Minister, wife, son die as SUV somersaults


Minister, wife, son die as SUV somersaultsDriver, Chief Detail, orderly, PA injured

Buhari, APC, Atiku, others mourn

Minister of State for Labour and Employment James Ocholi (SAN) died yesterday in an accident on the Kaduna-Abuja road. He was 55.

The accident in which Ocholi’s wife, Blessing and son, Aaron also died, occurred at Rijana, Kilometre 57 on the highway.

Ocholi and his wife were married for 27 years.

Kaduna State sector commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Mr. Francis Udoma said: “The minister and his son died on the spot; the wife died in the government hospital in Doka, Kaduna State.

“The driver, the chief detail, the orderly and the P.A (Personal Assistant ) were injured.”

Kaduna Police spokesman Zubairu Abubakar confirmed the accident, which he said occurred because the Lexus Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) the family was travelling in lost a tyre while on speed.

A source said the Minister was on his way back to Abuja after attending a thanksgiving church service in Kaduna.

Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Kaduna Sector Command ACM Victor Nwokolo told The Nation on telephone that three persons were confirmed dead.

He said the accident occurred when the tyre of the Lexus SUV they were traveling in got bust, causing the vehicle to somersault.

He said bodies of the dead and those injured were taken to the National Hospital.

He said: “There is an accident involving the minister’s convoy. Our men are on ground at the scene of the accident, but I am not the one to disclose what has happened now since he is a serving minister.

“It happened at Doka village and I am not on ground there. We have a unit at Kateri and the ambulance is there. I am talking with them on telephone.”

Residents of Kogi State, where the late minister hailed from, were yesterday thrown into shock.

The eminent lawyer, who hailed from Ogbabede/Abocho in Dekina Local Government Area, was one of President Mohammadu Buhari’s nominees.

Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello was shocked by the minister’s death.

Bello described the late Ocholi as a pragmatic, dynamic, humane and brilliant law officer, who was known around the world for his dexterous approach to legal and political issues and  one of the most unwavering constitutional lawyers Nigeria has ever produced.

The governor recollected how the late Senior Advocate of Nigeria joined other progressive-minded individuals around the country to drive the intellectual pillars of the All Progressives Congress (APC), just as he described the late Ocholi as a complete gentleman who was irrevocably committed to the advancement of Nigeria.

He described his death as an irreparable loss to Kogi State, Nigeria, the APC and the legal profession, praying for the repose of the soul of the departed.

The APC Kogi State chapter, described Ocholi’s death as a great loss.

Treasurer Ismail Yahaya Adesayo described the death “very unfortunate”.

He remembered the late Ocholi as a fine leader who meant well for state and Nigeria.

He lamented that Ocholi died when his service was most needed in the state, praying to God to grant him eternal rest and give his family the fortitude to bear the loss.

He prayed to God not to take away the state’s leaders again, adding that the party is mourning.

Ocholi was the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) governorship candidate during the December 2011 governorship election in Kogi State.