Business All Eyes on the Judiciary' Billboard Issue Forces FG to Dissolve Advertising Standard Panel


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The Federal Government has announced the dissolution of the Secretariat of the Advertising Standard Panel (ASP) due to its endorsement of billboards featuring the slogan "All Eyes on The Judiciary," which were accused of attempting to influence the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal. This decision was conveyed by Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, the Director-General of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON), through an official statement on Tuesday.

The ASP, a statutory panel operating within ARCON, is responsible for ensuring that advertisements adhere to the prevailing laws of the country and the Code of Ethics for advertising professionals. The statement from the Director-General highlighted several reasons why the advertisement in question should not have been approved.

The central theme of the campaign in the advertisement is a matter pending before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, making it jus pendis, and hence precluded from being a subject of public statement, debate, or advertisement. The advertisement was deemed controversial and potentially inciting public unrest. Additionally, it was considered a form of blackmail against the Nigerian Judiciary and the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, undermining the expected impartiality of the justices involved.

The Director-General also announced the temporary suspension of the Director and Deputy Director responsible for Regulations within ARCON, pending an investigation into the matter. Acknowledging an error in the approval process, Fadolapo stated that a committee would be established to probe the circumstances leading to the "erroneous approval" of the advert's concept and the breach of vetting guidelines.

Consequently, the Advertising Standards Panel Secretariat, responsible for the approval process, is dissolved due to its failure to diligently exercise its function as the gatekeeper of advertising, marketing communications, and advertisement content.