Audu Maikori (born 13 August 1975, Kaduna) is a Nigerian lawyer, entrepreneur, social activist and public speaker. He is founder and president of the Chocolate City Entertainment. He is best known as a judge of Nigerian Idol’s first season. He won multiple awards during his career, including the International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2007.
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
Audu Maikori was born in Kaduna State to Adamu Maikori and Laiatu Gyet Maude. He was raised in Lagos and attended Adrao International School and King’s College before obtaining his Law degree from the University of Jos in 1999. He later obtained his Bachelor of Laws (B.L) from the Law school Abuja. He is an alumnus of the M.I.T Sloan School of Management Boston.
Early entertainment career
In 1997, Audu and his friends at the University of Jos started discussing the possibilities of setting up a club. After a debate on the name of club, Audu suggested naming the club Chocolate City Chocolate City became the biggest rave around the Universities in northern Nigeria.
The Guild of Artistes and Poets (GAP)
During his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program Audu and his friend named Paul Okeugo founded the Guild of Artistes and Poets (GAP), a non-profit arts society. The GAP held its first meeting in April 2001. The GAP formed strategic alliances with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the British Council and held art exhibitions in partnership with the French Cultural Centre. The GAP expanded its reach to Jos, Plateau State and in Lagos. By 2005 the GAP had over 300 active members.
Audu was called to the Nigerian Bar Association in January 2001 and started his legal career working as an Associate with the litigation-inclined firm of Chief Afe Babalola SAN & Co where he worked from 2001 to 2003. He worked as legal advisor to leasing company of Nigeria (a subsidiary of Bank of Industry), and company secretary of Abuja Markets Management Limited.
In 2006, Maikori was appointed Senior Legal consultant with CPCS Transcom International, where he worked on the legal and regulatory aspects of privatization transactions including the Nigeria Ports Authority, Nigerian Railway Corporation, unbundling and privatization of PHCN. He represented Nigeria in the UNIDROIT Sub-Committee of governmental experts for the preparation of a preliminary draft Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment on Matters specific to Space Assets in 2005.
In May 2007, Maikori co-organized the first Nigerian International Music Summit in March 2007. Over 400 music industry stakeholders drawn from all over Nigeria attended the event. Maikori is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators UK, International Association of Entertainment Lawyers, the Nigerian Bar Association and International Bar Association (IBA).
In 2002, he alongwith his brother Yahaya Maikori started Law Allianz, a firm of legal practitioners based in Lagos and Abuja. He was selected as lead legal consultant for key national infrastructure projects including the Lagos Rail Mass Transit project (2008), Abuja Mass Transit project (2006-2008) and Kano Mass transit project in 2011. In March 2015, Audu resigned from ‘Law Allianz’ to concentrate on other business affairs.
Chocolate City Limited was registered in October 2003, Audu partnering with Paul Okeugo and his brother Yahaya Maikori as directors of the company. Later that year he alongside Paul Okeugo and two other partners produced first event under ‘Chocolate City’ banner in partnership with British American Tobacco, which held at the University of Maiduguri. Audu was introduced to a song called Na Ba Ka by an artist named Jeremiah Gyang’s by label Six Foot Plus. In January 2005, Chocolate City signed Jeremiah Gyang under a recording and management contract and re-released the album ‘Na Ba Ka’. In mid 2006, M.I was signed up to Chocolate City.
In 2012, after a corporate restructure, Chocolate City Group was formed with renowned business man and lawyer Hakeem Bello-Osagie joining the board as Chairman. Four companies were formed to constitute the group namely Chocolate City Music, Chocolate City Media, Chocolate City Distribution and STM with Audu appointed as President of the Group. In March 2015, Audu announced the return of Jesse Jagz to Chocolate City. On the 31st of June 2015 Audu via twitter announced his exit as CEO of Chocolate City Music and the appointment of M.I as the new CEO of Chocolate City Music, with label mate Ice Prince Zamani as the Vice President of the music label. Audu also announced the objectives for the 3 Chocolate City subsidiaries to include radio, television and film.
On the 30th of June 2015, Audu resigned as CEO of Chocolate City Music handing the reigns to former vice president of the label, M.I. Ice Prince was made the new vice president of Chocolate City.
Maikori has received commendations for his work in developing the youth including being invited to Albania in 2008 to deliver a keynote speech at a seminar organized by the Albania Ministry of Youth and Employment, Minister of culture and British Council.
