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APCON: Two sides of the coin

APCON: Two sides of the coin

Gamers in advertising communications are confused by Federal Authorities’s seeming nonchalance in the direction of the reconstitution of the governing council of APCON

Neta Nwosu

Severally, the clean operating of the Promoting Practitioners’ Council of Nigeria (APCON) has been hampered intermittently, over the years. This promoting management home has come underneath the hammer of recurring breaches. Varieties of contravention have been infringed upon APCON by successive governments, subsequent to the enactment of the regulation establishing the regulatory physique by a previous administrative period.

Twice at totally different situations with the graduation of the democratic regime in 1999, APCON had been disowned as an company of authorities beneath the premise that authorities can’t proceed to fund ‘a professional institute’ which APCON was depicted to be.

In line with business bigwigs, it took the assiduous representations to authorities by the then governing council, spearheaded by late Dr. Might Nzeribe and Alhaji Garba Bello Kankarofi (who have been the Chairman and Registrar respectively) with the help of their contacts in the Nationwide Meeting, to safe the reinstatement of APCON as an company of the Federal Authorities.

For 18 months, throughout the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, the authorities didn’t appoint a md to represent the APCON council regardless that Mr. Lolu Akinwunmi has served out his tenure. After the lengthy wait with APCON which had been immersed in a disaster of management, Mr. Udeme Ufot, an promoting chieftain was lastly appointed the Chairman of the council. The practitioners breathed a sigh of aid however this was to be short-lived.

Barely 4 months after the Ufot-led board was constituted, President Muhammadu Buhari’s blanket dissolution of the boards of businesses, commissions and parastatals dealt a mighty blow on the APCON council and the advertising communications business. A letter dated July 16, 2015, signed by the then Head of Federal Civil Service, Danladi Kifasi, vacated the council and relinquished its powers to APCON Registrar/Chief Government Officer.

The stakeholders cried foul as they protested strongly that the dissolution contravened the APCON Act. Objections rented the air. “APCON council is a regulatory council with professional seats. It should not be treated as a parastatal for political seats,” the practitioners complained throughout all nooks and crannies. This flawed transfer returned APCON to comatose.

For 3 consecutive occasions, the Federal Authorities is believed to have goofed in nominating politicians and non-advertising professionals into the board of the council. The newest on this controversy was in January, this yr, when the authorities introduced Hon. Jacob Sunday (Chairman), Chief Dayo Abatan, Aloysius Okafor, Sani Tulu as the newly appointed APCON Council members; two yr after the dissolution of the Udeme-led APCON board.

In line with the promoting practitioners, the appointment is opposite to the Nigerian Promoting Guidelines, Legal guidelines and Regulation, Act 55 of 1988 (as amended), which states that a chairman, who ought to be appointed by the President, shall be a distinguished fellow of the career. The APCON council has remained in limbo, until date.

Gamers in the advertising communications business are, nevertheless, confused over the Federal Authorities’s seeming nonchalant angle in the direction of the reconstitution of the governing council of APCON. Three years down the line, there’s nonetheless not a useful APCON council and that is stated to be affecting the progress of the multimillion naira business. The promoting stakeholders have since seized each alternative to interact instantly and not directly with the State Home and the Workplace of the Minister of Info and Tradition however authorities is but to yield to their demand.

The stalemate of the business occasioned by recurrent breaches which have continued to disclaim APCON of an appropriately constituted council has provoked debates to resolve these points. Promoting practitioners at the moment are divided over divergent in addition to radical views in averting these challenges. Whereas some are advocating that APCON must be uprooted from the authorities’s management, others owe a opposite view. The latter’s view is bent on securing APCON’s muscle for its regulatory activity.

Maybe, out of frustration over the deadlock, some of the business gamers are clamouring for the removing of APCON from authorities management, to allow it run as an institute, which of course might be managed by practitioners and ‘free from government interference.’

