From Ekaete Ikubor
Governor Nyesom Wike has urged state high courts to uphold the new Electoral Act ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The act prohibits state high courts from handling pre-election or electoral matters. According to the governor, some state high courts were already acting in contravention of the law.
Wike stated this during the banquet he organised at the Government House, Port Harcourt, in honour of Justice Mary Odili on her 70th birthday and retirement from the Supreme Court.
“The truth is that the Electoral Act says anything about pre-election or electoral matters is now to be decided by the Federal High Court”, he said.
The governor maintained that despite the generosity of Odiliand his family, some of those they had helped politically had regrettably betrayed and humiliated them.
He said: “I have never seen a man who has suffered humiliation, I have never seen a man who has suffered betrayal in life like Dr. Odili”.
Wike disclosed that Odili’s insistence that someone from Ikwerre should succeed him as governor in 2007 earned him some enemies.
“Unfortunately, we the Ikwerre people whom he said should be governor are the ones that put him in the witness box. But I want to appeal to him to forgive, you are a Christian, forgive all of us.”
In his remark, Peter Odili said all through his wife’s career as a judicial officer, he never attempted to influence her in any manner.
He recalled two instances when a late traditional ruler in Port Harcourt and his extended family members from Ndoniapproached him to intervene in matters before his wife’s court, but he declined and offered to help them pay their legal fees.
Odili thanked Wike and the people of Rivers State for honouring his wife after 44 years of meritorious service in the judiciary.
The chief justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim TankoMuhammad, described Mary Odili as an epitome of dignity, hard work, fairness and excellence.
Represented by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun of the Supreme Court, he said Justice Odili remained an inspiration to the girl-child.
“My Lord has shown what is possible with diligence, hard work and integrity. Through you, we see that the sky is the limit,” she said.