Judgment Day for Former LASAA Boss at Poster Awards

Former Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA), boss, Makanjuola Alabi was the object of intense verbal attack from aggrieved members of the Association of Outdoor Advertisers of Nigeria, during the recently held 10th OAAN Poster Awards 2016 at Eko Hotels and Suit Lagos.
Makanjuola who was the first Managing Director of the regulatory agency was blamed by several OAAN members at the meeting for institutionalizing the reign of terror against OOH operators during his time as the chief outdoor regulator in Lagos, he was accused of using the agency to torment and terrorise operators by creating obnoxious regulations and imposing crushing levies on members.
Makanjuola who is now an operator himself, was left shocked and obviously dumfounded by the myriad of condemnation that came his way from the various individuals at the meeting and much as he tried to disguise his astonishment, it was obvious he was affected by the rage his presence generated.
The attack was actually led by Remi Adetayo, Chairman Moving Media “when I walked into this venue and saw Makanjuola seated without being molested by members, I knew OAAN members feared God, because it was Makanjuola who started the reign of terror in his time as LASAA MD.”
Continuing, Mr Adetayo recalled with indignation how upon resumption of office, Makanjuola unilaterally raised the annual charge on his NITEL outdoor board from about N250 000 to a whopping N100million. “And when I asked him why, he told me that it was because my board was the only one visible from Government House Marina,” Mr Adetayo said to the chagrin of OAAN members present at the event.
The Moving Media boss noted that all efforts by him to get Makanjuola to toe the path of reason fell on deaf hears. But at the end of the day, LASAA agreed to cut the fee to N50million, which Adetayo said was still too high and inimical to the survival of his business.
It took the intervention of Troyka Holdings Chairman, Biodun Shobanjo, who was the guest speaker at the awards to calm Adetayo down. Shobanjo warned that it was important not to personalize the issues at stake, adding that despite Makanjuola’s shortcomings, he was only acting in his capacity as LASAA MD and not for personally aggrandizement.
“The monies that Makanjuola made for LASAA didn’t end up in his personal pocket. They were for Lagos State Government, so there is no need to attack him, if not we’ll lose focus on the core issues at stake here,” the veteran adman admonished.
Makanjuola on his part, made some feeble attempt to explain his role and justify his stewardship, by saying that he wasn’t acting on a personal capacity but was doing a job given him by the State government, but operators were far from convinced. And when he was asked by one of the operators if he regretted any of the actions he took as LASAA MD, Makanjuola was defiant, insisting that he would not act differently, if given another chance to lead the agency.
While there was some commendations for LASAA for bringing sanity and helping to drive growth in the OOH industry in Lagos, many of the outdoor owners insisted that the same goals could have been achieved with a more business friendly and responsible approach. For example, some of the operators reasoned that the reforms could have been implemented in phases, given practitioners time to adjust to the inevitable changes.
And though Makanjuola has long left office, and two other MD appointed after him, the frosty relationship between LASAA and OAAN have persisted. If anything, it have even became worse. Relations between both bodies hit the lowest ebb over the last 12 months after LASAA, under the new management led by Sanusi ignored OAAN members fervent pleas to be paid for campaign jobs done for the All Progressive Congress (APC) during the last election campaign. The indebtedness of LASAA to OAAN is said to be about N700million.
LASAA was said to have reached a gentlemanly agreement with OAAN members to release their boards for APC campaign materials, leaving little or nothing for the People’s Democratic (PDP), Campaign but as soon as the elections were over and APC declared winner, LASAA have refused to honour the agreement, instead the agency has directed the body to the former MD of LASAA George Noah.
Thankfully, in recent times, there have been efforts by LASAA to address some of the grievances raised by OAAN, but only time will tell if peace will finally reign between both organisations

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