Delta: Uduaghan, Funkekeme To Float Media Outfit As State Newspaper Crumbles

By Amos Igbebe
Facts from power brokers in Delta are indicative that immediate past Governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, and erstwhile Commissioner for Works Funkekeme Solomon have put machineries in motion to occupy media space in the oil rich Delta State.
Sources close to the politicians who have left active politics in the current dispensation say Uduaghan had already established a Radio Station in Asaba with the name Trend which has reached advanced stage in preparation for takeoff.
The source said Uduaghan is set to shake the state with his radio station, just as he is alleged to have said as soon as his station, Trend, begins broadcasting, it will displace the Delta Broadcasting Service (DBS) in Asaba, which has been rising and falling since the eight years reign of Uduaghan until he left office on May 29, 2015.
The alleged statement of Uduaghan had confirmed the thinking of Deltans that Uduaghan and his Commissioner for Information, Chike Ogeah, played politics on the sensibilities on Deltans with the digitization and purchase of equipment for the upgrade of the state broadcasting outfit in Asaba.
On several occasions, Ogeah, prior to leaving office, had told journalists that the equipment to standardize the Asaba DBS Station had been paid for but awaiting delivery from the contractors who had travelled outside the country for the equipment.
Besides that, Ogeah had also blamed saboteurs for the regular theft of the thunder arrestors attached to the mass of the broadcasting outfit in Asaba. Hence, for a long period of time, the television arm had been down following continuous thunder blasts while the radio arm functioned intermittently until Uduaghan vacated office for Okowa on May 29.
Also, Funkekeme is said to have commissioned media consultants to help in strategizing for both radio and newspaper production in the state. A list of possible requirements to run a radio outfit had been prepared running into over N13m by his media consultant.
It was also learnt that a veteran journalist and former General Manager of the POINTER Newspapers in Asaba, had also prepared the blueprint for the newspaper whose name is yet to be revealed as at the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, the state owned newspaper, THE POINTER, had failed to hit news stand for the past one week. Its failure, it was learnt, was a result of the heavy indebtedness of the media house to the contractors whom the government charged with the printing of the newspaper on daily basis.
The organization had been printing the newspaper at the Vanguard Printing Press in Asaba since the Vanguard established its printing centre in Asaba about two years ago. Sources also said the contractors had refused printing the paper until its debts were paid.
A senior member of the editorial department told our correspondent that from the situation on ground the paper might likely not resurrect, following the additional harm the paper did to the image of the new Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah.
The paper had, on Saturday, October 10, written a headline which emanated from the burial ceremony of the Commissioner’s late father, Albert Ukah, but rather than write “Albert Ukah is laid to Rest”, the editor wrote “Patrick Ukah is laid to Rest”, ostensibly referring to the Commissioner not the father who had died.
The senior editor also said since the incident, management had heard several meetings but had continuously kept mum over the way forward, leaving workers and the company’s journalists confused over the state of events and the next line of action.
According to the senior editor, “there is no indication that the POINTER will wake up again. Did you not hear the latest when they buried the Commissioner for Information, Patrick Ukah, when the man had not died? That was a few days when the new Commissioner came to the company and advised them to minimize errors. That headline was like telling him why did you advise us to minimize errors”.

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