Gbajabiamila, Akpabio, Reps Storm Owo As Tunji-Ojo Buries Father In-law

… As Minister Seeks Support For Lawmaker In 2023

Members of the House of Representatives led by the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, as well as the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, at the weekend stormed the ancient town of Owo, Ondo state, in honour of Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the member representing Akoko North/East North West Federal Constituency who buried his father in-law, Engr. Benson Akinola Otegbeye.

While the Speaker led the National Assembly delegation, the Minister led a delegation from the Ministry, as well as the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The event also had the political leadership of the state, led by the Deputy Governor, Hon Lucky Aiyedatiwa,the wife of the state governor, Arabinrin Betty Akeredolu and parties leaders in attendance.

Speaking with news men on the sidelines of the event, Akpabio called for support of the people of the state for Hon. Tunji-ojo in the coming 2023 election as a mark of recognition for the good job he has done in representing the people at the House of Representatives.

According to him, “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 has been able to attract the high and mighty in the society, including small people like us(laughs).”

Hon. Tunji-Ojo, while lamenting the death of his father in-law whom he described as a father figure in his life, also expressed his determination to continue to fight for the interests of his people.

According to him, “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, Abimbola,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 is 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 why I’m so grateful to God to have such a wonderful person as my wife”.

On the legislative and governance side of things, the lawmaker who chairs the House committee on NDDC stated that the legislature which he represents would continue to do its bid to ensure that the lives of Niger Delta people are improved through the Niger Delta Development Commission.

According to him, “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 State 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 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 assured.

Tunji-Ojo’s brother in-law and son of the deceased, Olabanji Otegbeye described his father’s death as shocking and painful, just as he expressed gratitude to God for the kind of life their late father led.

According to him, “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 was very loving, h was very caring, most especially he was 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,” .

Lawmakers who graced the occasion expressed solidarity with Hon. Tunji-Ojo, whilst praying for the repose of the soul of the deceased.

Hon. Abiola Peter Makinde (Ondo North/Ondo West federal constituency)
described Hon. Tunji-Ojo is “a great lawmaker,” “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.”

Hon. Timehin Aderegbe. Owo Federal Constituency 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”, he added.

House Spokesman, Hon. Benjamin Kalu noted that “what we have come today to do is to identify with a strong member of the House of Representative.”

According to him, “Though he is a first time member, but he was one of those who were 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 stated.

Hon. Kolawole Lawal, from.Ogun described Hon. Tunji-Ojo as “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,” Hon. Lawal said.

For the Clerk of the House Committee on NDDC, Mina Tamuno Williams who played prominent role in organising the event, Baba’s death was a painful loss to the family, just as it it was a celebration of life.

“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 prayed.

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