Author, Businessman, Lecturer, Administrator, Elder Statesman, Politician
Chief Godwin Moses Odumgba a Justice of the Peace (JP), an Author, Businessman, Administrator, Elder Statesman, Politician and Community Leader was the second University Graduate from the Epie-Atissa Ijaw Extraction of Bayelsa state. He kept giant footprints on the sands of time in Nigerian political History.
Chief Godwin Moses Odumgba was born into a privileged family in 1932. His father was once the paramount ruler of an Ijaw community called Amarata in Epie Kingdom, Bayelsa state and also a foremost Catholic. He had a good upbringing as life wasn’t difficult for his folks to meeting his needs. In 1969, he graduated from the Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, North Carolina, USA and qualified as an Economist. Chief Godwin Moses Odumgba was a prolific administrator in his spry public service. He was a notable Nigerian that demanded quality services and throughput at all government transactions.
The high point of his life was when he diligently managed the Marketing department of the NNPC in the 1980s for thirteen years. Also, he contributed immensely to the socio-economic growth of Bayelsa state as he featured in politics and got some political appointments that influenced the growth of his state. Most especially, his godly disposition was undisputed as he was a staunched Catholic that kept the faith in Jesus and contributed to the development of St. Mathias Catholic Church Amarata where he worshiped till his demise. Chief Godwin Moses Odumgba died in 2020 due to natural causes. He was 88 years old.
Late Chief Godwin Moses Odumgba a Justice of the Peace (JP), an Author, Businessman, Administrator, Elder Statesman, Politician and Community Leader was born on the 15th of June 1932 to the family of late Chief Odumgba Moses Agbalikia and late Mrs. Wolo Odumgba, all of Amarata town in the present Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa state.
His late father, Chief Odumgba Moses Agbalikia, was the Chief of Amarata-Epie community at the time of his birth and he therefore grew up as a privileged child who did not struggle too much to get what he wanted in his early years. As a child, he was very hard working, dutiful and humble despite his privileges. His childhood days were very exciting, he recalled, as he did not miss out much from what other children were doing, then, with respect to farming, fishing playing war games, wrestling, scouting and so on. He was always neatly dressed and did not depart from that habit of dressing smart till his last day.
Everything's a trade-off. If you want a high standard of living, you have to settle for a low quality of life. - Anonymous
Education And Working Life
Godwin Moses Odumgba had his early education at St. Mathias Primary School, Amarata from 1940 to 1946 and proceeded to Proctor Memorial Primary School, Kaiama. In 1948, he was a student at the St. Leo Catholic Primary School, Ashaka in the present Delta state and obtained his Primary Six Certificate in 1949. The school was one of the best at the time, it was founded in 1917 by the great Catholic Missionary, Archbishop Sir James Duhig Archbishop of Brisbane, Australia.
Then in 1951, he gained admission into the Holy Ghost College, Umuahia where he obtained his Teacher’s Grade II Certificate in 1954.
Thereafter, in 1966, he left for the United States of America to seek the golden fleece. He attended the famous Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, North Carolina, USA from 1966 to 1969 where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts (B. A) degree in Economics with a major in Public Finance. Then from 1969 to 1971, he was at the City College of the University of New York, USA and obtained a Master of Arts degree (M.A) in Economics. It is on record that the late Chief was the second person to bag a University degree from Epie-Atissa after the late King Fred A. Agama, Ebeni-Ibeni Ibe Atissa Kingdom.
In between and after his education, he had an exciting career life. Firstly, he had a stint in the educational sector. He featured as a prolific school teacher. In 1950, he was employed as a primary school teacher at St. Mathias Primary School Amarata. There he was for four years and later posted to Sagbageria Primary School as the Headmaster and featured till 1957. Subsequently, he was posted back to St. Mathias Primary School Amarata and there as Headmaster. In 1960, he was again transferred to St. Philip Catholic Primary School, Port Harcourt. He was there for two years and he left for Lagos in 1962. In Lagos, he got another teaching job in a Primary school in Ajegunle-Lagos and featured as the second Headmaster to the great educationist and Chartered Accountant, Late Newton Aaron Amie Igali. See his Biography here.
During his educational sojourn in the United States of America, he took up several jobs to have a livelihood and sponsor his education. From 1970 to 1973, he worked as a Public Relations Officer in a firm called PAN AMERICAN AIRLINES (PANAM) at the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport in New York, USA, reputedly one of the busiest Airports in the world at the time. As the first Nigerian to have worked in the airline company, he was meticulous, dutiful and prolific in his services. His duties included promoting the products of the Airline and projecting her image while also assisting customers in processing their claims.
Rivers State Public Service
In 1974, he returned to Nigeria. He was appointed Director in the Rivers state Government Owned Water Glass Boat Yard Limited and Manager PABOD Supplies Nigeria Limited, Port Harcourt. At this agency of Government, he supervised the distribution of essential commodities. He carried out his duties diligently, professionally and successfully got a commendation letter from the then Military Governor of Rivers state, Commander Alfred Diete Spiff. But many of his contemporaries and subordinates never appreciated him for his good work, for they deemed him to be a perfectionist, stickler and highhanded person. Therefore, he was not loved, even by his kindred.
