By Olawale Ayeni, Abuja
The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has commenced the construction of its mini-stadium in Ugborodo, meant to benefit five communities in the riverine area of Delta State.
At the flagging-off of the project yesterday in Ugborodo, the governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, who was represented by Delta State deputy governor, Barrister Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, said the citing of the project in Ugborodo is strategic and historical and would go a long way to foster unity among the Itsekiri, Ilaje, and Ijaw people, adding that it would also aid the development of the area in all facets.
He promised that the government will be an integral part of the project and thanked FIFA and the NFF for the project.
“I want to start by specially thanking FIFA and the Nigeria Football Federation for this FIFA-forward project. The citing of this project here is strategic, considering the geographical location, as it will serve the Itsekiri, Ilaje, and Ijaw communities around the Atlantic Ocean area of the state’’.
“The citing of this project can only be done by a man (Amaju Pinnick), who clearly understands the geographical location of this area. We can’t over-emphasise the importance of this laudable project as it will foster unity, build capacity and social harmony, attract more development and government presence and also aid the development of the round leather game of football.”
Speaking at the event, the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick expressed his delight at the kick-off of the construction of the project while also thanking the government of Delta State for their support so far.
He urged the communities to ensure they give the needed support to the contractor in order to have an enabling environment to execute the project.
The member of CAF executive committee further listed the immediate benefits the communities would derive from the project, while also pointing out that FIFA is fully committed to making it a world-class facility.
“I am overjoyed that this is happening here today. We started nurturing the idea of citing this project in this small community of Ugborodo two years ago and I am delighted that we have finally kicked it off. We want to use this project to correct the wrong notion that the Niger Delta is a volatile and restive area. We urge you to give the contractor all the support in order for him to do a good job. FIFA will monitor and ensure every detail is taken care of.”
Delta FA Chairman, Kenneth Nwamoucha, in his welcome address, hailed the world football-governing body, FIFA and the NFF for bringing the huge project to Delta State especially the riverine communities.
In his remark, NFF general secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi thanked the government and the people of Delta State, urging them to see the project as a good omen of bigger projects to come.
He pleaded with the people of the State to continue to support their illustrious son, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, who is well appreciated for his contribution to the development of football in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large.
Otuaro, however led the ground-breaking ceremony rites, even as the general secretary handed over the certificate of the project to MoniMichelle Construction Company to signal the commencement of the project.
The project is expected to be completed within six months.