Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has said he would have been dead politically, but for the timely intervention of Justice Mary Odili that saved his political career in 2004.
He said this at the 70th birthday and retirement thanksgiving mass of Justice Mary Odili as Justice of the Supreme Court, held at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Chaplaincy, Catholic Institute of West Africa, (CIWA) in Port Harcourt.
Wike, in a press release by his media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, said he will remain grateful to the recently retired Justice of the Supreme Court for the intervention.
He recalled how he cried to Justice Mary Odili when he got hint that his name was not included among those cleared to contest, either as first term or second term chairmen of local councils in the state
According to Governor Wike, Justice Mary Odili listened to him and took his complain to her husband, Dr Peter Odili, who was then the governor of Rivers State.
He explained that the manner Justice Mary Odili presented the matter got her husband to act on it immediately.
Wike said Dr Peter Odili invited the then state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, to confirm the observation and thereafter put a call across to the then national secretary of the party, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor.
“In 2004, that time her husband was the governor. So she was going to Bori Camp for women empowerment scheme. I was to run for second tenure as chairman of my local government area (Obio-Akpor).
“Now, they were having lunch with her husband and the state party chairman then, Prince Uche Secondus. And I was told that my name had been removed in the list. So, I ran down to the Government House.
“She has finished her own lunch, left her husband and was entering the vehicle. I said mummy I am finished. She asked what happened. I said they have removed my name.
“She ran back straight to her husband and informed him. Her husband asked who removed his name. At that time, Secondus had left. The husband then called the security at the gate, they stopped Secondus and ask him to come back,” Wike said.
The governor added: “That was how I went back as second term chairman. For me, I can’t talk about my growth without mentioning her.
“If she was not around that day, to see the governor, you know is not an easy thing. Her being around that particular day saved my career in politics. And so that was how I grew from there to become what I am today.”
Governor Wike noted a vital lesson of life he learnt from Justice Odili, which is the determination to build the capacity to be successful in one’s career while not ignoring giving requisite attention to the family.
He said Justice Odili maintained a good balance that made her to succeed in her career as a legal practitioner, a mother and wife in the family.
Governor Wike said Justice Mary Odili had remained an embodiment of care and compassion because, without relenting, she treated everybody with dignity that they deserved.
“I have seen somebody who is very compassionate and very caring. The moment you are around her husband, she takes care of you.
“She sees you as her husband’s person and so she will always relate with you. Some of us are direct beneficiaries of the care through our relationship with the husband,” he added.
Governor Wike commended Justice Mary Odili for the 44 years of meritorious public service, which he described as a no mean feat.
In his homily, the chaplain of the Chaplaincy at CIWA, Very Rev. Monsignor Pius Kii elk, exhorted on the physical and eternal benefits Christians derive when they love God, one another and their enemies.
The cleric emphasised that living a life of love demonstrates faithful discipleship, obedience to God and secures daily victory in life’s endeavours.
In her speech, Justice Mary Odili described the joy she felt as unspeakable and a thing of honour to have Wike, a sitting governor, givng a Vote of Thanks in her honour.
According to her, she and her spouse, Dr. Peter Odili, have lots of things to always thank God for and will remain grateful to Him because He gave them countless triumphs despite the challenges that they have encountered.
“The good Lord knows that Peter and I don’t know how to properly thank God. Our journey in life has been such that the good Lord has always been there.
“There has been challenges no doubt, but the good Lord did promise us that we will not have challenges, tribulations or difficulties. But the good Lord has always stood by us and made us prevail in those trials and tribulations,” Justice Mary Odili added.
PHOTO: L-R: Former governor of Rivers State, Dr Peter Odili and his wife, Hon. Justice Mary Odili; wife of the Rivers State governor, Hon Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom-Wike; Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike and Chaplain of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Chaplaincy, Very Rev. Monsignor Pius Kii, during the 70th Birthday and Retirement Thanksgiving Mass of Justice Odili as Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, at Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), Port Harcourt, on Sunday.