Mary Ukaego Odili is a prominent Nigerian judge who currently serves as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. With a distinguished career in the judiciary, she has held various important positions and has been involved in significant legal decisions. This article provides an overview of Mary Odili’s background, education, legal career, and her role as the First Lady of Rivers State.
- Full Name: Mary Ukaego Odili
- Date of Birth: May 12, 1952
- Place of Birth: Amudi Obizi, Ezinihitte-Mbaise
- State of Origin: Imo State
- Nationality: Nigerian
- Occupation: Nigerian Judge
- Net Worth: $1 million
- Husband/Spouse: Peter Odili
Mary Ukaego Odili Early Life And Education
Mary Ukaego Nzenwa was born on May 12, 1952, in Amudi Obizi, Ezinihitte-Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State, Nigeria. She was the second daughter of Eze Bernard Nzenwa and Ugoeze Benadette Nzenwa. Her father, Eze Nzenwa, worked as a lawyer in the United Kingdom before becoming the Secretary of the Nigeria Airways.
Ukaego attended several primary schools during her childhood, including St Benedict’s Primary School, Obizi Ezinitte, St Michael’s Primary School in Umuahia, St Agnes Primary School in Maryland, and Our Lady of Apostles Primary School in Yaba. She briefly attended Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School in Yaba, Lagos.
Due to the outbreak of the civil war in 1967, Ukaego and her parents relocated to the southeast of Nigeria. She continued her education at Owerri Girls High School until her family moved back to Mbaise. She then attended Mbaise Girls Secondary School and later enrolled at the Queen of the Rosary College in Onitsha. In 1972, she passed the West African School Certificate Examination with Grade I. The same year, Ukaego gained admission to the University of Nigeria, Enugu campus, where she pursued a degree in law.
Mary Ukaego Odili Legal Career
During her time at the University of Nigeria, Ukaego met Peter Odili, a medical doctor, at a campus party, and the two began a romantic relationship. In 1976, she graduated with an LLB (Hons) and was rated the best student in the Department of Commercial and Property Law. She then attended the Nigerian Law School and obtained her B.L. certificate in 1977.
Ukaego began her career in the judiciary as a Magistrate Grade III in November 1978. In 1979, she married Peter Odili and gave birth to their daughter, Adaeze. The family moved to Port Harcourt, where her husband established the Pamo Clinics medical center.
Throughout her career, Ukaego held various positions of importance, including Chief Magistrate Grade I, Chairman of the Juvenile Court, President of the Marine Board of Inquiry into the 1979 Buguma Boat disaster, Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee of the University of Nigeria Alumni Associates, Inaugural Chairperson of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Rivers State, and Secretary of the Nigerian Horticultural Society.
Mary Ukaego Odili As First Lady Of Rivers State
With her support, Peter Odili entered politics and became the Deputy Governor of Rivers State while Ukaego served as a High Court Judge. In 1999, following her husband’s election as Governor of Rivers State, Ukaego became the First Lady of Rivers State. She held this position until May 29, 2007, actively participating in various initiatives and projects aimed at improving the lives of the people of Rivers State.
Appointment As Associate Justice Of The Supreme Court
Ukaego Odili’s impressive legal career and experience led to her appointment as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. On June 23, 2011, she was sworn in as a Justice of the Supreme Court, administered the oath of office by Chief Justice Katsina-Alu. Her appointment was made by President Goodluck Jonathan, and she represented the South East geo-political zone on the apex court bench.
Significant Legal Decisions
As an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Mary Odili has been involved in several significant legal decisions. One notable case was her leadership of the Five-Person Panel at the Supreme Court that nullified the Gubernatorial Election of David Lyon in Bayelsa State. The nullification occurred after Lyon’s deputy was found to have submitted fake certificates during pre-election screening, despite their initial declaration as winners of the gubernatorial election on November 16, 2019.
Mary Ukaego Odili is a highly respected Nigerian judge and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. With a remarkable career in the judiciary, she has held various important positions and has been involved in significant legal decisions. Her dedication to justice and her contributions to the Nigerian legal system have made her a notable figure in the legal profession.