that they are all coming together to fight? Do you understand where this thing is going? You said you are a partner abi? You were investing. So why are they not fighting you? Is it that you gave me money to push your music and I didn’t do it? So you see the twist? Now, if they say that the label is not treating them right who is the label? Ubi, Iyanya. Why are they not fighting Iyanya?
Maybe he has done nothing to warrant that?
All these people talking, how much did they make me? Chibbz, how much did we make from him? The only person that can talk and I would respond to the person is only Iyanya and Baci. I know Selebobo would not say anything to you because for a fact, he doesn’t have anything to say to you.
What role did you play in the tension between Iyanya and Tekno?
He (Iyanya) says Tekno is rude and ill-mannered. The issue between me and Iyanya—that made me and Iyanya break up finally—was that I hired a driver for Iyanya. Iyanya and the driver fought and he fired the driver. And Tekno hired the driver. Tekno was living on his own. So one day, I now went to meet Iyanya that ‘just in case you come to Nigeria before me, what I just heard is that Ken your former driver now works for Tekno’. Tekno, on the other hand, said he saw this guy on the road, he had a baby at home and he decided to hire him. And he asked him “what happened between you and Iyanya”, and the guy explained his side. So he was like “let me just hire the guy because the person you know is better than the person you don’t know”. And the guy worked with Tekno for a very long time.
So Iyanya started accusing me, of using Tekno to disrespect him. That how would I know that Tekno is about to hire his own driver that he sacked and I allowed that happen? That’s how he turned and said he wants to leave the record label. Every time issues happen, he says that I am the one not making them, Tekno to respect him. I’m like bro, Tekno is a man of his own. Everybody, they are men. And I don’t think any of these guys disrespect you, they respect you. From Selebobo, they respect you. They call him “Baba.” They don’t call him by name. Do you understand? Ask him what happened between him and Tekno and what happened between him and the driver Tekno hired. Do you understand?
Already, everything he said is a lie. A lot of the things he said are lies. So, there is a legal document that is going to be sent to him soon for him to retract everything he has said because he is lying. Whatever I tell you, I have proof. You see the story I told you about these women? I have proof of it and I warned him. I said ‘Listen, I’m going to spoil your career, let it go’. Do you understand? I’m going to let it go. Now he is the one going to tell you that I beat up Emma Nyra.
Joey Akan is an award-winning music journalist based in Lagos, Nigeria. He is a public relations consultant and commentator on African music and pop culture.