FG Set to Engage of Licensed Practitioners on Communication

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By Raheem Akingbolu

For effective policy communication, federal government has concluded arrangement to engage advertising practitioners to execute its programmes. Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibajo, who stated this while receiving the executive members of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), during a courtesy visit to his office, also assured the association that government is set to constitute the governing council of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), which has been left unattended to for almost a year.

Osibajo said government is not unaware of the important role advertising is playing in the economy and that the current administration would effectively ride on the industry to change perception about brand Nigeria as well as bonding more with the populace.

“The current administration is aware of the important role advertising is playing in projecting our country and transforming the economy. To this end, government and its agencies will involve AAAN members in its communication plan to reach the target audience perfectly. As experts, advertising practitioners are in the best position to help government in its work plan to drive reorientation programmes and attitudinal change,”

On APCON governing council, Osibajo said the administration is on top of the game and that the Minister of Information, Mr. Lai Muhammed is working assiduously to resolve the issue.

Earlier, the AAAN President, Mr. Kayode Oluwasona, had told the vice president that the association visit was in furtherance of its social responsibility to the Nigerian nation-state. He said AAAN had come to pledge its full commitment and readiness to support the initiatives of the government.

“We have come to discuss matters that militate against our industry contributing even more to our National Development. We would like to recommend that Government urgently reviews the current communication architecture to allow for professionalism and better standards across levels and departments of government.  The objective here is to upgrade the quality of the work of communication handlers inside Government and also that of their external partners,”

He pointed out that Nigerian advertising laws and regulations allow for only APCON licensed organisations to practice advertising in the country and expressed his regret that government and its agencies patronise unlicensed agencies, which operate under different fictitious titles.

“While urging government to uphold the APCON laws and regulations in the execution of her communication projects, we suggest that government works with only APCON-licensed marketing communication experts in the Organized Private Sector to ensure that Government communications are standardized and made more effective,” he said.

Speaking further, Oluwasona stated that the Governing Council of APCON was one of those dissolved by the Federal Government about a year ago and pointed out that when APCON doesn’t have a council, the industry gets over exposed, and the achievement of decent, responsible and progressive advertising, which the council is set up to enforce, suffers.

“The Council that was dissolved was in existence for only four months, as against a standard tenure of three years stipulated in the APCON Laws. Prior to the constitution of this same council, APCON had been without a council for almost two years, and that was the period during which the regrettably unwholesome political campaigns of last year fettered,”

The AAAN boss then requested for the immediate re-constitution of the council, to allow the recently gazzetted reform of the industry, be effectively implemented.

Looking back at the contribution of the industry to the economy, Oluwasona said on account of AAAN activities, people’s opinions about economic, social and political developments are daily being moulded. He added that many household brands today may not have had a chance of survival without the indelible contributions of ingenious creative communications developed by his members.

He also informed the Vice President that advertising industry is making its modest contributions to the GDP of Nigeria.

Advertising and related activities form an integral part of brand values, it can be said that we sustain the sales of most of the brand’s, which sponsors play actively on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, and therefore define our Capital Market.

We have also made modest contributions to National Orientation. Readily coming to mind is the ‘Good People, Great Nation’ Corporate Nigeria Campaign during the tenure of the late Mrs. Dora Akunyili as Minister of Information. Our Association actually provided the Steering Secretary of the National Project in the person of Mr. LoluAkinwunmi, one of our Past Presidents,” he said.

On the industry’s contribution to public advocacy and social responsibility, Oluwasona stated that members of AAAN developed and ran campaigns to create massive awareness for Ebola, Cancer and other social and health challenges.  He disclosed that campaigns on Nigerian Unity; Anti-terrorism; Anti-corruption and Patronising of ‘Made-in-Nigeria’ goods are in the pipeline