Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, is wearing a new look, no thanks to governorship aspirants whose posters and billboards now adorn the nooks and cranny of the city. The new look tells the story of a hot contest among aspirants who would stop at nothing to gain higher visibility over one another across major political parties, writes Southwest Bureau Chief of The Nation, BISI OLADELE.
New visitors to Ibadan and other major towns in Oyo State may praise the cities for their new beautiful looks. Glittering billboards and posters beam cute faces of governorship and other aspirants in all corners. They are the expression of a strong desire by many indigenes to succeed Governor Abiola Ajimobi in next year’s general elections.
In Ibadan, the state capital, from Adegbayi to Sango, from Ojoo to Dugbe, from Basorun to Apata, the city is adorned with these political posters showing beautiful faces, party logos and catchy phrases which were aimed at persuading readers and the entire voters to support their aspiration.
Most of them are really well crafted and beautifully designed. These qualities make choice taxing for many undiscerning voters.
One thing residents cannot take away from these posters, however, is the improved level of print design and advertising concepts. It confirms that the level of improvement in taste in the last four to eight years is tremendous.
Within the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), over 15 aspirants have their billboards and posters in strategic places in all the towns and communities across the state. They include Adebayo Adelabu, Niyi Akintola (SAN), Joseph Tegbe, Olalekan Alli, Ajiboye Omodewu, Azeez Adeduntan, Owolabi Babalola, Kehinde Olaosebikan, Sunday Dare, Wole Adejumo, Adebayo Alao-Akala, Soji Akanbi, Fatai Buhari and Soji Eniade.
While some posters and billboards have the photograph of Governor Abiola Ajimobi inserted, others don’t have. It is believed that the insertion of Ajimobi’s photograph is to further convey endorsement of the new godfather in Oyo politics.
In the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Seyi Makinde is the only visible aspirant whose billboards and posters beam his cool mien all over the cities and communities.
In the newly boosted African Democratic Congress (ADC), Olufemi Lanlehin, Yunus Akintunde and Aderemi Olaniyan are visible in large posters and billboards across cities and local communities.
The Alliance for Democracy (AD) has Oyedele Hakeem flaunting the party’s logo all around Ibadan while Olaiya Abideen Olaitan looks most visible in Accord Party.
Aside roundabouts, major junctions, markets and other strategically visible places, the politicians seized the opportunity of the Eid-el-Kabir ceremony to outshine one another.
At the praying ground in Agodi where the governor observed his prayers with other top government functionaries, Islamic clerics and other dignitaries, posters covered the length and breadth of the entire fence. Posters of different colours and shades of aspirants became the major attraction for both Muslims who went to pray and passers-by. Their supporters also displayed banners as they move from one location to another to gain visibility among Muslim faithful.
While some have thematic campaigns, some do not.
For instance, Yunus Akintunde’s theme is ‘U & Us.” Babalola Owolabi’s campaign theme is “Osusu Owo.” Olaosebikan’s is “Ojo Ola Oyo” while Soji Akanbi’s theme is “Agbajo Owo.” Hakeem Alao Oyedele has ”Allow Alao” as his campaign theme while Omodewu has “Representation of Developmental Legacy” as his theme. Eniade’s is themed “Iwaju, iwaju” while Adelabu themed his campaign “The Penkelemeesi Legacy.”
As some of the posters wear out or get torn by the harsh weather, they are replaced within days to retain their effects on the minds of readers, confirming the seriousness of the politicians.
It is thought that the aspirants are pouring their resources to the idea key because its terminal date is near. All political parties are expected to conduct their primaries by October. Thereafter, only those who pick their party’s ticket will continue with the media campaign.
But for now, the poster and billboard regime is booming in Oyo State with printers, advertising agencies and poster pasters smiling to the bank. Radio and television stations are also reaping from the boom as the candidates seize the opportunity of major programmes and popular events to pay tributes, condolences or felicitate with notable people or the masses at popular festivals.
As the boom continues, residents watch with glee how politicians play their game of wits in their efforts to gain power.
A resident, Mrs Grace Oriade, told Southwest Report that the number of aspirants shown in posters is a source of confusion. She is worried that having too many aspirants for only one position makes it difficult for the ordinary citizen to identify who is actually the best for the job. She called for early primaries to separate the chaff from the wheat so that voters can easily choose the best from among the pack.
The Director-General, Oyo State Signage and Advertisement Agency (OYSAA), Pastor Yinka Adepoju, however, views the development from both positive and negative perspectives. For him, filling of vacant billboards with colourful materials is a welcome development. But pasting posters and banners recklessly is a negative impact on the work of his agency.
Adepoju, who also doubles as the Special Adviser to Governor Ajimobi on Signage and Advertisement told Southwest Report that “just like you have observed, OYSAA has equally observed the influx of campaign materials such as billboards, banners and posters on our highways, roundabouts, bridges, fence walls, public buildings and other structures around the cities by political aspirants.
“For us, it came in form of mixed feelings. One, it’s a thing of joy in that the majority of billboards which hitherto had been vacant for several months are now engaged with colourful campaign posters and different slogans together with pictures of aspirants. But on the other hand, one feels terribly bad when you look at the damage done to the environment by the same set of people, especially as it concerns the irresponsible way and manner campaign posters are pasted around the cities. This unruly behaviour, no doubt, has contributed negatively to our beautification programme for the fact that the untoward attitude is capable of destroying the already sanitised environment.
“As a matter of emphasis, OYSAA was created by the provision of an enabling law that states clearly that any person or group of persons , individual or corporate organisations, political aspirants and other stakeholders should, as a matter of policy, seek for and obtain due approval of Oyo State Signage and Advertisement Agency before putting up any billboard, banner or posters failing which such advertisement structures or materials shall be removed from locations without recourse to owners while such defaulters may also be prosecuted.”
While cautioning against the habit of debasing the already sanitised environment with illegal posters and billboards, Adepoju said discipline must be maintained even in the face of politicking.
He condemned what he described as “lawless act whereby politicians, in an attempt to promote or publicise themselves and their parties, will jettison the laid down rules and regulations guiding the practice of outdoor advertising in the state.”
He appealed to all stakeholders who have approved signage structures to fulfill their obligations to government by ensuring that bills are promptly settled.
“All advertisement structures not paid for shall be removed in the ongoing massive enforcement exercise being carried out across the state by the agency,” he warned.