BusinessDay

Wike reveals how Mary Odili saved his political career

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has revealed how the retired Supreme Court Justice Mary Odili saved his political career.

Wike spoke at a church service on Sunday, saying Justice Odili took specific actions which cleared his political path.

Revealing the particular situation, Wike said it was rather a 2004 case. The governor recalled how he cried to Mary Odili when he got a hint that his name was not included among those cleared to contest as chairmen of local councils in the state.

He spoke of this aspect of his political experience at the 70th birthday and retirement thanksgiving mass of Mary Odili’s retirement from the Supreme Court, held at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Chaplaincy, Catholic Institute of West Africa, (CIWA) in Port Harcourt.

According to Wike, Odili listened to him and took the complaint to her husband, Peter Odili, who was the governor of Rivers State then.

The governor explained that the manner Mary Odili presented the matter got her husband acting on it immediately. He said, first, Peter Odili invited the then Rivers State People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chairman, Uche Secondus, to confirm the observation and thereafter put a call across to the then national secretary of the PDP, 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 a second term as chairman of my local government (Obio-Akpor).

“Now, they were having lunch with her husband and the former state party chairman then, Uche Secondus. And, I was told that my name had been removed from the list. So, I ran down to Government House.

“She had finished her own lunch, left her husband and was entering the vehicle. I said mummy I’m finished. She asked what happened, I said they’ve removed my name.

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“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 asked him to come back.”

He further 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.

Wike stated that there was a good balance that Mary Odili maintained that made her succeed both in her career as a legal practitioner, a mother and a wife in the family.

“I have seen somebody who is very compassionate, and very caring. The moment you’re 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.”

Wike commended Mary Odili for the 44 years of meritorious public service, which he described as no mean feat.

In his homily, the chaplain of the chaplaincy at CIWA, Pius Kii, exhorted on the physical and eternal benefits Christians derive when they love God, one another and their enemies.

He emphasised that living a life of love demonstrates faithful discipleship, and obedience to God and secures daily victory in life’s endeavours.

Giving her speech, Mary Odili described the joy she felt as unspeakable and a thing of honour to have Wike as a sitting governor, doing a vote of thanks in her honour.

According to her, she and her spouse, Peter Odili, have lots of things to always thank God for and would remain grateful to Him because he gave them countless triumphs despite the challenges that they have encountered.

“Our journey in life has been such that the good Lord has always been there. There have been challenges, no doubt, but the good Lord did not promise us that we will not have challenges, tribulations or difficulties,” she said.

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