It was a colourful atmosphere at the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a FIFA Mini- Stadium in Delta State on Tuesday, with five communities in the riverine area of state set to benefit from the project in Ugborodo, a small community of over 500 years in Delta State, south-south Nigeria.
At the event were Delta State Deputy Governor, Kingsley Burutu Otuaro (who represented Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa), Chairman of Warri South-West Local Council, Taye Tuoyo, President of Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, NFF General Secretary Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, NFF Executive Committee member, Emmanuel Ibah, Special Advisers in the Delta State government, Chairman of Edo FA, Henry Asemota, Delta State FA Chairman Kenneth Nwamoucha, NFF Director of Finance and Admin, Charity Kadiri, the Project Consultant, Gambo Ahmadu and some NFF officials alongside the contractor.
According to the Deputy Governor, the citing of the project in Ugborodo is strategic and historical and will go a long way to foster unity among the Itsekiri, Ilaje, and Ijaw people and it will 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-emphasize the importance of this laudable project as it will foster unity, build capacity, social harmony, attract more development and government presence and also aid the development of the round leather game of football.”
Speaking at the event, an elated NFF President 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 for him to have an enabling environment to execute the project.
The Member of CAF Executive Committee further listed the immediate benefits the communities will 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 world football-governing body, FIFA and the NFF for bringing “this 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 while also urging them to see the project as a good omen of bigger projects to come.
He urged 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.
The Deputy Governor, Kingsley Otuaro subsequently led in the performing of 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. Also present at the occasion were former Nigeria international and Personal Assistant to the NFF President, Nasiru Jibril, Ayo Olu Ibidapo from the NFF Communications Department and Personal Assistant to the NFF General Secretary, Ali Lawal Ibrahim.