Going forward, in 1977, he yet again returned to the United States where he took up duties in the New York Department of Labor Market Information as a Chief Information Officer. He held that position till 1980.
In 1980, when the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (now Rivers State University), Port Harcourt was established from the former College of Science and Technology, he returned to Nigeria on the invite of the then Civilian Governor of Rivers state, late Chief Melford Okilo to take up an appointment for one year as a Lecturer. On the establishment of the University, there was need to beef up the manpower base of the institution. Chief Odumgba taught Micro and Labor Economics, Business Law and Labor Economics. During that short period, he also mentored and supervised Students on Industrial Work Experience (SIWE).
Oil and Gas Sector
In 1981, when an opportunity came for him to move forward to the ‘big one’, he joined the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and was appointed Manager (Marketing) at the Falomo. Ikoyi Office of the Corporation. As Manager in Charge of Marketing, he was in charge of Independent marketers in the whole federation. Also, he scheduled and supervised the distribution of Petroleum products and also conducted Researches about the introduction of new products while also preparing the yearly Budget of the Products and Pipelines Marketing Company (PPMC) among other duties. He served in the Corporation from 1981 to 1993, a record thirteen years.
Community Service, Social and Political Life
During his days in Lagos, he was the Grand Patron of the Epie-Atissa Community in Lagos, then under the leadership of Chief Ikiobofa Amasamana as Chairman. He was the father of the Association and thus looked up to for fatherly advice, guidance and direction. Also, he was the founding Chairman of Oguan Congress, the umbrella socio-cultural organization of the Epie-Atissa people, which today has His Royal Highness, Victor Awala, Ebeni-Okun Atissa as its President.
Again As Lecturer
After his retirement from the NNPC in 1993, he returned to the United States and took up an appointment briefly as an Instructor in the Brooklyn College of the University of New York, USA. He continued to impart knowledge to the young ones. Unfortunately, he did not stay long in the USA where he had already gained citizenry, but decided to come back home for service to his people for good.
In the mid-90s, he returned to Lagos but subsequently relocated to his home town, Amarata-Epie. In recognition of his achievements over the years, coupled with his philanthropic disposition, he was conferred with the traditional title of “Adukali I of Epie Kingdom” by His Majesty, King Barrister Malla Sasime, the Obenibe of Epie Kingdom. He was thus a Member of the Epie Kingdom Council of Chiefs and the Epie-Atissa Joint Council of Chiefs. Nonetheless, he was also a Patron of the Oguan Congress, a socio-cultural organization of the Epie Atissa people.
In his quest to contribute his quota to the development of his state, Chief Odumgba contested the 2003 gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa state alongside late Governor Alamieyeseigha, late Chief Francis Doukpola and others. He ran under the Platform of the United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP), after failing to get victory in the elections, he rejoined the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). The PDP led government whom as a staunch member gave him a political appointment. He was until his demise, a member of the Bayelsa state Educational Trust Fund and Chairman of the Yenagoa Local Government Caucus of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
A recipient of various honors and recognitions including the ‘Distinguished Leadership Award’ by the Environment Outreach Magazine in 2019, he was in 1999 conferred with the ‘Justice of the Peace (JP)’ by the Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha’s government as Governor.
Chief Odumgba was a Member of the Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM) and Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Bayelsa state chapter. He authored a book entitled ‘WHY SO STORIES’, which chronicled a series of traditional oral Ijaw folk tales.
In the private sector, he was the Chairman/CEO of Govet Nigeria Limited, a Private Limited Liability company whom he coined after his retirement from NNPC in 1993. He was a Consultant and Contractor who handled quite a few government contracts, including consultancies for many private firms.
He was also the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Azaiki Foundation and Public Library established by Hon. Professor Steve Azaiki, a public trust he protected and held diligently till his death.
As well as him being a widely traveled man, He visited several countries across the globe in the course of his official and private engagements. Some of these countries include the United Kingdom, USA, China, Hong Kong, South Africa, Ghana, Germany, France, and host of others.
He was a doting father to his children and as a family man, did not fail to support or provide for his family whenever the need arose. Before he left for US in 1966, he already had his two daughters, namely Bemeyi, a staff of the Federal Medical Center, Yenagoa and his second daughter, Enimekeze, a businesswoman.
In 1971, after his Master’s degree while living in Manhattan, New York, he met and married an American negro lady by the name Miss Susie B. Hick from Denmark, South Caroline, USA. His marriage with Miss Susie B. Hick was fruitful with three sons.
His father late Chief Odumgba Moses Agbalikia facilitated the establishment of the Catholic church in Epie Kingdom. The St. Mathias Catholic Church Amarata was founded in 1920. Therefore, Chief Godwin Odumgba kept faith with the Catholic till his demise.
Chief Godwin Moses Odumgba the Adukali I of Epie Kingdom was reported dead on 12th September, 2020, at 7.47pm at the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, Bayelsa state due to natural causes. He was 88 years old.
I firmly believe that when you die you will enter immediately into another life. They who have gone before us are alive in one form of life and we in another. - Norman Vincent Peale