Encomiums As Judges, Lawyers Pay Tributes To Odigie, Former Edo AG
Edo State legal luminaries, led by the Chief judge of the state, Justice Joe Acha, on Friday, trooped out to pay tribute to the former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of the state, Sir, Stephen Ogbebor Odigie.
Odigie passed away on February 23, 2023, at the age of 84.
Justice Acha led sitting and retired justices of the state and the members of the Bar, led by Ighodalo Madogbelo, SAN, to bid the late Awoist farewell, in a colourful Valedictory Court Session held at the Benin High Court premises.
The valedictory session attracted the creme de la creme in the legal profession, as the Edo State Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Qcha and other erudite lawyers took turns to eulogise the late legal luminary, whom they described as one of the finest minds in the state’s judiciary.
The late Sir Odigie, an Awoist, was, before he became a lawyer, a senior official of the then Nigeria Prison Service, NPS, and was in charge of the Calabar Prison in the late 60s, when the avatar, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, was imprisoned by the Tafwa Balewa administration on a trump-up charge of treasonable felony. He, alongside the late Pa Gabriel Ohwo, catered to Chief Awolowo.
In his eulogy, Justice Acha said Odigie was “a distinct repository and blend of condor, intelligence and humanity throughout his lifetime, adding that the prisons officer turned lawyer was a cerebral whose advocacy was “top notch”.
He said: “Today, we celebrate the life he lived, the longevity he richly deserved, and the sterling legacy he has left behind. Sir Steve Odigie’s remarkable exploits in the field and practice of the law and in public service, spanning several decades, especially in what then known as the Prison Service was defined by a unique blend of exceptional competence, and first-class probity.
While commiserating with the family over the demise of their father, Acha opined that the death of Odigie was a great loss not only to the deceased’s family but to the nation at large.
For the Edo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Oluwole Iyamu, SAN, Steven Ogbebor Odigie, was a worthy predecessor in office, astute legal colossus, a distinguished public servant as well as a mentor and icon.
“For those who had the honour of knowing him personally, the Late Sir. Steve Odigie was a perfect gentleman who upheld the ethics of the legal profession. He contributed immensely to the growth and development of legal jurisprudence in Nigeria through his illuminating advocacy and commitment to the sustenance and growth of the Bar and Bench. There is no gainsaying the fact that this erudite legal icon lived a life worthy of emulation”, Iyamu posited.
Speaking on behalf of the Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), Ighodalo Imadegbelo described Odigie as a detribalised Nigerian while alive, adding that the deceased was concerned about capability and meritoriously all through his earthly sojourn.
He added Odigie was a strong believer in arbitration, who according to him was humble and selfless to a fault.