FRIENDS, political associates and schoolmates of the late Minster of Environment, Mr John Odey at the weekend held a night of tribute as a mark of honour for him and to bid him final farewell.
There was an outpouring of emotions as many of his friends wept openly while sharing the memories of their relationship with him both in business and political interaction.
Those who spoke included Gab Onah, Managing Director, Cross River Tourism Bureau, Chief Asuquo Ekpenyong, Managing Director of Davandy Finance Limited, Dr Peter Ojei, Rev Father Bob Etta, Mr Michael Ania, former Secretary to Cross River State Government, Sir Maurice Effiwatt among others.
Mr Gab Onah, in his tribute said he met with Odey in primary school moved with him to Mary Knoll College and University of Calabar and though four years his senior in age, Odey related to him like a mate and was always there for him each time he needed him.
“He was humble, organised, detribalised and committed to the good of everyone who came his way that was why when I lost my father and the responsibility of running his petroleum distribution business fell on me and while learning the ropes Odey stood by me and when I needed three hundred thousand naira to retain the distributorship, he helped me to raise the money, which at that time was quite a huge sum”.
He said Odey was one man whom any of his friends or acquaintances could call on at any time and he will be willing to assist and that it was unfortunate he passed on in such a young age.
“Three weeks before he died, I had a dream where he, Larry Odey and I drove in a car towards a river and when we got to the bank of the river, Odey who was driving excused us and went into the river and we waited for him for about three hours and he did not come back, when I woke up I was disturbed and I thought since my dreams often turned out the opposite, he was going to get better but here we are today mourning his demise”.
Chief Asuquo Ekpenyong in his tribute said Odey was one minister who used his office to facilitate the employment of the highest number of people of the state into federal agencies and it was a verifiable fact.
He said the demise of the former minster was a great loss not only to the state but to the People’s Democratic Party, the PDP which he was a dedicated member until his death.
Mr Ania said Odey joined the Donald Duke Executive Council in 2003 and was a team player who though came from the opposition party soon gravitated himself to everyone including the governor in a very short while and said his death had created a gap in the state and nation at large.
Mr John Odey, the former Minster of Environment passed on in October and his body will be laid to rest in his country home in Okpoma, Yala Local Government Area on the 7th of November.