Nigeria has lost a key component of change agenda– Buhari
Bodies deposited at National Hospital, Abuja morgue
its illustrious sons, Prince AbubakarAudu, in
the heat of the governorship election in the
state, another brilliant son, Barrister James
Ocholi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN,
was yesterday snatched by the cold arm of
death in ghastly motor accident. He hailed
from Abochoin Dekina Local Government
Area of Kogi state.
James Ocholi, a Minister of State in the
Ministry of Labour and Employment was
involved in a fatal accident while returning
home from an official assignment, on the
According to one of his personal assistants,
the accident occurred yesterday afternoon,
killing him, his wife, son and a Police orderly
whose identity was yet to be ascertained as at
the time of filing this report.
It was gathered that the minister’s vehicle,
a Prado jeep, had a burst tyre while on top
speed, thereby somersaulting several times
before ramming into a Lexus jeep coming in
the opposite direction on the highway.
When contacted, the Police Public
Relations Officer of the Kaduna State
Police Command, ZubairuAbubakar,also
confirmed the incident to newsmen, explaining
that the incident occurred after the tyre of the
Lexus jeep the Minister was driving in got a
It was also gathered that his wife, was pulled
out of the wreckage of the minister’s Prado Jeep
in coma, but later died in the hospital few hours
after she was admitted.
The source said the late minister’s driver was
still in critical condition at Doka Clinic where he
was admitted, several kilometres from Kaduna.
In his immediate reaction, President
Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, expressed
shock and sadness at the death of the Minister
of State for Labour and Employment, Barrister
James Ocholi, SAN, who together with his wife
and son were killed in the car crash.
President Buhari described his death as
untimely, regretting that Nigeria has lost a key
component of the Change agenda.
“Barrister Ocholi was an accomplished and
patriotic Nigerian, who was keen to accept the
call to service at a time his country needed him,”
President Buhari said, adding that in the few
months he had been in office, the late minister of
state had already begun to distinguish himself
through his commitment and dedication to his
The late Ocholi has had a long record of
political association with President Buhari.
It could be recalled that the late Barrister
Ocholi contested the last All Progressives Party,
APCgovernorship primary election for ticket
but lost to late Prince Audu, who also died
mysteriously at the verge of the conclusion of
the gubernatorial election in the state.
The late junior minister
was the state coordinator
Organisation and played a key role in the
decision that led to the supplementary election
in the last governorship election in the state.
James Ocholi attended Ochaja Secondary
School, and the University of Jos.He
graduated from the Nigerian Law School in
1986 and was admitted to the Nigerian Bar
the same year.
Ocholi’s remains deposited at National
El Rufai mourn
Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, said on
Sunday that the remains of the late Minister
of State for Labour, James Ocholi, has been
deposited at the morgue of the National
BisiKazeem, the spokesperson of FRSC,
confirmed to the News Agency of Nigeria
in Abuja that the corpse of the minister was
taken to the hospital along with two other
Mr. Kazeem explained that the deceased
lost their lives in a crash that occurred at
Kilometre 57, along Kaduna-Abuja highway
“The minister and two other occupants died
eventually, while four people were injured,”
The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai,
confirmed this in a facebook post.
“It is with great sadness that the Kaduna
State Ministry of Health and Human Services
further announces the death of Mrs. Ocholi
at Doka Hospital, who was in coma since the
accident near Rijana, along the Kaduna-Abuja
Road. Earlier, the death of Minister Ocholi and
his son were announced. May their souls rest
in perfect peace, Amen,” the governor wrote.
Kogi declares 3-day mourning
Meanwhile, the Kogi State Government has
declared has declaredMonday -Wednesday
as period of mourning in respect of the late
In a statement signed by signed
Special Adviser to the Governor on Media
and Strategy, and made available to journalists
in Lokoja yesterday,GovernorYahaya Bello
said the demise of Barrister Ocholi and
members of his family is a monumental loss
to the state and the country in general.
While expressing shock over the death of
the late minister, the governor described the
late Ocholi as a pragmatic, dynamic, humane
and brilliant lawyer who was known around
the world for his pragmatic approach to legal
and political issues.
He said the late minister was one of the most
unswerving constitutional lawyers Nigeria
has ever produced.
He recollected how the late Senior Advocate
of Nigeria joined other progressive minded
individuals around the country to build the
pillars of the All Progressives Congress, APC,
adding the late minister was a detribalised
Nigerian who believed in the oneness of the
nation, describing his death as an irreparable
loss to Kogi state and the nation at large.
Reactions to Ocholi’s death
A case of death too many, Dr Goodman
Dr Goodman Akwu, the candidate of All
Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, in the just
concluded governorship election in kogi state
said it is so sad that death should take away
Barrister James Ocholi, SAN at this period of
He said although death is an inevitable end
of any mortal, kogi state own is becoming a
case of death too many in the recent times.
Dr Goodman Akwu who said if care is not
taken the state will be declared a grave yard
areas of the country noted that whatever be the
sin of our leaders God should have mercy on
all and put an end to the ugly incident of death
thjat lay siege on the state.
“Ocholi was a brilliance and gallant lawyer.
A self made man who remained humble even
as a minister. Right now my brother, we are
confused. Only God will see us through this
tragedy”, Farouk Adejoh, Executive Chairman,
“Ocholi, SAN dead? Incredible, ineffable,
abominable! God why now after all his legal and
political struggles? Death, thou art ashamed.
Where is thy sting? May his gentle soul rest in
peace, Amen” – Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN
“May the Lord repose his gentle soul. From
God we all came and unto Him we shall
all return. It is painful and sad. I send my
condolences to our Vice president, cabinet
ministers Nigerian Bar Association, Kogi state
government, the Igala Nation and the entire
members of the family of the late patriot” –
Ahmed Raji, SAN
“I am speechless as he was a very close
friend. It was a calamity. The family who
were joyous about three months ago of having
a minister is now thrown to sorrow and
unimaginable sadness. He was an outstanding
brilliant trial lawyer. We have lost a gem from
Kogi state. An accident that claimed the lives
of the Hon. Minister, wife and son was beyond
the ordinary. I pray that God will grant eternal
rest to the departed. I am deeply saddened.”
In a reaction, the Minister of Labour and
Employment, Chris Ngige, in a statement issued
by Special Assistant, Media, Nwachukwu
Ngige, confirmed the incident.
The statement reads in part, “Rudely
shocking but it is true! The Minister of State for
Labour and Employment, Chief James Ocholi
SAN is dead. Am short of words, overwhelmed
An industrious servant of our dear nation
is gone. In him, the Ministry of labour
and Employment, lost such an invaluable
intellectual. Personally, I lost a competent
colleague and a friend. What a vanity this life
is! What an emptiness, what a nothingness we
are! I pray that God Almighty, Himself, the
author of all creations would give eternal rest
to Ocholi, his wife and son. What a sad day! “
We are in shock
National leadership of the All Progressives
Congress, APC, last night expressed shock and
sadness over the death of the Minister of State,
for Labour and Employment, James Ocholi,
SAN, his wife and son.
The APC National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni,
in a condolence message described the deaths
as a monumental loss.
Buni prayed for the recovery of other
occupants of the ghastly vehicle accident,
including the late minister’s driver who
reportedly sustained serious injuries.
The APC National Secretary said the late
Ocholi who was the party’s former Deputy
National Legal Adviser will be remembered for
his selfless service to the country as minister,
party, legal profession and his home state, Kogi.
While extending his condolences to the
people and government of Kogi state, Buni
prayed to Almighty God to grant Ocholi’s
immediate family the fortitude to bear the