In 2010, Maikori was part of the Enough is Enough campaign which saw thousands of Nigerians protest against issues. In a four-hour protest, they marched to the National Assembly in Abuja. Maikori became the face of Enough is Enough after a police officer warned him to back down or be shot; Maikori refused to back down. He later led the other protesters to march on peacefully to make their protests heard by the National Assembly.
On 13 February 2012, Audu Maikori was appointed a member of the Presidential Committee on the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), the committee was formed by President Goodluck Jonathan himself.
In May 2012 Maikori was elected to serve as a member of the board of COSON. Maikori was one of those who were behind the lobby for the NCC to officially appoint a CMO to collect royalties for songwriters and performers after 13 years of the NCC failing to settle the dispute between the MCSN and PMRS, both de-registered CMOs which had been embroiled in legal battles for supremacy for years. His appointment has been lauded as the right step in the right direction by music industry stakeholders.
Maikori is also a public speaker and has traveled widely to speak on entrepreneurship and youth development . According to YNaija magazine, Audu is one of the most powerful people’s list of 2014 in Nigerian Entertainment in March 2014. In October 2015, Audu was appointed the Chairman of the Nigerian Digital Music Monitoring Group, associated with organizations Nigerian Copyright Commission, Nigerian Communications Commission, National Information Technology Development Agency, National Assembly and other relevant bodies to develop specific methods for the implementation of the resolutions of the Summit.
In September 2010, Maikori was made judge for the first season of Nigerian Idol alongside Yinka Davies and Jeffrey Daniel. The show proved to be a ratings success, but a year later he left the series to concentrate on other commitments, and was replaced by singer-publisher Charly Boy.
Awards & accolades
- International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 (Nigeria)
- International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 (Global Winner)
- Entertainment Executive of the year 2011 by the Nigerian Entertainment Award (NEA)
- Award for outstanding award in Music and Entertainment by the National Youth Merit Awards 2011
- Young Entrepreneur of the Year (2011) – Diaspora Professionals Award 2011
- Mentor of the Year – 2010- Enterprise Foundation)
- Creative Entrepreneur of the Year for Music – 2011- CIAN
- Winner – African Awards for Entrepreneurship 2011
- Entertainment Executive of the Year – 2012- Nigerian Reunion Corporation
- SME Leader Award- 2014 by Fidelity Bank
- National Youth Merit Award in Entertainment – NYMA 2012
- Award for Excellence – Nigerian Law School Class of 2013
- Award for Leadership in Governance – Junior Chambers International (JCI) -2013
- Enterprise Award for Entertainment – Southern Kaduna Peoples Union(SOKAPU) 2015
- City People Magazine Special Recognition for outstanding contribution to the Nigerian music industry (2011, 2015)
In 2008, at the inaugural edition of the United Kingdom Young Music Entrepreneur, Maikori was nominated to serve as a judge alongside four other British music industry judges, making him the first black judge for a major British Music industry competition.
On the June 29, 2007, he won the International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year (IYMEY) for his work with Chocolate City beating off international competition from Egypt, India, Indonesia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Philippines, Poland and Tanzania.
He received special judges commendation as well as $15,000 Dollars in prize money.
In December 2011, Chocolate City Group, under Audu’s leadership, was named winner at the prestigious Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship in Nairobi, Kenya. Chocolate City was selected from over 3,300 applicants from 48 African countries to win prize of $50,000.
In November 2014, he was inducted as a Fellow of the Nigerian Leadership Institute(NLI) in November at the NLI-YALE Leadership Conference which held at the campus in New Haven.
- Fellow – Nigerian Leadership Institute (NLI)
- Life Fellow – Guild of Artistes and Poets (GAP)
- Honorary Fellow – Institute of Chartered Portfolio Management Nigeria
His passion for youth development and enterprise has also led to his involvement with several international projects such as serving as judge on 3 editions of British Council Young Creative Enterprise series in Nigeria, and also as a judge on the inaugural edition of the United Kingdom Young Creative Enterprise Series (UKYME) in London as the only non – British judge on the panel in 2008/2009. Audu has also served as a judge on the board of the Etisalat Prize for Innovation which is aimed at encourage innovation using technology in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. He also served as one of the judges alongside Aliko Dangote, Hakeem Belo-Osagie and Ngozi Edozien for the inaugural SheLeadsAfrica competition in 2014.
In 2015 Audu was selected to served as Judge on Microsoft’s Passion To Empire competition where 5 outstanding entrepreneurs were selected to receive a cash prize, training from the Lagos Business School as well as mentorship from the other judges which include Tara Durotoye, and Opeyemi Awo.