Dr. Lekan Fadolapo, Registrar and CEO of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON), has revealed that only the minister of Information and Culture of court of competent jurisdiction can suspend the Advertising Industry Standards of Practice (AISOP) while stating that no government official can speak to the law recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari until it is enrolled and gazetted.
The Registrar’s directive is coming on the heels of repositioning of the advertising industry for growth, while empowering the advertising regulatory council to operate as a law.
The apex regulatory council boss stated this during the Annual General Meeting of the Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN), where he was the special guest.
“We have had a series of requests for copies of the new law but let me state here that I myself am yet to get a gazetted copy of the law. We are all aware, until a new law is enrolled and gazette, no government official can speak to the law. The promise is that before the end of this week, copies will be available; so I may not be in a position to speak on the new law until the gazetted copies are reviewed,” he said.
He reaffirmed that in line with its mandate of regulating the advertising industry, the Advertising Industry Standards of Practice (AISOP) is still in force, adding that until otherwise decided by a court of competent jurisdiction or a directive from Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, they cannot and will not suspend it.
“The industry reform is huge and this is the last phase. We started with the code in 2012, which was reviewed. After that, the proclamation of the corporate license regime followed, and we had the AISOP. The law was supposed to be the last part which has been done,” he said.
He revealed that the introductions of various phases of regulations are geared towards redefining and bringing a paradigm shift into the advertising industry for growth and for it to be at par with global realities.
“One of the things that we are expecting in the new law is the establishment of the advertising offenses tribunal. When we have that, so many things will change. We cannot continue to do the business of advertising the way we have been doing it and expect different results,” he said.
Dr. Fadolapo also revealed that other countries are copying Nigeria’s regulatory reforms as a leading model to be replicated.
“I will be making a presentation to the regional committee of the International Advertising Association (IAA) because other countries are looking at adopting it as a standard in their country. So, Nigeria is leading the conversation,” he revealed.
He called for the support of all stakeholders on the need to make sacrifices to ensure an undisrupted growth in the industry.
“This industry is important to us and as regulators, I want to assure you that we’ll do everything humanly possible, legally possible and within the framework of our established law to ensure that we grow this industry,” he averred.