The dwindling fortunes and sad stories of Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Channel 21 Umuahia became a thing of the past following a robust intervention by a foremost banker and the 2015 Abia APGA governorship candidate, Dr. Alex Otti, OFR.
The station, which went off air about five years ago after a dangerous thunder strike, worsened the already difficult situation with the station almost going out of existence before its helpless management made an audacious move in the direction of Dr. Otti by soliciting his assistance towards ensuring that the station was brought back on air.
On learning that the station had been off air for about five years and knowing the importance of the station to Abians even though it’s a Federal agency, Dr. Otti swiftly stormed the station in company of few friends and associates.
On arrival at the station, Dr. Otti and some members of his entourage were conducted round the station by the Acting General Manager/ News and Current Affairs, Dr. Uche Njoku and the Manager, Engineering Services, Engr. Abraham Kadun for a firsthand knowledge of situation .After touring the different departments of the station, Dr. Otti and his team were briefed in details regarding developments in the station.
An elated Njoku explained that the station was going through a difficult period after they went off air, and jokingly disclosed that he and his entire management team and staff were ready to come to wherever that Otti was when they feared that he might not come, to prove how desperate and serious they were.
He disclosed that even though they were off air, they were still gathering and filing news which they usually sent to network through the Enugu network center, but that due to the situation on ground , the management team had to be running the station from individual pockets since federal government had since stopped giving them subventions.
He narrated the pathetic situation and difficulty facing staff of the station, and also disclosed that the situation had made Abia State to lose out whenever there was recruitment in NTA, as the station was excluded, even when many Abians are qualified to be employed.
The GM stated that they approached Dr. Otti because they believe in his capacity and know him as a professional who has the passion and the integrity to render genuine assistance, especially in a situation like that of NTA.
Responding, Dr. Otti emphatically agreed that Abians, especially unemployed youths, would be the losers if the station is allowed to die, and made it clear that he and other concerned Abians would not sit idly and watch NTA Umuahia decay at the expense of Abians. The thus promised that the story of the station must change, by supporting, and also bringing his friends from Abia to support too.
He recalled how NTA Owerri faced similar fate, but was swiftly rescued by well-to -do citizens of the state.
The gathering, which had many staff of the station present, witnessed an earthquaking moment of repeated thunderous ovations and applause when Otti brought out a fat cheque that met the exact amount requested by the management to put the station back on air.
The management was stunned, because as they explained, that even though they knew Dr. Otti would respond, but never knew that the response would be immediate.
When the ovation seemed to have died down, Dr. Otti gave the NTA management and staff more surprises, when he told them that having gone round the station, he discovered that the station needed more assistance than they requested.
He told them that it shouldn’t be all about getting the station back on air, but also making sure that the decayed facilities would be turned around to make the working environment conducive for workers.
He specifically emphasized on the need to ensure that they would be provided with modern studios, brand new high caliber generator so that they wouldn’t depend on the single generator they presently have and other needs. He then told them that he will bring his friends from Abia to come and assist the station.
These assurances threw the management and staff into uncontrollable frenzy, as they sang songs of blessings and solidarity for Dr. Otti and members of his team.
The Manager, Engineering services, Engr. Abraham Kadun could not hold his joy, as he poured accolades on Dr. Otti for showing uncommon love and generosity to the ailing TV station.
Some of the people that accompanied Dr. Otti on the visit included, the DG Alex Otti Campaign Organization, Dr. Max Nduaguibe, the BoT Chairman Abia First, Hon. Nnanna Ngwu, a BoT member of Abia First and a chieftain of APGA, Mr. Mike Akpara, Abia First state coordinator, Hon. Ishmael Onuoha, a member of Alex Otti’s media team, Mr. Paddy Anyatonwu, Media Aide to Dr. Alex Otti, Ferdinand Ekeoma and some other passionate Otti apostles.
By Ferdinand Ekeoma