Bidding Farewell With Tears To Our Dear Ocholi

Bidding Farewell With Tears To Our Dear Ocholi
April 04 14:22 2016

By Imaobong Udoh

[T]hat fateful Sunday, the 6th of March 2016, it was a dark Sunday for the Ocholis, the staff of the ministry of Labour and Employment, all his friends, colleagues and admirers nation wide.

I thought it was all a dream I could wake up from, it also seems to me as one of those rumours that eventually turned out to be fables. Like it was rumored about the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment, sen. Dr Chris Ngige, a week earlier.

That Sunday afternoon, I received a call from my colleague and friend, asking if I have heard about the news, my answer  was no, because  we  had no light but  quickly I rushed to put on the generator, and searching through  the stations, I saw  on the scrolling on Television Breaking news: Hon. Minister of state for Labour and Employment, Ocholi James and son Joshua feared dead, in a ghastly motor accident along Kaduna-Abuja express way, while his wife Blessing was in a critical condition at a Kaduna hospital.

It was so hard to think of him as being dead, too difficult to accept as a reality. I was confused and could not believe the story until later that evening when other stations also aired the story, it became a confirmation.

His voice began to re-echo in my ears so clearly, I could visualize the last meeting we had with him on that last Wednesday evening, when the Local Government Union came visiting, and when it was the turn of the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment Sen. Dr, Chris Ngige, to give his speech, and he asked the late Hon. Minister of state to speak first.

I  could still remember so clearly, in his jovial but humble manner, how he said  ‘’I will not call you GSM, I am thinking in my head, what name to call you’’ referring to the Hon. Minister, Sen. Dr, Chris Ngige, whom the Perm. Secretary had eelier introduced as former Governor, Senator and Minister (GSM), he gave his reasons and we all laughed over it. I never knew that was the last time, I will see him.

In his usual manner, calm and well composed, he gave his remark, and you could see the commitment and passion for service written all over him. He assured the union of his total support, especially using his position as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria he will make sure that their rights and demands are met and fully restored. But he never knew that he had appointment with death and will not be able to fulfill those promises and dreams of tackling the labour issues.
Not only was his death shocking, it was also tragic, claiming the lives of his wife Blessing and that of his son Joshua.

This is one tragedy that is too hard to live with. That Sunday 6th of March 2016, had gone into history and cannot be forgotten in a hurry.

Though I did not know much about him until his appointment as the minister of State for Labour and Employment on 11th of November, 2015, but for this short period of 3 months I worked under him, I came to admire his person, and more so when I read through his profile recently, I became more challenged to see a man of that caliber who had reached the Apex of his profession, yet so humble. Ocholi was an epitome of hard work, commitment, service to humanity.

This exceptional quality has distinguished him among his mate and colleagues and accorded him several recognition among which are Senior Advocate of Nigeria [SAN], Notary Public of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, including Ambassador of Conscience and Notary Personality; He served in different capacities in the religions and political circles.

Ocholi was a man of different proficiencies, a devoted and dedicated Christian, a successful lawyer, a active politician, a committed husband and father.

The president of the federal Republic of Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR also rightly said, Nigeria has lost a key component in the change agenda.

His loss is indeed a colossal one, and according to the minister of Labour and Employment, sen. Dr Chris Ngige’”, this death has created a vacuum that will be difficult to fill.’

He left an indelible mark, he was an accomplished lawyer and politician who served in different capacities .He was a litigator, fighting for the right of those who were oppressed and neglected, Ocholi was a voice for the voiceless, he was down to earth, was not given to flamboyancy.

Though he had a rough beginning as a child while growing up, he was not despaired or distracted by the circumstances around him, he kept hope alive and was determined through hard work to succeed and he actually succeeded, his dream of becoming a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) was fulfilled .He was happily married to his wife Blessing, and the union was blessed with five children. What else could a man ask for? He was a blessing to his family. Community and Nigeria as a whole.

This indeed  is one tragedy  that is difficult to live with, but we take solace in the saying that “the life of a man is not measured by how long he lives on earth but how many lives he affected”. He was a good man. He used his God given talent to serve humanity and was loved by all who came in contact with him; He left his footprint in the sands of time.

I pray the Almighty God will give the entire Nation the fortitude to bear the great loss, it is indeed difficult to say goodbye.

Adieu Ocholi, Adieu Blessing. Adieu Joshua