The death of Nigeria’s minister of state for labour and productivity, James Ocholi, has overwhelmed many Nigerians, especially his close associates.
The minister was said to have lost his life alongside his son and wife, with the driver in a critical condition as at the time the incident was reported.
Nigerians also took to the social media to react to the death of the man who was in October, 2015, confirmed as one of Nigeria’s minister after impressing the members of the upper chambers of the National Assembly during the ministerial screening.
Late James E Ocholi answers questions from senators during the ministerial screening. Ocholi, who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), a rank only attained by outstanding legal luminaries, is from Igala in Kogi state, where late Aubu Abubakar, the 2015 governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state also hails from.
Here are six facts about the late minister which Nigerians probably did not know before his demise:
1. Ocholi is a born stammerer.
2. The late minister of state died barely eight months before his 56th birthday, as he was born on November 26, 1960 to the family of James Momoh Odoh at Idah.
3. Ocholi lost his father at the age of 18 and became the family’s breadwinner at a very young age. He had to fend for his siblings afterwards.
4. Teenage Ocholi would not have become a lawyer but for the scholarship he was able to secure from the then Benue state government. He graduated as a lawyer from the University of Jos in 1985, finished from the Nigerian Law School in 1986, and was called to Bar the same year.
5. The legal practitioner was a devout Christian having given his life to Jesus Christ in 1974 while in class two of Ochaja Secondary School. At an evening school meeting at the school assembly hall, a Christian staff nurse from a neighboring town reportedly came around to speak to the students and he was said to have made the move to become a Christian.
6. He did not get the SAN rank until a second attempt. Reports say in 2006, Ocholi applied for the conferment of the rank but did not succeed and he applied again the next year. As fate would have it, he was conferred with the rank on December 12, 2007 as he stood among distinguished legal luminaries in the hallowed chambers of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to receive the honour.