"A star of Taiwo Allimi’s calibre must not be allowed to dim so soon, as his brain is still needed to re-jig the broadcast industry.
This is a challenge that must be taken up by all and sundry, first by the governor of his home state, Prince Dapo Abiodun, in whose state Aremo Taiwo Allimi is a member of the Council of Elders; the Lagos State Government to which he has bequeathed a standard television station, the Voice of Nigeria where he also made impact and all his friends in the media, advertising industry and elsewhere".
By Bayo Osiyemi
Every season brings out the best in any area – from the farm and among humans.
In the Second Republic, a star emerged from the firmament and became an instant celebrity in television broadcasting and all of Nigeria attested to his imagination and creativity then.
Taiwo Allimi is his name; a young American-trained television presenter and programmer whose emergence introduced a breath of fresh air into the hitherto lack-lustre political presentations in the country.
He came into national consciousness as a youth corps member in NTA headquarters in Lagos but it didn’t take long before he established himself as a television superstar waiting to be discovered.
He introduced uncommon personality interviews for top politicians at the state and national levels, such that the long-forgotten deeds and misdeeds of such political actors were unearthed to either diminish or promote the electoral fortunes of such political gladiators.
He was the first in TV personality interviews to dig into past actions and utterances of politicians, which were contradictory, with a view to exposing the variance in their standpoints on crucial national issues.
For example, he would take on his interviewees, running for elective offices, and ask them to reconcile their past positions on which he would quote them verbatim, with their latest utterances which were apparently being made to hoodwink the public with a view to seeking votes.
In Taiwo Allimi’s words then: “ Mr or Chief or Doctor so so and so, in so so year, you said and I quote; how do you now reconcile these statements with your present positions on the same issues”
Those well-researched questions destabilised some of these politicians from which they never recovered on live television and these went a long way to put them in bad light which ultimately affected their electoral fortunes at the polls.
That stellar performance by a young, dynamic TV presenter of the time drew the ire of the victims of his probing and incisive interviews but it brought him out as a TV star that anyone who valued class and talent would treasure.
Alhaji Lateef Jakande, who also went under Taiwo Allimi’s unsparing and rigorous interviews on television as a gubernatorial candidate of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), went on to win convincingly the governorship of Lagos State; and one of his very first acts as governor was to decide in setting up a state-owned radio and television outfit as against the federal radio and national television.
He was quick to appreciate the professional wizardry in Taiwo Allimi and promptly decided to hire him to set up a television station for Lagos State.
That decision met with stiff resistance from the federal government which deployed all the dirty tricks in the game to jam the then LTV 8 Ikeja out of existence.
But, as they say, there will always be a way where there’s a will. Jakande, a world class journalist himself, knew the power of TV broadcasting and was resolute in ensuring that LTV, as a baby did not suffer still-birth while Taiwo Allimi showed his brilliance and assembled a team of young and vibrant men and women like Jimi Odumosu to start off and immortalise the truly ubiquitous LTV, Ikeja.
Taiwo Allimi became a gold fish that had no hiding place. He became much-sought after by governments, to assist their information dissemination process.
Ogun State, where he hailed from, snatched him from Lagos and made him its commissioner for information by a military regime.
He was such a roaring success that he was retained by two or three successive regimes in Ogun State to remain to date the longest serving information commissioner in any state in the country.
The federal government also could not be indifferent to his high professionalism as he was appointed some years ago as the director general of Voice of Nigeria in Abuja where he also served without blemish.
But suddenly, he went out of the radar, until recently it was discovered that he was vegetating away in his Sagamu homestead due to an illness that is said to have made him bed-ridden due to lack of funds to get him quality medi-care.
A star of Taiwo Allimi’s calibre must not be allowed to dim so soon, as his brain is still needed to re-jig the broadcast industry.
This is a challenge that must be taken up by all and sundry, first by the governor of his home state, Prince Dapo Abiodun, in whose state Aremo Taiwo Allimi is a member of the council of elders; the Lagos State Government to which he has bequeathed a standard television station, the Voice of Nigeria where he also made impact and all his friends in the media, advertising industry and elsewhere.
To make Taiwo Allimi bounce back to life is a task for everyone who wish to celebrate and preserve talent!