MRS EUNICE RUKEVBE ODDIRI was born on 19th February, 1953 in today’s Portharcourt, Rivers State, formerly known at that time as the Eastern Region to Chief Edward Akponovwe Esiso (Deceased) & Chief (Mrs) Iketiti Abenabe. Esiso both of Agbarho, in the Ughelli-North Local Government Area of Delta State.
She had her primary education at Zixton Public School (Primary Section), Ozubulu, Onitsha from 1959 to 1964 then proceeded to Archdeacon Crowther Memorial Girls Secondary School, Elelenwa, near Port-Harcourt, Rivers State in 1965. After her first year, she secured admission at the Anglican Girls Grammar School (AGGS), Ughelli where she completed her post-primary education in 1969. In 1970 she did her “A” Levels at Urhobo College, Effurun, near Warri after which she proceeded to the United Kingdom for further studies at Kirklands Tutorial College, Sussex, England for her “O” Level certificate (1971-1972) and Bath Technical College, Bath for her “A” Level certificate in 1975. She also attended Ashford Girls’ College in Kent.
She returned to Nigeria in 1975 upon securing admission to study Law at the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria and graduated in 1978 with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB Hons) Degree. She thereafter proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos and was upon successful completion of her studies, called to the Nigerian Bar as Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on 29th June, 1979.
She carried out her year of national service with the National Youth Service Corps(NYSC)at the Federal Ministry of Justice, Lagos (FMJ) from 1979-1980 and upon conclusion, secured employment with the Federal Civil Service Commission on 4th July, 1980. Remarkably, she was deployed to the Federal Ministry of Justice, Lagos where she had just finished her youth service. This is obviously on the strength of her satisfactory moral and professional performances during her service as a youth corps member.
Upon resumption at the Federal Ministry of Justice, she was deployed to the legal departments of the following Federal Government Ministries and Agencies as Legal Advisor -:
1) Nigerian Board of Customs and Excise (1980-1982),
2) Federal Ministry of Aviation (1983-1984); and
3) Federal Ministry of Transport – (1994-1996)
In additon, she was one of the lead prosecutors of the Federal Ministry of Justice Prosecuting Team on Miscellaneous offences (1985-1993), which scope covered but not limited to drug trafficking, illegal bunkering and examination malpractices. She secured several convictions and even received commendation from one of the tribunal Judges. She further served as Counsel to the Administrative Panel of Inquiry into the sinking of the ship- “The Zanzibar”in 1995. From 1997 to 1998, she was Company Secretary/Legal Advisor to the Daily Times of Nigeria Plc group of companies.
In 1999, she was nominated by the Attorney-General of the Federation to the post of Director of the Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration, Lagos (the Centre) and assumed office immediately.
Prior to her secondment, the Centre, since establishment in 1989, had remained non-functional and moribund but on assuming office, she revived its activities at both national and international levels. Some of her notable achievements are:
- Execution of the Headquarters Agreement between the Host Government of Nigeria and the Asian African Legal Consultative Organisation (AALCO), the parent body of the Centre with its headquarters in New-Delhi, India in 1999.
- She was instrumental to the signing of the Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration Act in May, 1999.
- Her diligence and doggedness culminated in the securing of an administrative office for the functioning of the Centre’s activities in 2000.
- She went further to secure a Federal Executive Council approval to convert the administrative office of the Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos to a grant for permanent site in 2003.
- While the permanent site was in the process of renovation and remodeling, she secured a temporary office accommodation for the Centre’s operations on the 6th Floor, Union Marble House, 1 Alfred Rewane Road, Ikoyi in 2001 and upgraded it to international standard where the Centre operated for several years.
- With the consent of the Secretary-General of AALCO, she drafted the Arbitration and Conciliation Rules of the Centre in 2008.
She attended several ADR-related seminars and conferences within and outside the country, similarly, she had also delivered countless number of papers and lectures in Africa, Europe, America and Asia.
She retired from the Federal Civil Service on 19th February 2014 while serving at the Centre as Director.
She spent her retirement quietly pursuing her other interests and devoting herself to her family.
She was married for 42 years to Mr. Andrew Oddiri of Aragba-Orogun in the Ughelli-North Local Government Area of Delta State and had three Children. She is also survived by a son-in-law, her aged mother and an extended family.
She was a Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Nigeria, Member, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), Member, Society for Construction Industry Arbitrators of Nigeria and Member, Nigeria Bar Association.
She was kind, selfless and generous to a fault, a stickler for perfection, beauty and lover of nature. As a devout practicing Christian, She loved God and enjoyed doing the things of God, was also a dutiful, faithful and virtuous wife, loving and caring mother to both biological and numerous non- biological children who drew inspiration from her courage and determination to face challenges, no matter how difficult they seemed, believing that victory and success comes from Almighty God. She was loved by many, though misunderstood by a few who in attempt take advantage of her calm mien and benevolent disposition met resolute but dignified resistance thereby confounding them.
Though she will be sorely missed, we are proud of her legacies and grateful to God for the privilege of knowing and having her.
Farewell dearest mummy till we meet to part no more.