The Olufon of Ifon, Ondo State, Oba Israel Adegoke Adeusi, has commended the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, describing the Commission as a performing government agency and honoured its Acting Managing Director, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, with the prestigious royal title of Eleru of Ifon.
Oba Adeusi showered praises on the NDDC when he received the Commission’s directors led by Mrs. Semenitari in his palace, at Ifon in Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State on Thursday. The courtesy visit preceded the commissioning of the multi-million Mulowaduro Road built by the NDDC in Ifon.
The royal father stated that NDDC is the only government presence they have seen in the past seven years, saying he was particularly grateful to NDDC for all the projects they had executed in his domain. Apart from roads, Oba Adeusi said, the commission had built classrooms and organized free medical missions for the people in the area.
“The Commission counts us worthy to benefit from these and other projects. For us, NDDC has been a great help. We are indeed grateful for this and we just have to express it as Africans and as Yoruba people. Once more, thank you NDDC,” he said.
Oba Adeusi remarked that the visit of Mrs. Semenitari and her entourage was the first by an NDDC chief executive to Ifon, adding: “By this singular honour you have done us, the Almighty God, through President Muhammadu Buhari, will reward you and the NDDC.”
He declared: “On our part, and with the approval of the Ifon Council of Chiefs and the entire community, we announce you the Eleru of Ifon. Let NDDC come back to Ifon, not for project commissioning, but to witness us make you part and parcel of Ifon community. We are waiting for that moment. If you go through contemporary history of Yoruba people, you will see the calibre of people that have been made Erelu; you will see that it is a very important title. There are specific roles that the Erelu will play in the community. It is not just an honorary title. By the grace of God, you will live long with this title.”
Mrs. Semenitari had earlier told the monarch that the NDDC was in Ifon as part of their assignment to ensure that development was spread across the Niger Delta, and Ondo State, being a critical part of the region, deserved to be given its fair share of projects.
She said: “We are here to reassure you that we will continue to bring development to Ifon and the communities of Ondo State. Not just Ondo State, but the entire Niger Delta region. We want to reassure you that the NDDC is on auto-pilot. We must deliver development to this region. We cannot allow any community in the region to be left behind. We are determined to drive development very astutely, and within the means available to us.”
The NDDC boss commiserated with the Oba on the death of his brother, late Navy Captain Joseph Adeusi, former military administrator of Akwa Ibom State, and prayed that God should give him and the rest of his family the fortitude to bear the loss.
“We thought it would not be right that we came into Ondo State and not come personally to commiserate with you to assure you of our prayers,” she said.
At the commissioning, Mrs. Semenitari commended the people of Ifon for supporting the NDDC in the execution of projects. “We have felt at home every time we come here and I am told that the contractors here are very delighted to work with you. This is what we expect of all our communities. When a community is peaceful, when they welcome the contractor working in their area, it welcomes the NDDC.
“The tendency is that the work will finish on time and that the community will get more. But when a community is antagonistic or hostile to the contractor and the Commission, the tendency is that the project will drag on for long and then they may not get another one,” she said.
The President of Ifon Development Union, Chief Femi Awani, acknowledged the development projects that the NDDC had brought to the town, pledging that they would continue to lend support to the commission and its contractors. He said that Ifon people were pleased that the NDDC was playing its role as an interventionist agency very well.