In a significant development within the advertising landscape, the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), led by Osamede Uwubanmwen, has officially filed a lawsuit involving prominent figures, including President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Senate President Godswill Akpabio, the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Senate and House of Representatives, Minister of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Minister of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, and the National Institute Of Marketing Of Nigeria (NIMN).
The lawsuit pertains to the ongoing reforms in the advertising industry, targeting the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON).
During a press conference held at their Ikeja office, ADVAN, represented by Osamede Uwubanmwen, elaborated on the necessity of this legal action, driven by a thorough examination of the potential repercussions of the ongoing advertising industry reforms on their members and the advertising sector as a whole.
Uwubanmwen clarified that, contrary to media speculations, the association has indeed initiated legal proceedings against ARCON, and the involved parties are legally named in the suit. He emphasized their commitment to upholding the Nigerian constitution, stating, “We do not take this matter lightly because we are law-abiding brands that hold the Nigerian constitution in the highest esteem. The ongoing ARCON reforms, as it stands, has raised concerns that need to be addressed.”
Furthermore, he dispelled any prior confusion, stating, “We have engaged in numerous dialogues and consultations, and we want to clarify that while there were discussions suggesting that ADVAN had already gone to court, that was not official. We can now confirm that we have indeed taken the matter to court to challenge the constitutionality of the advertising reforms.”
The primary objective of ADVAN’s legal action is to protect the rights and interests of its members and maintain the integrity of the marketing profession in Nigeria. They specifically highlight what they consider a breach of constitutional and legal rights of advertisers and their members.
Uwubanmwen elaborated, “The Nigerian constitution is a revered document, and any amendments to it must adhere to a stringent process that involves approval by two-thirds of the Senate and the House of Assembly in Nigeria. After a thorough examination, ADVAN has identified certain aspects of the ARCON reform that appear to be in conflict with the constitution. This includes the handling of marketing and advertising within the constitution and the regulation of contractual agreements between two parties. The organization believes that such agreements should not be legislated upon but should remain within the realm of enforceable legal contracts.”
Furthermore, Uwubanmwen emphasized, “The purpose of regulating communication is to ensure that harmful content is not displayed, and when it transforms into a revenue-generating mechanism, it contradicts the essence of regulation. This is especially concerning for corporate entities operating in Nigeria.”
In conclusion, he expressed their trust in the judicial process, stating, “We are the leaders in our industry, the most trained and experienced. Our members have insisted that we explore all avenues of dialogue. As an organization committed to upholding the rule of law, we now turn to the court for guidance. We hope that the court will carefully examine the aspects of the law in question and determine whether they are consistent with the Nigerian constitution. We believe in the wisdom of the court, and we have taken this step in the best interest of our industry and our members.