The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State has accused the state government and the state advertising agency, O'Signage, of blocking, removing, and refusing to approve campaign billboards for its gubernatorial candidate in crucial parts of the state in an undemocratic and illegal manner.
The Osun PDP was forced to warn the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) and other regulatory organizations, according to a statement signed by Olawale Rasheed, the Director, Media and Strategy, Osun PDP Governorship Campaign Organisation.
Rasheed claimed that the organization had information from reliable sources that the state advertising agency, O-Signage, had issued directives to outdoor advertising practitioners in the state not to accept any placement from the PDP Governorship Campaign Organization, and that those who disobeyed the directive risked having their operating licenses revoked.
The PDP campaign organization lamented that the agency had gone ahead to pressurize outdoor advertising practitioners in the state to remove existing billboards of PDP gubernatorial candidate Ademola Adeleke and replace them with those of the Governor, who is the All Progressives Congress gubernatorial candidate (APC).
The group, which criticized the use of political thugs to attack billboards bearing Adeleke's posters around the state, said the move was a clear violation of the Nigerian Code of Advertising Practice and a blatant violation of the statute establishing the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON).
It found that a fair playing field for all clients is a mandatory element in the APCON Act, notwithstanding the fact that O-Signage was not only setting a dangerous precedent but also operating in flagrant contempt of the Constitution and relevant advertising regulations in the country.
Inquiring as to what the Oyetola administration is afraid of by restricting equal access to advertising, the campaign organization stated that if the state government was truly committed to democratic norms, it would not be afraid of voters receiving and consuming alternative messages through the electoral system.
"We will take all legal and democratic measures necessary to protect our democratic rights to campaign and present our candidacy to the people of Osun State."
"All anti-democratic elements will face legal retaliation from us." The people's will must win out. It ended, "This is not 2018."
Attempts to reach the APC for comment at the time of reporting this story were unsuccessful because the party's Director of Media and Publicity, Kunle Oyatomi, did not reply to phone calls.