‘All eyes on the judiciary’ Billboards Removal Is An Assault on Freedom of Speech – Atiku’s Aide

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The removal of billboards bearing the slogan “All Eyes on The Judiciary” has been cited as a blatant example of President Bola Tinubu’s authoritarianism and attack on free speech by Phrank Shaibu, Special Assistant on Public Communications to Atiku Abubakar PDP presidential candidate for the 2023 elections.

In a statement released on Tuesday in response to the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria’s (ARCON) order to remove all billboards bearing such an inscription throughout Nigeria, Shaibu made this claim.

He claimed that the entire situation justified the claim that election-related legal proceedings should be finished before candidates for contested elections are sworn in.

Shaibu stressed that ARCON had already begun acting like the Lagos State Signage and Advertising Agency (LASAA) which had built a reputation of denying Nigerians the right to carry advertisements, which the Lagos State Government deemed “unfavourable”.

He noted that it was ironic that Tinubu claimed to be a democrat and even boasted of funding the June 12 struggle, only for him to transform into an intolerant authoritarian after the election.

Atiku’s aide added that it was hypocritical for the same man to be championing democracy in Niger while at the same time denying Nigerians the most basic form of democracy, which includes freedom of speech and expression.

Shaibu noted: “Tinubu has, once again, put his dictatorial tendency on public display. How has a simple message that says “all eyes are on the judiciary” suddenly become offensive?

“This is a clear case of abuse of office and reinforces the argument that court cases ought to be concluded before inauguration so that beneficiaries of fraudulent elections would not be able to manipulate the system in their favour.

He further wondered how a message like: “All Eyes on the Judiciary” would translate into a threat to society.

Shaibu stressed: “The basic principle of social justice is about the people. The advertisers of the billboards only did what the norm is in civilised climes.

“It was the agents working to impress an interest that read meanings to that innocuous advert. Otherwise, it is a basic principle that eyes must be on the wheel of justice. Eyes must naturally be on the wheel of justice because when justice is delivered, it must be ‘seen’ to have been just!

“In any case, both Tinubu and the APC are before the same court. It is curious how they find this particular message upsetting. Anyway, even if they pull down the billboards, they can never stop all eyes from being on the judiciary at this historic time.”