Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta Commission, NDDC, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo has reiterated their commitment to improving the live of an average individual in the oil rich, coastal region of the Niger Delta.
Tunji-Ojo made the reiteration during the burial of his father-in-law, Engr. Benson Akinola Otegbeye over the weekend at the ancient town of Owo in Ondo state.
The event however became a gathering of political bigwigs as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila as well as the minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio attended the burial.
While Gbajabiamila led a National Assembly delegation, the minister also led the delegation from the ministry and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The event also attracted the political leadership of the state, led by the deputy governor, Hon. Lucky Ayedatiwa just as tje the wife of the state governor, Mrs. Betty Akeredolu also graced the occasion.
Tunji-Ojo while speaking at the burial said: “Like I always say, we are partners in the Nigerian project. We are partners in the development of the Niger Delta region, the Executive will do its job, and the legislative arm too will do its job. So as for me as a person, I’m grateful that the Speaker of the House, the deputy governor and the governor’s wife, the minister and my colleagues from the House, as well as the NDDC leadership all came. This is not the time to play politics. This is the time for sober reflections and the celebration of life, and I’m grateful that every one of them found the time to be here with us.
“As to our people in the Niger Delta, we will continue to do our best, in doing upholding their interests. We’ll do that which is to fight for their wellbeing. Like I always say, where NDDC was in 2019 when I became chairman of the committee is not where it is today. We had our storms, nevertheless, we are all in one government and we are here to make sure that the life of the average Niger Delta person is made better”.
He described his deceased father-in-law as the pillar of his life.
“First of all, I don’t refer to him as my father in-law, he was actually my father. He never saw me as a son in-law. He saw me as a son. He was a man who showed so much love. I could remember before I got married to my wife, he was there for us and after the marriage, he continued to be there. He had always being a pillar of support.
“He was somebody whose life and moral compass was a mode of guidance for my wife. And the kind of supportive culture that he trained my wife with has perfectly imbibed in her, which is one of the reasons I’m so grateful to God to have such a wonderful person as my wife”, he said.
Also speaking, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Akpabio solicited for support from the people, Tunji-ojo has ensured quality representation.
He said: “When you have done very well, the reward for good work is more work. They should give him more responsibilities because he has shown capacity and the determination to fight for the interests of his people. He has shown capacity and friendliness in his dealings which is why he has been able to attract the high and mighty in the society, including small people like us.”
On his part, Tunji-Ojo’s brother in-law and son of the deceased, Olabanji Otegbeye said his father’s exist was painful.
“It was a painful loss anyway. I felt very bad. I felt very very sad, because I wanted him to stay more so that he could enjoy more from his children.
“My father is(sic) very loving, he’s (sic) very caring, most especially he’s (sic) a giver. He taught every of his children how to give. And that is why everyone of us including our wives and husbands are givers. We’ve learnt the art of giving from him. There’s none of us who doesn’t know what giving means and for that we are grateful to him because he didn’t just give birth to us, he also nurtured us in the right way,” he said.
Some lawmakers who were present at the event expressed solidarity with Tunji-Ojo ahead of 2023 general elections.
Hon. Abiola Peter Makinde who represents Ondo North/Ondo West federal constituency of the State
described Tunji-Ojo as “a great lawmaker”.
He said: “He’s a friend, and as a result you can see that all the Reps members from Ondo are here, because we love him, he is doing very well, and we pray that he comes back second time, because he has done very well. Akoko where he’s representing, they have been able to produce a very good ambassador in Reps. My prayer is that he comes back again to represent them at a higher level.”
Similarly, Hon. Timehin Aderegbe representing Owo Federal Constituency also said: “Hon. Tunji-Ojo happens to be a very good friend, he married from my constituency and that’s why you are see all of us from the constituency gathered here. Engr. Otegbeye was someone I happened to know very well. When I was in the banking sector, he was the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Works and were very very close, so I knew him in and out. So it was when I got to Abuja that I discovered that my friend Bunmi Tunji-Ojo married his daughter. So to me, the man is(sic) a very good man, he loved a very good life and we know that he’s happy seeing what is happening today. We pray that the offsprings of the Otegbeye family live on the legacy of their father”.
On his part, the House Spokesman, Hon. Benjamin Kalu said they were in Owo to identify with their own.
“What we have come today to do is to identify with a strong member of the House of Representative. Though he is a first time member, but he was one of those who was very prominent in galvanising support for the current speaker. Those of us who came as new members, he was the one who put us together to make sure we followed the right channel in voting for the current speaker.
“I’m here to identify with my friend and brother. I call him my blood and he calls me his blood. If you recall when the fierce battle was on regarding NDDC, when others abandoned him, when other were afraid to speak out, I stood by him. And I knew that he has integrity and I defended his integrity. And today, everybody has come to realise the quality of individual that is found in the person of Hon. Tunji-Ojo. So we are here to commiserate with the family, especially the wife who lost the father,” Kalu said.
Hon. Kolawole Lawal from Ogun State described Tunji-Ojo as a reliable person.
“He is a fine gentleman, a very reliable person, a person that you can always work with and he happy. He is not a selfish person and that’s why you can see many of us here today. So I want to say that if you have many of him in the House, our country will be better. So I wish the family well, and what this has demonstrated today is that he is a man of the people, and peace will continue to be with members of household,” Lawal said.
The Clerk of the House Committee on NDDC, Mina Tamuno Williams also commiserated with the family.
“For the family, may God comfort them. It was a celebration of life, but you know what it means for you not to see your daddy again. So we say good night to daddy, may the lord keep his family in unity and peace in Jesus name, amen,” she said.