Intercontinental Marketing & Communication Consortium Limited has issued an apology to the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) in response to the controversy surrounding the ‘All Eyes On the Judiciary’ billboards.
Following ARCON’s order to remove several billboards across the nation carrying this message, the council also disbanded the Advertising Standards Panel responsible for approving the billboards, deeming them as targeted at the presidential election petition tribunal.
In a statement addressing these decisions, Olalekan Fadolapo, the Director-General of ARCON, expressed that the advertising campaign had violated vetting guidelines and held the potential to disturb public peace.
According to reports from Punch, the marketing agency conveyed its apology through Stephen Ogboko, the Managing Director. Ogboko expressed regret, stating, “We sincerely apologize for this and state that our action was not intentional.” He revealed that the agency had sought approval for the campaign artwork from Mr. Markus Inji Lukman, an ARCON liaison officer who had previously helped them vet materials. Ogboko mentioned that Lukman had given assurances of approval based on a similar campaign he had seen before.
Ogboko emphasized that the agency would never engage in actions that could jeopardize the judiciary or national stability.
In response, Fadolapo acknowledged the apology but affirmed that the agency would still be required to appear before the Advertising Offences Tribunal. He criticized the notion that verbal or written approval through messages could suffice as proper authorization. Fadolapo highlighted the responsibility of advertising professionals to uphold the integrity of their field, asserting that the agency’s claim of verbal approval would not be accepted.
“The damage is done already,” Fadolapo remarked, noting that the company would need to address the tribunal’s inquiries. He also disclosed that the individual who allegedly granted verbal approval had been subjected to questioning.