President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo SAN, governors, ministers and other dignitaries, gathered in Abocho, Dekina local government area of Kogi State, for the funeral of the late Minister of State for Labour and Employment, James Ocholi, his wife, Blessing and son, Joshua.
The funeral service held on the field of LGA primary school, was laden with emotion as the three corpses were brought into the arena by the pall bearers.
The service, which commenced at about 10.15 am, saw people including immediate family members, government and church members rendering tributes in honour of the departed souls.
The only passage for the service taken from Revelations, Chapter 20, Verse 11 – 15, was taken by one of the children of the deceased, Uyo.
Delivering his sermon, entitled: “The invitation you could not resist” the Kogi State chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop John Ibenu, descibed death as an incidentthat man has no control over.
He said death is an irresistible invitation that man had no opportunity to resist, saying the moment God calls any human being the person must answer.
The clergy however, said what is paramount is how prepared human being are for the invitation from God, asking the people to always remember the day of judgment.
Osinbajo, who represented the president in his tribute, noted that with the death of Ocholi, the country had lost a patriot that was respected not only for his personal integrity but also for his humility.
He said: “His contributions to bringing about what today is in 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.
“I know that his legacy and his life speak for itself and we are all enriched and enobled by the fact that we met him, shared our common hopes for our nation with him and served with him.”
The Kogi state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, said the only way to keep the legacy that Ocholi believed and lived for was to ensure the unity of the state.
According to him, one thing was of paramount importance to Ocholi, SAN was the greatness and unity of Kogi State, assuring that he would continue to nurture the principle.
Other dignitaries who attended the programme included the Benue State governor, Sam Ortom, the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige and Senator Dino Melaye, among others.