Ocholi: Anxiety over driver’s fate

 • Minister’s death, momumental loss –Saraki

THERE is anxiety over the fate of the driver of the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) which belonged to Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Mr. James Ocholi (SAN), who died along with his family members on Sunday in a ghastly accident in Doma Village, along Kaduna- Abuja Highway.

The driver, whose name was unknown at the time of filing in this report, was said to have sustained serious injuries during the auto crash and has been rushed to the National Hospital in Abuja for treatment.

A source said he died in the early hours of Monday mornig but, another source in the state governor’s media team said he was alive and responding to treatment..

Meanwhile, Daily Sun gathered that Joshua Ocholi, who died with his parents in the auto crash, studied International Law and Diplomacy at Salem University, Lokoja, Kogi State where he graduated last year.

As for the wife of the late minister, Blessing Fatima, she was the Registrar of the university up till December last year when she resigned to join her husband in Abuja, after his appointmentas minister.

Mrs. Ocholi was born a Muslim before she converted to Christianity, and effected a name change, from Fatima to Blessing.

Meanwhile, a source in the minister’s convoy, who did not want his name in print, narrated how the Sunday accident happened.

He said their vehicle stopped to refuel when all of a sudden, they saw the rear tyre of the SUV, in which the minister and his family were travelling, burst and summersaulted five times, instantly killing the minister and his son who sat by his side.

The source, who claimed the car was not on high-speed, expressed surprise at how the accident “could instantly claim the minister’s life, and that of others…”

Meanwhile, paramount ruler  of Igalaland, Dr. Michael Idakwo Oboni, monarch of the late minister, has declared Friday as Fasting Day for the Igala people.

The late James Ocholi was born in Ogbadege in Dekina Local Government area of Kogi State on November 26, 1960 and was called to Bar in 1986 after graduating from University of Jos. He became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in December 2007.

Relatedly, Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has expressed deep shock and disbelief over the death of Ocholi, his wife and son.

Saraki, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu in Abuja, described the death of such a “promising Nigerian like the late minister as a colossal loss to the present administration in particular and the country at large.”

He condoled with President Muhammadu Buhari, members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the governor and people of Kogi State, leaders and people of North Central zone and the immediate family of the deceased over the unfortunate incident.

“I still recall when the late Ocholi appeared before the Senate to be screened and confirmed as a minister a few months ago. He was not only full of life; he came across to me as a man of great ideas and accomplishments.

 … Ngige, Adewole mourn 

From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

LABOUR and Productivity Ministry in Abuja was a graveyard on Monday as the Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige, members of staff, mourned the death of Minister of State for Labour, James Ocholi (SAN), who died in an auto crash along Abuja- Kaduna Road on Sunday.

Whwn Daily Sun visited the ministry, staff were either seen wearing mournful looks or discussing in groups the life and time of the late minister.

Meanwhile, Ngige has described Ocholi’s death as a shocking thunderbolt, which he initially regarded as a bad dream.

“For me, I want to describe the incident that happened to Ocholi and members of his

family as a bad dream which will fade away but, I woke up to see that the dream was real.

“Having worked closely with him in this ministry, I cannot but say that I feel a very big sense of loss. It was a loss aggravated by many situations, which made us work together in various ways and in different parts.

“When I heard the news of his death, I thought it was a rumour especially as I was rumoured to have collapsed and died in the National Assembly during the budget defence about one month ago.

“Initially, I regarded it as the same rumour from the same group of people. Reality hit me when I concluded a television interview where I extolled his analytical mind, greatness, eruditeness and scholarliness.

“It was when I got the security report that I started networking people who confirmed it to me. I cannot believe that death has taken away James Ocholi, his son and later his wife.

“I was shocked to the marrow and even, as a medical doctor, I saw patients die but none was as shocking as Ocholi’s death. His death was like a thunderbolt I am just trying to recover from,” he added.

Similarly, Minister of Health, Dr. Isaac Adewole Folorunsho, said what he will miss most in him was his sharp intellect, humility, very witty contributions and scientific analytic approach to many of the decisions and contributions at the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

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