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In a public notice, issued few months ago, to intimate stakeholders of the development, the Kano State government, through the state’s Urban Planning and Development Authority, had informed stakeholders of the appointment of CPMS, a non-outdoor advertising firm, by the state government to manage and sanitise outdoor advertising space in the state.
Curiously, before stakeholders could settle down for the new reality, the state’s new outdoor regulatory agency had ordered all billboards in the state to be pulled down on or before May 31, this year.
“Failure to implement this will mean that Kano State government will remove these and the cost for this will be charged to the advertisers,” the notice stated.
And since the expiration of those deadlines, the concessionaire had rolled out the bulldozers in the city of Kano, with billboards worth several billions of naira already mowed down. Even a court injunction obtained by a member of the association, restraining the state government from carrying out the demolition was ignored.
Though temporary relief eventually came the way of outdoor advertising practitioners in the state, on August 6, this year, when the association got an injunction, restraining the state government and CPMS from continuing the assaults on the billboards in the state, substantial investments had gone down the drain while the demolition lasted.
Brands and Marketing reliably gathered that the association was reluctant to go to court until it became apparent that the concessionaire would not yield on the decision to destroy billboards in the state.
For instance, the meeting called by the association at its secretariat, in Lagos, to find a way out of the crisis in Kano, with Chris Parkes, the Chief Executive of CPMS in attendance, was said to have ended in a deadlock. The white man reportedly told members of the association at the meeting, there would be no going back on the decision to demolish billboards in the state.
“It was after he had talked to us with impunity, telling us that there was no going back that we felt something had to be done before the man fully went on rampage,” stated the source.
“We discovered that the man was only interested in making money from outdoor advertising business for the government without minding the interests of practitioners in the state,” the source had stated.
Not a few stakeholders had questioned the rationale behind the Kano State government’s decision to pick a foreigner and a non-practitioner, to carry out a task he rerportedly does not have a full grasp of.
“There is nothing special in what the man is presently doing in the state. Anybody within the state would have handled this, so why go for a foreigner who has not even practised the business? That is why the man has been treating us with impunity, because he can not really feel our pulse,” the source had said.
The latest development in Kano however negates the optimism exhibited by the association earlier in the year, when it expressed its delight that the association was increasingly establishing a common ground with stakeholders, especially governments’ outdoor regulatory agencies, towards making the outdoor advertising business a catalyst for development in such states.
The president of the association, Mr Charles Chijide, had earlier boasted at a media briefing in Lagos, that the atmosphere within the outdoor advertising landscape had become more relaxed, unlike in the past when members of the association had been having running battles with the association.
Chijide’s enthusiasm was premised on the fact that state governments, especially in Oyo, Ekiti, Ondo, Abuja and even Lagos, are beginning to involve the association before coming up with a policy on outdoor advertising in those states.
But this fragile peace seems to have been shattered in Kano with the coming of CPMS. Some have argued that besides Lagos State, where the association suffered its heaviest loss in recent times as a result of the reforms carried out in that sector by the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA), the latest onslaught on outdoor in Kano may be graver.Share