The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo; Governors of Kogi State and Benue State, Yahaya Bello and Sam Ortom respectively; Minister for Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige where amongst dignitaries who attended the funeral of the late Minister for Labour and Employment, Barr. James Ocholi (SAN).
Ocholi was committed to mother earth at about 2:30 pm at his country home in Abocho, Dekina Local Government area of Kogi state amidst tears from family members, village people, political associates, and other sympathisers present. Speaking at the Church service conducted at the Local Government primary School open field, Abocho, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo described Ocholi’s death as heart- rending; coupled with the passage of his wife, Blessing and son, Joshua in the same fatal accident. He however eulogised the late minister for his uprightness in dealing with issues. “In the late James Ocholi, Nigeria has lost a true patriot. He was one who we all respected, not just for his personal integrity but also for his humility. His contribution to bringing about what today is the Federal Government of Nigeria was truly significant and so was his zeal for service as a minister these few months.
“He was someone I held in very high esteem. Personally, I have lost not just a friend but also a brother – a brother in the faith and a Minister of God, a brother in the public service. I know that his legacy, his life speaks for itself and we are all enriched and ennobled by the fact that we met him, shared our common hopes for our nation with him and served with him”. The state Governor, Yahaya Bello on his own described late Ocholi as a brother and friend. He eulogised him for his greatness and quest for the unity of the state which he said was always paramount. He said: “My dear people, without doubt, this is one harvest of death to many for Kogi State. We have again lost an illustrious son, a loving wife, and another youthful prospect in the most horrible circumstance possible. Today, after barely any respite from a similar sorrow in the recent past, Kogi State mourns again, greatly. “James was a brother, a true Christian too. Though we battled for our party’s ticket, and passions often ran wild, it was without bitterness. When James was made a Minister while some of us were still in the trenches, he remained gracious. When I emerged Governor, he immediately gave me the highest cooperation. “One thing was of paramount importance to James Ocholi – the greatness and Unity of Kogi State”. One of the sons of the late minister, Aaron (first born) said though the exit of his parents and brother, Joshua was painful, he will carry on their struggle in the manner his late father did. In his sermon, Rev. John Ibenu described death as the end of every mortal. He urged the family, political class and friends not to mourn but to imbibe the selfless and exemplary lifestyle of the late minister.