Wife of incumbent Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, Dame Judith says her marriage to the ex-governor of Rivers State was not all roses.
The former first lady told newsmen of how the couple and their children struggled through some dark days when they were in self-exiles at the time Amaechi was battling to be Rivers governor in court.
“That is one moment I really do not always like to remember, but in all, God is faithful. To be very honest, it was a fine moment because it just came suddenly and I could not believe that we were in that position. Me and my children were in one room and we were separated from him (Amaechi) for so long and we were moving from one house to another. He was in Ghana, while the children and I stayed in three overseas countries.
“We had horrifying experiences. The first nasty experience we had was losing all our passports and my bag at Atlanta. I felt somebody deliberated picked up the bag, because they later saw the person on Closed Circuit Television (CCTV). At the Atlanta airport, I told God to have mercy on us. At every moment, I could see the glory and the hand of God. When our passports got lost, it was normal for them to ask us to go back and re-organise, but they allowed us. We reported to the immigration and they allowed us to continue our journey because we had not reached our destination in the United States of America.
“We were not heading for USA because we just wanted to go there, we decided to leave Port Harcourt because the political scene became so mean and our lives were hunted for. We were not safe. My husband never believed in children being out of Nigeria. He always believed that we should be in Nigeria since Nigeria is our country and we should stay and struggle it out. Moreover, it prepares someone for tough times as well but for some reasons, we had to just leave Nigeria because we needed to be alive.
“Therefore, we started going through the ordeal of not having anything (money and other needed items) with us. We just left Nigeria and my children had to abandon school in Nigeria. Before then, my children had started having series of attacks in the school. When we left and we had that unpleasant experience at Atlanta airport, it was really depressing. I want to really thank God because it was a terrible moment that I do not always like to remember. We are still alive by the special grace and mercy of God.
“In the USA, we stayed in a friend’s house and the four of us stayed in one room. I had to stay with them because they were children then. We stayed downstairs, where the room was, close to the living room. From there, we had to move to London and we later moved to another country, but our passports were lost. We were just trying to stay safe.
“I do not want to go into details of what we passed through and everything that happened. Most times, we would see the people who were chasing us. They would either send their family members or agents to be on our trail. Immediately we sighted them, we would run because we did not have any form of security other than God.
“We did not do anything to the persons who wanted to kill us but they felt that my husband was a threat to their ambition. So, we had to stay away from Nigeria. In the USA, initially, we were staying in a hotel, but it got to a point that we could no longer afford it because everything was not planned. My businesses in Nigeria were there, but what we were thinking about first then was safety. Something interesting was that my kids were so good. They did not make me feel down and out.
“In the one room in USA, me and my last son would sleep in the room. We got a mattress for my two other sons to sleep with on the floor of the living room or they might use the foams of the chairs, with one toilet. We all managed it and we continued to pray. My last son prayed a prayer that I believed that God really answered but I will not disclose his special prayer. My other sons also prayed.
“People would say what they wanted to say. Whenever I wanted to speak with my husband in Ghana from USA, I would move into the room, but the children would wonder what I was hiding when everything could be found in Google. That was my first time of knowing that the things were in Google.”
She also revealed how the couple used to suffer marital strife saying, “He used to get me very upset in the house and I would brood over it, but by the time he came back home, he would have totally forgotten about it. Based on this, it did not take me long to adjust, as I realised that people could walk in, see me brooding while he was his ever cheerful self and label me a bad person. He is a strong patron of tough love, but after his message has been passed, he is quick to mend fences.”