An promoting chieftain, who spoke on the situation of anonymity, stated that originally, he was of the view that APCON ought to stay with authorities as a result of authorities is giving subventions to help the council however not anymore. “The advertising industry is structured geographically. It is purely private sector led and predominantly based in Lagos and South-West. Almost 65% of ad spends is around Lagos and South-West. This is where the agencies operate from. If you look at the AAAN membership list, about 90% are Lagos based. So if APCON is private sector driven, the operators of APCON will also focus on where their interest lie, which is Lagos, South-West. If you look at the tripod, agencies, media and the marketers, all of them are located down south. This says a lot about the scope of APCON’s operations and infrastructure.”

He additional said that that if the business actually appreciates the want for progress and for the proper factor to be achieved, APCON ought to disengage from authorities’s parastatal construction because it truly has capability to boost sufficient funding for self-sustenance.

“To be trustworthy with you, once I see how a lot my company spends in a month for vetting, for instance, for only one model alone, it was about half one million naira. So, should you ask me, I feel APCON has grown appreciably. In the event that they determine to vet all advertisements, they need to have the funds for to run it and take the yoke off authorities and I feel they will do it now.

“From the days of Alhaji Garba Kan-korifi, government has been cutting the subventions to APCON and all that they do now is give them just the salaries of the staff. Can APCON generate enough money to take care of those salaries? I think it can. The same answer I will give for the question of institute. If we really want to professionalise the industry, let the institute come. Let it be funded by members and through the vetting fees. It may be difficult initially, but so much advertising is not going through the right channels, by the time even state governments are compelled to do the right thing, because state governments advertise, you will be amazed at how much APCON can raise and can fund its activities across the country. That’s my answer.”

On the different hand, some practitioners declare that APCON was established by an Act of Parliament (Act 55 of 1998 and Act. 93 of 1992). In line with this group, the APCON act created a council and never an institute, however then endowed it with a twin position of a follow regulatory, in addition to knowledgeable physique.

This line of thought stresses that it is very important observe that regulatory councils are, kind of, businesses of authorities. They don’t seem to be solely creations of the regulation, identical to all included entities. They’re additionally creations (businesses) of the authorities. That explains why the then Federal Ministry of Info and Tradition which was the supervisory ministry, facilitated the take-off of APCON, offering it a short lived secretariat at the Nationwide Arts Theatre Complicated, Iganmu, Lagos, lengthy earlier than the current APCON Home was conceived.

APCON has all the time been an company of authorities with its operational insurance policies and tips superintended by a governing council appointed as stipulated in its institution Act underneath the supervisory oversight of the Minister of Info.

This faculty of thought said that in spite of the limitations of the APCON Act, which has necessitated the urge for modification of the Act to strengthen its regulatory enforcement capability, APCON to an considerable extent, has succeeded in implementing appropriate requirements in business communications throughout the segments of the promoting business. “A professional institute stripped of the powers of a government agency will hardly be able to exercise effective control over the operators outside the mainstream practice.” However the opposing group is of the view that if APCON transforms into an institute,
it’ll nonetheless retain its regulatory energy as a result of it’s backed by regulation.

APCON is a regulatory council. The governing council of a follow regulatory council resembling APCON is appointed by the authorities, in line with the provisions of the council’s enabling regulation. The easiest way to resolve this bottleneck as soon as and for all is to influence authorities to amend the APCON regulation in a fashion that the council stays strictly a regulatory council beneath the administration of authorities and in addition set up an promoting institute. This proposed measure wouldn’t solely resolve the deadlock but in addition take care of the pursuits of each the authorities and the Nigerian public whom it represents, in addition to the members of the promoting career and business.

For a suggestion, Nigeria Promoting Affiliation, an umbrella skilled affiliation of all certified promoting practitioners just like the Nigeria Bar Affiliation, the Nigerian Medical Affiliation, the Nigeria Society of Engineers, the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, amongst others, must be arrange. The promoting business is longing for one. APCON can’t sufficiently fill this vacuum.

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