The Lagos State Television has debunked the lies and wild allegations being circulated on social media about the purchase of an Outside Broadcasting Van and some camera equipment being the source of purported spat between Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and his political godfather, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
An obscure blog, lagosbusinnessnews, had first carried the fake news on Monday with false allegations that the OBVan was approved for supply by Ambode in spite of a counter order by Tinubu; and that while other camera equipment were delivered, the OBVan was never supplied and that a certain Lebanese supplier/contractor was told to disappear so as to cover the non-existent fraud. But on Wednesday, LTV uploaded the photos of the OBVan on its social media pages with an announcement that the brand new van with state of the art live transmission equipment had arrived from the UK and that there will be "better times ahead for coverage and revenue generation."
Investigations by our reporter revealed that unbeknown to the peddlers of the falsehood, the OBvan was already being assessed for payment and clearing at the Lagos port for delivery to the station this weekend at the time the fake news was being concocted. Original and authentic documents sighted by our reporter showed that contrary to the lies being circulated that the Van costs an outrageous N1.5billion of which 50% deposit had been paid, it was discovered that 80% of the actual cost of barely 200m was what was paid according to government's standard practice. Investigation also revealed that no Lebanese contractor was involved or asked to disappear as alarmingly alleged in the false publication. The supply was done by a fully indigenous Nigerian firm. Senior Ltv and government officials who do not wish to be named also confirmed that no agreement exists between the station and any overseas company. "How can that be possible when our suppliers are also the technical partners, who will supply the equipment, provide warranty and maintenance? What's our business with a certain Excellence Transmission that only exists in the imagination of the fake news carriers? You can see the name on the Parking List and Bill of Lading. What type of OBVan costs N1.5bn when it is not an armoured tank or a jet?, a reliable insider told our reporter. LTV's clarifications came on a day that a one-time GM of the station, a male, provided useful information on his Facebook page as to why the story in circulation is what it is - pure lie. He also gave details of the massive upgrades of the station and top quality equipment that have been supplied which have been in use since Ambode's tenure began in 2015. Shockingly, however, multiple sources have fingered as the source of the deliberate falsehood being circulated an aggrieved former GM of the station, a female, who was relieved of her position allegedly for deviating from the governor's vision for LTV; gross abuse of office and the scandal of an illicit office affair with a married younger male subordinate who has teamed up with a few other renegades who are defiantly opposed to the reforms being carried out in the station and are obviously inconsolable by the unceremonius exit of their former GM to perpetrate the unfounded rumour. It was discovered that the same set of devilish cohorts had earlier this year attempted a similar campaign to smear the image of both Governor Ambode and Steve Ayorinde who was the Commissioner supervising the ministry at the time the equipment for the upgrade of the station was approved for purchase but had already been redeployed before the said GM was removed and sent to the parent ministry. "The rehashed falsehood about the OBvan was evidently thrown out again this time after falsely dragging Tinubu's name into it without any basis just to cash in on the rumoured rift between Ambode and his political mentor," a top source at the government house revealed. Another reliable source who is an aide to Asiwaju Tinubu but who spoke in confidence to our reporter says the "story is hoggwash, obviously hatched to create evil sensation and tarnish the image of their targets. How can the purchase of OBVan be of interest to Asiwaju? How can an Ltv equipment be bought to serve TV Continental that has its own OBVan already? Is it not obvious that it is an unserious article to say Asiwaju approves every contract before Ambode can execute them? Nothing like that exists and you can see through the amateurish fairytale that it is nothing but a smear campaign on the Governor and the Commissioner." Further investigations revealed that although the upgrade of LTV was approved in phases largely from 2015 all through 2017 because Ambode was determined to raise the quality of the station, the choice of a brand new OBVan was preferred by the state government over spending a huge amount to fix an obsolete OBVan of which the sacked GM had sought approval to repair but was refused because it would amount to a waste. Our reporter sighted documents that showed how the ex-GM had raised an outrageous memo in apparent collusion with a desperate contractor-repairer in their bid to repair the obsolete OBVan at an amount that is almost the cost of a brand new OBvan. A reliable source said that contrary to the lies being circulated, the Commissioner and his team actually stopped the attempted fraud by the sacked GM and what would have amounted to a colossal waste in using almost N150million to repair obsolete equipment that the station has abandoned for many years." Our investigation shows that since 2015, a consistent upgrade of the station has been going on with Ambode commiting huge resources to making the station very competitive. But a few of the staff loyal to the sacked GM are just opposed to the reforms being introduced by the Governor for fear of losing out. One source said "I can tell you for free that the said article is a pack of white lies. Go round and make your investigations. Cost of broadcast equipment is easily verifiable and you know all the memos have to originate from this station, not at the ministry. The Permanent Secretary and Commissioner only verify and recommend to the Governor for approval. All the records are intact." Yet another sorce at the station volunteered ingormation. "This is actually the best time to work at LTV because the Governor has made this station a baby to be nurtured. We were told the OBvan was delayed due to variation in the exchange rate. But while we were expecting it, the Governor approved the supply of top-range cameras, microphones and other gadgets that were lacking. He upgraded our studios and provided equipment that can transmit events live from six different locations simultaneouly. No other tv station has such in Nigeria you can quote me. We have even used those equipment to transmit some events twice from London and from Ghana. The OBVan that is coming is just to complement them because the six back-pack live transmitters work with data and the signals can't be as strong as a proper OBVan." Another senior staff also confided in our reporter that most staffers know the disgruntled elements in the station, always writing petitions and threatening people with the union. It was learnt that their grouse stemmed from their feeble resistance to Ambode's order in 2016 to advertise crucial positions for news and technical departments so that new staff can be employed and for popular veterans to be invited on part-time basis.
"That is why you can now see top-notch professionals like Ruth Benamesia-Opia and Soni Irabor reading prime-time news on LTV. That was how Siju Alabi came to join the station as Director of News and that is why you now see fresh and popular faces that are good professionals employed on the Governor's order after the said advert in national papers and intense selection process. Other good ones were even poached from Tvc; Channels tv and Silverbird tv. Just last month, the governor approved overseas training for staff of the station in two batches as part of the overall repositioning of the station and this is a governor that gives huge bonuses to staff and approves wardrobe allowances and bought operational vehicles for the five bureaus across the state. The governor's vision for LTV is clear and laudable but some of the entrenched staffers who are not sure of themselves panicked that they might lose out in the new order and became hostile to their new colleagues and especially the new GM. Worse still, they keep exhibiting resistance to the Governor's great vision for the station. Sadly, the sacked GM too showed bias against the new staff and showed open resentment to clear instructions on the vision of the Governor. The lies about the OBvan are just their ill-thought out way of hitting back over her sack; thinking in collusion with a desperate contractor that dragging Tinubu's name into it will give their lies mileage."
However, the last may not have been heard on this matter as our reporter reliably learnt that a libel case is being prepared against the blog that was used in circulating the fake news before other social media platforms picked it and other elements using it for political gains.