Two new sherrifs in town to determine future of Out-of-Home in Lagos
By Felicia Nwosu
It has been a coincidental new dawn for the Lagos State Signage Advertisement Agency (LASAA) and the Out-of-Home Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) as the agencies recently had a change of leadership.
With the coming of Prince Fatiu Akiolu as the new MD/CEO of LASAA and the emergence of Sola Akinsiku as the President of OAAN alongside other executive members, one would but wonder what the future holds for the practitioners in the outdoor space. Would business fortunes be disrupted positively or negatively through the decisions of these two new Sheriffs in town?
There is no doubt that the industry is filled with both uncertainties and expectations as it is going to be a whole new era from both leaders, especially in an already intense business environment fuelled by misunderstanding, controversial laws and regulations.
Since news of the new sheriffs broke, some industry observers are wondering what new deliverables the new dispensation of LASAA CEO and OAAN president would bring to the table for struggling members, whose billboard structures and investment prospects are not safe within their residential states of operations.
LASAA’s mission and vision have faced challenges over the years due to leadership choices that lacked the professional expertise necessary for guiding the agency toward its goals, as previous CEOs were often viewed as political appointees rather than technocrats, which led to allegations of misconduct and unprofessionalism during their tenures.
It would also be recalled that the regime of Emmanuel Ajufo, the immediate past president of OAAN, left some unconcluded matters with the signage agency. The then president had once called for intervention of the Lagos State government on the need to institute a board that will oversee and monitor the activities and transactions between LASAA and members of OAAN. Mr. Ajufo believed that the board would go a long way in resolving some of the challenges encountered in the hands of the agency by members of the association. However, the board was not constituted before the new executive took office.
What’s more? Other OOH industry leaders had once averred that OAAN’s problem is self-inflicted, noting that OAAN sold itself off which led to its present predicament. They had urged the admen in the association to brave up and stand for their rights legally for a friendlier practicing environment and to redeem their place of pride for business growth. Over the years, many lingering issues between the two bodies have persisted.
Many questions have been on the lips of industry watchers on whether the new era will usher in a more friendly business atmosphere, devoid of accusations and counter-accusations between OAAN and LASAA. Will the change of leadership baton of these two bodies renew lingering the frosty relationship? Will this bring an end to what OAAN once described as LASAA using its powers to torment and strangulate operators by creating harsh regulations while imposing huge levies on members?
As OAAN pushes to protect the interest of its members against what it terms discriminatory or repressive legislation, LASAA wields its mandate to control outdoor structures for signage and advertisements, issue licenses and permits for outdoor structures, and protect the environment from visual blights, among other functions.
The industry hopes that recent engagement by the new CEO of LASAA with key OOH practitioners will mark a paradigm shift that aligns with the rapidly evolving advertising landscape.
Will Mr. Akinsiku and Prince Akiolu driving the new leadership train put a stop to multiple taxations, billing for vacant billboards, registration of non-ARCON or OAAN members by the signage agency? Will they bring respite to the plea to halt the plan of 7 major roads earmarked for concession in Lagos and the need for a board that will oversee and monitor the activities and transactions between LASAA and OAAN? Time shall tell.