THE force of his personality and the memories of his effervescent nature will not allow one the bitterness usually associated with the loss of a very good friend and mentor.
The first reaction of hearing about his demise was to question why so many good people like him are just dying in our society but being angry will be a great disservice to his memories. He was such a happy person that despite the pains of the loss, remembering him as he them was, will be the best tribute in his honor.
Barrister Godwin Odishika was a shining example of how to support the development of his alma mater, Utagba Ogbe Grammar School (UGS), Kwale-Delta State.
He was the founding President of Utagba Ogbe Grammar School Old Students’ Association (UGOSA) and used his skills as a lawyer and resources to support the development of the school.
But one critical area he stood out was his deliberate love to mentor young and upcoming students and old students of the school. As a foundation student of the school, Barrister Odishika saw his role clearly.
He started organizing his fellow old boys and girls of the school during his undergraduate years as a law student of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) law school. When he graduated in the 80s and decided to set up a thriving law firm in his hometown of Kwale, his home and office became a regular hanging out place for all young persons in the community.
Particularly, for most university students of that era of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) prolong strikes and school closure, Barrister Odishika’s law practice became the center of our local gatherings to read the day’s daily newspapers and raise intelligent discussions about pressing political issues of the day.
I remember my encounters with him during my undergraduate university studies at the then University of Ife.
He attended UNN and seeing that I was attending Great Ife, he would jovially exaggerate the rivalry between both acclaimed and foremost first-generation Nigerian university at every meeting. He would start with his lawyerly expansive view of the motto of UNN: “To restore the dignity of man”, that UNN is the only institution in Nigeria with the unassailable moral ethos and mission of doing more through its research and teaching to produce excellent human beings in learning and in character.
When, I will mention to him that Great Ife is the most beautiful university campus in Africa with some of the best research centers in the continent and the added reputation of its Afro-centric world view promoting African culture, arts and literature. He would dismiss my feeble protest with the legendary roar of “Great lion and lionesses”.
To which I will reply with “Great Ife…. of the greatest…….of the greatest”. I mean every encounter with Barrister Odishika was fun and refreshing and he would make you forget his status as an accomplished lawyer and community leader as a first-class chief of the Oduosa of Utagba Ogbe (traditional ruler of Kwale) palace.
Barrister Godwin Odishika was born in Kwale on June 01, 1956. He had both his elementary and secondary school education in Kwale. He attended Utagba Ogbe Grammar School, Kwale where he distinguished himself in academics and leadership.
He had his law degree at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and attended Law School at the then Nigerian Law School, Lagos. He was the founding President of Utagba Ogbe Grammar School Old Students Association (UGOSA) and senior member of the Delta State chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). He was recognized by the Oduosa of Utagba Ogbe with the chieftaincy title of Otigbu-Anyiyan for his community service. He is survived by his wife and four children.
Kingsley Dike, a former Foreign Affairs Reporter with The Guardian Newspapers and retired United States Army Intelligence Analyst wrote from Atlanta, Georgia, USA