FINALLY, Mr. Olalekan Adeleke Ogunbanwo, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos Television/Radio Services, has been posted out of the station that has been his place of work for 34 years and where he has been at the helm of affairs in the last nine years.
Mr. Ogunbanwo was among the seven permanent secretaries that were redeployed by Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), on Thursday, January 15, 2014.
He was redeployed to Parastatals Monitoring Office (PMO), a ministry that supervises Lagos Television/Radio Services as one of the parastatals in the state.
When the news of his redeployment came on that Thursday, January 16, 2014, at 8 p.m, the primetime news bulletin of the station was already being aired. The Director of News, Mr. Ayo Agbesanwa, who was given the news could not pass it for reading immediately. He had to make a call to Mr. Ogunbanwo who was not in the office that day. Mr. Ogunbanwo gave him the go ahead to pass the news for reading and immediately came to the office himself.
From around 9 p.m when he reported to his office, he was said to have been there till 3 a.m clearing his table. This was said to have continued the following day, Friday, January 17, 2014.
There had been mixed feelings of sort since the announcement of Mr. Lekan Ogunbanwo’s redeployment was made. Those who are happy about his redeployment, particularly the union members, have not been able to openly express their joy because he is still very much around.
Those who are not happy about his redeployment, particularly those in the account and marketing departments, are said to be wearing long faces.
Prior to his redeployment, many have come to believe he was untouchable and he himself had given the impression that he was the alpha and omega of the station.
Already, there are rumours that his redeployment was possible probably because he did not hear about it on time and the fact that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinbu was not around.
Mr. Ogunbanwo started as a trainee announcer with the defunct Lagos State Broadcasting Corporation (LSBC), in January 1980. It was while there that he attended Nigerian Institute of Journalism between 1983 and 1985. He was still in service when he attended Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos, where he bagged a bachelor’s degree in English in 1995.
Mr. Lekan Ogunbanwo has been extremely lucky in the service. Immediately after his graduation from the university, he was appointed the General Manager of the state radio, a position which catapulted him from his grade level 10 position to that of grade level 13 in the public service. He was just 35 when he became the GM, State Radio. This was in 1997.
Again, providence smiled on him in 2005, when he was appointed a permanent secretary in the same parastatal Lagos Television/Radio Services, a position which made him the overall boss and the accounting officer of the two stations.
In 2007, the radio station was taken away from him and he became the permanent secretary, Lagos Television only. A position he held till his recent redeployment. Mr. Lekan Ogunbanwo certainly made his mark in his almost 27 years at the helm of affairs at the station.
It was during his tenure that EKO FM and the first Traffic Radio in the country were established.
It was also under his tenure that the Lagos Television made its debut on Digital Satellite Television (DSTV).
The premises of Lagos Television under his supervision also became a hub of social activities with the establishment of event centres (The Blue Roof) event hall, restaurants and some other commercial activities.
His weakness, many of the workers argued, was what they called his arrogance and insensitivity to their economic cum welfare plights. Many of them could not understand why the payments of their salaries will go into several days of the following month despite the money they make from all their commercials and social activities.
They could not understand why their pension payment deducted from their salaries monthly has not been remitted to their pension managers for almost three years now.
They could also not understand why the rent allowances deducted from their salaries (for those living in government quarters) has not been paid into government coffers in the last one year.
They could not understand why in the last five years, Christmas and New Year which is a joyful period for many other workers within the public service has not been joyous for them in terms of salaries and other benefits.
All these and other labour issues have been the core of disagreement between the outgoing permanent secretary and the labour unions in the stations.
Several times their clashes have led to interventions from the PMO and the Ministry of Information and Strategies, which has brought little improvement in the condition of services of the workers. The bulk of the workers have resigned themselves to their fates and praying for January 2015, when he will voluntarily retire after 35 years in service. But fate through Governor Fashola, has fast forwarded their prayer with the redeployment. They are hoping and also praying Mr. Adekunle Mubashiru Ajanaku, who is going to replace him, will have listening ears and make a change in their condition of service.
Mr. Adekunle Mubashiru Ajanaku, the man that will replace Mr. Olalekan Ogunbanwo at Lagos Television/Radio Services, has himself been a permanent secretary from 2005 and has been in the deputy governor’s office since then.
He is a graduate of Sociology from University of Ibadan and University of Lagos where he obtained Masters degree in Public Administration in 1989.
He joined the Lagos State civil service in 1983 and has served in various ministries, parastatals including being General Manager, at Lagos State Printing Corporation.
– TOLANI ABATTI