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Tinubu, Amaechi, N750million Deal Exposed!

Source: pointblanknews.com
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Details are beginning to emerge on some of the sweetheart deals that

cemented the relationships of the old guard of the All Peoples Congress

(APC) and Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State.
As the dust from the tremors of the political landscape settled back in

2013 with the defection of the five Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

governors to the APC, what followed were weeks of getting-to-know-deals in

the APC.
“Finding their feet in the new environment had huge financial implications

for the newcomers. Behind the photo opportunities that the country was

treated to, the sharks among them moved in quickly,” a source involved in

the exchanges told the Nigerian Times.
To the delight of the APC top brass, Amaechi who appeared in a hurry to

acclimatize started picking the tabs of many party programmes. Nigerian

Times learnt that even the publicity arm of the party had a new lease of

life on account of Amaechi's generosity. Lai Mohammed, the APC's publicity

czar, became a frequent flyer on the Lagos/Port Harcourt, Abuja/Port

Harcourt routes.
That was when Bola Tinubu, the ultimate power broker in APC, moved in. No

governor in the Class of '99 comes close to Bola Tinubu in privatising

public resources. Lagos has been such a boon that almost a decade since he

left office, he has been a central figure in all the political intrigues.

Those abreast of the early days of the relationship characterize it thus:

“Amaechi was the political orphan on the prowl with plenty of cash buying

up affection and influence in the new political family. Too many doors

opened up to him because the party, in many respects, was poorly funded

and too often, depended on Tinubu's mood swings. Tinubu on his part was

seeing beyond Amaechi's new convert's zeal; he had his eyes fixed on the

honey pot that was Rivers State. They hit it off”.
Tinubu owns both TV Continental (TVC) and Radio Continental (RC);

companies that have always been run by a few journalist friends of his.

But a few years ago, he brought in a former top shot of Qatar based

Aljazeera to rejig the place. Part of the reforms was the launch of a pay

TV arm called Consat TV (Continental Satellite Television). Since he had

his fingers burnt in the defunct HiTV, Tinubu had always dreamt of a

business to rival South African owned DSTV. Consat was his answer and the

service launched in June.
His next move was to tie up Consat and the Rivers State Government. Consat

TV and the Rivers State Government entered a deal for the purchase of

fifty thousand decoders at the premium rate of fifteen thousand Naira per

decoder. The deal set the Rivers State treasury back by seven hundred and

fifty million Naira. Nigerian Times can report that since the signing of

the deal and full payment was effected, less than ten percent of the

decoders have been supplied.
Why a government would want to buy decoders for its citizens remains

unclear, but watchers of the Rivers State treasury say it is one of the

“transfer of wealth” cases they have been witnessing since the governor

decamped to APC.”
The relationship had recorded its first victim almost immediately. In a

classic case of journalism misreading the dark art of a proprietor's

interest , Bola Tinubu's TVC, or more precisely, Oluchi, who was TVC's

correspondent in Port Harcourt ,when the Rivers State House of Assembly

crisis began, was to pay a steep price. Her crime was that bit of the

trade every journalist lives for, a scoop.
On the day Chidi Llyod, the governor's supporter went wild, bludgeoning

another member on the head with the mace, it was Oluchi and her crew that

brought the scenes across homes in the country. But because of the limited

coverage of TVC not many people saw the video that night. Indeed the

government and many media houses had eggshells on their faces in the

intervening twenty four hours.
The governor's propaganda machine got all the newspapers to report the

event as one more instance of Wike's supporters' belligerence. Unknown to

them, Oluchi had reported the event as it unfolded, correctly identifying

Chidi Llyod as the villain and properly situating him between the warring

camps. It took twenty four hours for other media houses, especially the

newspapers to realise that they have been badly used.

TVC, itself, was forced to stop running the story the following day. By

then the video had gone viral. Miss Oluchi was declared persona non grata

in Port Harcourt. Her company could not protect her and fearing for her

safety she escaped to Owerri. Her cameraman returned home late one night

to find his house ransacked. He fled Port Harcourt too. After many months

of idling away in Owerri, and the company ignoring her, she resigned.

In her reaction, the Information Commissioner in Rivers State, Ibim

Semenitari, admitted that though such a deal exists between Consat TV and

the state government, the agreement was never about Governor Rotimi

Amaechi, but about the good of the people of the state.

She told the Nigerian Times that it was wrong to say that just 10 percent

of the decoders had been supplied, adding that 50 percent of the product

(the quantity which the state government paid for) had been delivered.

While defending the agreement for the supply of the product, the

Commissioner noted that the deal was important given that the Federal

Government's digitization policy would soon take off and the state

government needed to comply.
“First, your figures are wrong, but to your question, 50 percent has been

supplied and that is all we have paid for. What we are doing is not about

the purchase of the decoders, but about the digitization policy which will

commence soon'', she explained.
Semenitari added, “We are getting the decoders because we need to migrate

to the new platform and we are also grooming installers for the project

which will in turn empower our youths by way of providing job

opportunities''.
According to her, since the state owned television station and radio

station were in the process of joining the rest of the world in migrating

to the new platform, it was important that the purchase was made to

enhance the penetration of information to the remotest parts of the state.

“The penetration into the villages will not exist since we want to reach

the largest mass of the people if we do not do this migration,'' she

explained.
Consat TV which launched in June this year is one of three pay TV firms

apart from the popular but expensive DSTV.
GOtv is a cheaper offering from Multichoice and StarTimes which is a joint

venture between the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Chinese

investors.
The NTA StarTimes, the biggest player in the direct to home television

service sector is offering free decoders ahead of the 2015 digital

migration.
Until the Christmas promotion started, the decoders went for N3, 900 with

one month free subscription and offering 35 to 70 channels at 1,000 Naira

monthly or up to 3,000 Naira monthly.
NTA Startimes is currently available in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Aba, Benin,

Enugu, Ilorin, Jos, Kaduna, Kano, Markurdi, Onitsha, Port Harcourt,

Sokoto, Uyo, Yola, and Ibadan.
GOtv owned by Multichoice Africa with some channels from the DSTV bouquet

offers a similar service to StarTimes and is a direct competitor. For N2,

900 subscribers get a GOtv decoder including one month subscription to

GOtv Plus – which gives them access to over 41 local and international

channels.
But until the recent promotion, Gotv access cost was 6,900 Naira for

decoder, outdoor antenna, remote, and 1 month free Gotv plus package.

However, consat TV is one of the new Nigeria pay TV which offers

subscribers only 24 channels at a cost of N15, 000 for dish and

accessories and subscription price of N4000 per month.

And very crucially, both Startimes and Gotv are plug and play. No

installation fees.
So, far from Mrs Semenitari's pro-poor fibbing, this is a deal done at the

behest of the mafia don.
The Nigerian Times
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