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Exclusive! LTV OBVan, Steve Ayorinde, Ambode, Tinubu: Unending Drama

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Exclusive! LTV OBVan, Steve Ayorinde, Ambode, Tinubu: Unending Drama

It seems the last has not been heard of the trending Lagos State Television Outside Broadcasting Van (OBVan) contract many perceived to be the major source of discord between Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and his political godfather, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Governor Ambode Is at the moment battling to secure a second term ticket

In the last two weeks that the issue of the OBVan came to the fore, interested actors have been using the charged political climate to get back at the Governor whom BlackBox Nigeria gathered since his assuming office has pumped huge investment to revive activities at the state owned Television station. Investigation by our correspondent showed that the National Leader of APC and the Governor had no hand in the developing story rather a former Commissioner overseeing the state owned television station was trying to use Tinubu’s name to cover a deal gone wrong.

Steve Ayorinde

“His Excellency has indeed rebranded the station for effective and professional service delivery, but the huge sum collected from the Governor by the then Commissioner for Information, Steve Ayorinde and his cohorts that ran the ministry is nothing compared to what’s on ground in LTV,” said a reliable source to BlackBox Nigeria.

On Wednesday, September 12, 2018, LTV announced the delivery of a brand new OBVan to it by uploading photos of the van on Instagram, LTVSocial page, with the caption,”Brand new OBvan arrives for Lagos Television (LTV) courtesy Lagos State Governor @AkinwunmiAmbode . Better times ahead for coverage and revenue generation.”

Observers however, are concerned about the sudden arrival of the OBvan considering that the then management of LTV under the leadership of Deji Balogun processed the same OBvan. “The New OB Van has been approved way back in 2015/16 when Deji Balogun was the GM. This  is 2018, why is the supply and delivery taking forever?” a senior staff of the station told our correspondent.

It will recalled that earlier in the year, BlackBox Nigeria had reported how Lagos Lawmakers walked out Steve Ayorinde over poor handling of Lagos Television. It was discovered that despite its huge resources, LTV lacked functional operational vehicles as staff have been subjected to use old and rickety official cars not befitting of LTV’s status.

Following the report, a staffer confirmed to BBN that the state government purchased 5 new hilux vehicles and released funds to buy operational vehicles too but the money was diverted. “Yes, the Governor purchased 5 new hilux vehicles for the reporters covering the 5 divisions of the state. But where is the money approved by his Excellency for the station to purchase operational vehicles to replace the coffins presently used by the station as operational vehicles? Governor Ambode has indeed spent so much on Ltv, but unknown to his Excellency, the money were being embezzled by the former Commissioner of the Information ministry.”

LTV OBvan: Inside Details

A newly acquired OBvan allegedly at Apapa Port

 

To create a level playing field, this medium will suggest a probe of the administration of Deji Balogun and Funke Moore to get to the root of all the ugly developments on the new as well as the old OB vans of of Lagos Television. As there are insinuations that because a former GM did not allow powerful personalities in Alausa to continue using LTV as cash-cow, a story was framed up to remove her from the system. 

During the course of investigating this matter, our reporter sneaked into the premises of the station and saw that cameras were actually purchased, but the quality and the cost of the cameras might be a source of another story. 

Did the Ministry of Information justified the huge sums released by his Excellency before the appointment of Kehinde Bamigbetan as the commissioner? Who authorized the huge fund to repair the old OBvan and where is it now?

Documents accessed showed there are more to the OBvan than meets the eye. In a letter dated, April 6, 2017, the then GM of LTV, had written a letter to WTS Broadcasting obviously appointed by the powers in Alausa seeking to know update on an OBvan – IVECO OB/SNG Van moved to its premises for complete refurbishment.

Replying to the letter 3 months after, WTS Broadcast said it will take 147 million to carry out full diagnosis and remaking of the OBvan moved into its custody, a quotation far above what the technical staff of LTV have requested to repair same van. 

No doubt, the OBvan was strategically used as a conduit pipe to siphon money through LTV. A thorough probe into capital projects carried out at LTV in recent time will provide the answers. 

Efforts to input staff name in this report were resisted as they claimed they don’t want to comment on the sensitive issue for fear of being sacked, redeployed or labbeled anti Government, especially now that career progression in the station has been stagnant. However, when opinions of staffs were sampled on the efforts of the Governor, many rated the Governor well on staff welfare saying they are 100% in support of his administration.

It would also be recalled that sometimes this year, the Lagos State House of Assembly summoned the then Commissioner, Permanent Secretary and the General manager of the station to explain how over 1 billion Naira allocated for capital projects especially the digitization of the station was exhausted without achieving its target aim. 

BlackBox Nigeria findings also revealed that Ltv is far from a digitized as being painted to the Governor. While cost of purchase and repair of the current and old OB Van respectively are now shrouded in misery after payments have been made.

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