By Charles Igwe
Mr. Phrank Shaibu, the Special Assistant on Public Communications to Atiku Abubakar, has strongly criticized the government entities responsible for dismantling billboards that displayed the message “All Eyes on The Judiciary” strategically placed across Nigeria. He viewed this action as an illustration of President Bola Tinubu’s authoritarian approach and an infringement on freedom of speech.
Shaibu’s reaction was prompted by the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria’s (ARCON) directive to take down billboards featuring the aforementioned message. He pointed out that ARCON also disbanded the Advertising Standard Panel, the council’s authorized body responsible for ensuring that advertisements adhere to the nation’s laws and the ethical standards of the advertising profession.
In Shaibu’s perspective, the incident reinforces the argument that legal cases involving elections should be concluded before individuals from contentious elections assume office. He questioned how a message like “All Eyes on the Judiciary” could be perceived as a threat to society.
He remarked, “The fundamental principle of social justice centers on the people. The advertisers of the billboards simply adhered to the norm observed in civilized societies. It was the interests of certain parties that misconstrued the intent of that harmless advertisement.”
Shaibu continued, “In any case, both Tinubu and the APC are engaged in legal proceedings before the same court. It’s intriguing how they find this particular message so unsettling.”
“Nevertheless, even if they remove the billboards, they cannot prevent the attention of the public from being on the judiciary during this significant period.”