Face-off at OAAN Breakfast talk shop
The 10th Poster Awards organized by the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN), a colourful event which held recently at the prestigious Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos attracted the crème de la crème of the Nigerian advertising world all of who gathered to brainstorm on issues that would further galvanize growth and catapult the industry to its next level.
Kicking off the event was the association’s president, Mr. Tunde Adedoyin who in an opening remark updated the guests on how the industry had fared in the last one year. He also disclosed that this year’s award had attracted the highest number of entries since it was first held 10 years ago. He also assured his audience of the integrity of the award.
Adedoyin then dropped an obvious bombshell when he declared, “Primary among the issues that have seriously challenged our practice is the emerging unfriendly environment to profitably engage in outdoor advertising practice in Nigeria, occasioned by the almost suffocating regulations, very high financial demands (by way of outrageous and unprofitable permit fees) and policies of the signage and advertising agencies and their likes, that have now mushroomed across the country, both at state and federal levels”.
This undisguised lamentation summed up the headache of all the operators whose businesses have suffered tremendous affliction from regulators in recent times.
Interestingly, Mr. Biodun Shobanjo, Chairman of Troyka Holdings threw a very big challenge at practitioners themselves in his speech which was the major highlight of the award summit.
While delivering his keynote address on the theme: “Indices of a Vibrant Economy: Outdoor Advertising as a Catalist for Growth”, Mr. Shobanjo, owner of one of the biggest OOH agencies in the country stressed that there were too many outdoor businesses in the country.
He however called for the merging of most of the outdoor agencies to form a mega one as that would enable them deliver good services to their clients and prevent the government from tossing them around.
Other speakers who spoke in similar vein noted that the outdoor practitioners were bedeviled with a myriad of problems because most of them wanted to be answering Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of companies they could not effectively and profitably manage.
The event further dovetailed into an interactive session at which panelists dwelt exclusively on the various fundamental issues raised by the keynote speaker during his address.
At the award ceremony, Barrister Charles Odenigbo took this position further when he advocated that OAAN should drag the Lagos State Signage & Advertisement Agency (LASAA) to court over what it terms, regulation disputes stressing that the Lagos State Government does not have the jurisdiction to regulate outdoor advertising in the state.
Visibly livid with rage, Barrister Odenigbo affirmed that it was the primary duty of the Local Governments to regulate outdoor advertising but was hijacked by the state insisting that LASAA be charged to court so that the illegalities surrounding its emergence could be settled by the Supreme Court once and for all.
The atmosphere in the auditorium became charged as Odenigbo disclosed that there had been a running dispute over the legal status of LASAA given that it is the Local Government that has the statutory powers to regulate outdoor advertising in the state.
He said, “LASAA has become a hydra headed monster giving birth to terrible children in different states of the federation. We have to charge them to court, even up to the Supreme Court; we have to involve the Attorney General of the Federation so that we can find a way of streamlining all the laws and put forward a bill to the National Assembly that will clearly define the role of LASAA”
According to Barrister Odenigbo, the activities of LASAA are a gross violation of Nigeria’s constitution adding that LASAA had even gone ahead to be imposing double taxation and charging arbitrary fees that it could not justify.
He further accused the Lagos State Government of double dealing as both a regulator and an operator in the industry stressing that such a move was not acceptable to the outdoor practitioners.
Debunking the claims of Odenigbo, erstwhile Managing Director of LASAA, Mr. Makanjuola Alabi affirmed that the state took over the responsibilities of the local government in regulating the outdoor advertising agencies because it could not effectively carry out its statutory function in dealing with outdoor advertising agencies in the state.
Mr. Alabi said “The Local Governments were not doing well on signage of advertisements with the outdoor advertising agencies, so they had to give it to the State Government. The Local Government gets about sixty-five percent (65%) of all the revenue gotten on the signage of advertisements”.
Apart from being a colourful event that had 70 to 80 percent of OAAN members in attendance, the theme of the Award ceremony was on point and was exhaustively analyzed by the discussants.