… At special valedictory session
From Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Justice of Kogi State, Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello joined well-wishers to bid farewell to late Minister of State for Labour and Employment, James Ocholi (SAN) who died alongside his wfe and son in an auto accident along Abuja-Kaduna Expressway on Sunday, March 6, 2016.
In his tribute, Buhari described his late minister as a very civil, humble man who was loyal to not only his ideals, but, also, the party.
The president also said the late Ocholi was a patriot who was committed to the Change Agenda of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“How do I begin to pay this tribute to a man who was the epitome of civility, the archetype of intellectualism, and the paragon of loyalty? How do I begin to mourn James Ocholi, whom you can describe as one of my right hand men in the quest to reposition our country, and fashion a land of peace and prosperity, where no man is oppressed?
“A lot has been written about Ocholi since the tragic event which took his life, his wife, Blessing, and his son, Joshua. And, a lot more will be written, for Ocholi was no mean man. He was a man among men, an Iroko in a forest of trees. How are the mighty fallen!
“Among many other positive and pleasant things, I will always remember Ocholi for his loyalty to our beloved country Nigeria, loyalty to our party, the All Progressives Congress, and loyalty to our administration, in which he had served for just about four months, before death took him…”
At home, in Kogi, tears flowed freely yesterday when the bodies of the late Minister of State for Labour and Employment, James Ocholi and that of his wife and son who died in an auto crash arrived the High Court Lokoja, where a valedictory court session was held in honour of the late legal icon.
The bodies were brought separately to the court premises by three ambulances belonging to the Federal Road Safety Corps, Abuja.
The special court session was witnessed by Governor Bello and Chief Judge of the state, Justice Nasir Ajana as well as the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Alhaji Ado Ibrahim and many dignitaries.
In his tribute, Bello described the late minister as a quintessential democrat and gentleman whose shoes will be difficult to fill.
He said the outpouring of grief across the length and breadth of Nigeria following his death and that of his wife and son attested to the strength of his character as a well loved gentleman.
In his own tribute, Ajana went down memory lane when he first met the late Ocholi as a young lawyer in 1991.
He described how he was fascinated by the dedication, industriousness and professionalism with which he handled cases which he said marked him out as a special breed. The Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Alhaji Bayero, who represented the Kogi State Council of Chiefs said Ocholi was dedicated to fighting the cause of corruption alongside the change mantra of President Muhammadu Buhari but unfortunately could not accomplish his mission before death came calling.
The royal father called on the political class to emulate the life of late Ocholi and prayed to God to give the remaining children the fortitude to bearthe irreparable losses.