… Ata Igala fixes Friday for prayers for the kingdom
The death of the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, James Ocholi (SAN) along with his wife and first son on Sunday has brought to the fore the great tragedies that have continued to befall the Igala race and Kogi State.
The development has prompted Igalas and Kogites in general to call for prayers for its sons and daughters.
The social media ignited the debate immediately the news of the horrifying accident broke out. Some platforms Team Kogi and Kogi Patriots were very vibrant on the issue.
This is particularly when the present tragedy is coming less than four months after a former Governor and the All Progressives Candidate (APC) candidate in last year’s governorship election, Prince Abubakar Audu died at the verge of victory.
Former media aid to President Olusegun Obasanjo, Tunde Olusunle posted on the Kogi Patriots saying the times were really testy times for the people of Kogi.
In his words, “We have been serially pummeled in recent times by humongous tragedies. I never had the opportunity of proximate interaction with Barr James Eneojo Ocholi, SAN, until early January this year.
“I was struck by his disarming simplicity and tangible urbaneness. Its not yet two months since that first formal
meeting and we’ve lost him.”
He expressed genuine believe in prayers for the State saying: “Our story is not the sweetest in the nation’s contemporary discourse. We need to invoke the hands of God to heal our land and mitigate in our situation.”
A leader of APC in the State, Senator Alex kadiri who spoke to The Guardian in a telephone interview stated.the tragedy had happened and nobody can question God.
“For the minister to die with his wife and first son?
I have never witnessed it.” He stated.the Igalas in Abuja met on Monday and formed the committee for Ocholi’s burial where he was made the chairman.
Kadiri indicated that he was going to be liaising with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the body of benchers and his Church leader, Bishop Sam Amaga.
For the Igala nation, he stated.that its horizon has been doomed for quite sometime.
“When we had a minister for Health before he settled down they stated.he embezzled money he lost out. We had the former Governor, Prince Abubakar Audu at the verge of victory in the last Governorship election he died before he was declared winner.
“Here again a minister yet to settle down travelling with his entire family they have all perished. This is the tragedy of our race.”
He lamented the awkward predicament that Ocholi’s death has put the Igalas saying that the way events have turned out, “We are not in the scheme of things in our State, we are not in the scheme of things at the federal level and yet we claim to be the 9th largest ethnic group in the country.”
He called for national prayers for the race where all sons and daughters would return home for supplication to God for the healing of the land.
Already in response to the yearnings of the people His Royal Majesty Ameh Oboni II, Agabaidu, Ata Igala has declared Friday, March 11, 2016 as National Day of Prayer and Fasting for Igalaland.
Another post on Kogi Patriots platform by Tanimola Oluwakemi copied from Jonahino Moses’ post on her Facebook wall States “Beyond Minister Ocholi’s death, what many Nigerians did not know was that on the same day more than 100 other people died as a result of car crashes in Nigeria.
“Using the World Health Organization’s recent data, Nigeria has one of the worst road traffic safety record, ranking 149th out of 184 countries studied by the World
On how to improve safety on the roads, he advised that the roads must be fixed, “While acknowledging that we all need to play our parts by wearing seat belts, driving within speed limits, obeying traffic signs etc.”
In addition, he stated.there must be Paramedics/Road side emergency response in all the major roads.
The Senator representing Kogi Central in the National Assembly, Senator Ahmed Ogembe described the death of Minister of State as a great loss to Kogi state and Nigeria, saying that he died at a time the country needed him most.
Senator Ogembe on his twitter handle @AhmedOgembe, described late Ocholi as a detribalized Kogite who was always interested in the oneness and progress of Kogi state.
He portrayed Ocholi as a man of honour and integrity who would be greatly missed by Kogi state and Nigeria.
Ogembe prayed that Almighty Allah grant the soul of Ocholi, his wife and son eternal rest.
Prior to Audu’s death, Kogi had recorded several other deaths of prominent politicians in auto crashes.
One of the prominent Kogi leaders who also lost his life in an auto crash was the late Steven Achema who died in a ghastly car crash near Murtala Muhammed Bridge along Lokoja- Zuba road on November 16, 1999.
Achema was a political opponent to late Prince Audu during the 1991 general elections.
Audu was of the defunct NRC while late Achema was the defunct SDP’s governorship candidate in the state.
Similarly, late Senator Ahmed Tijjani Ahmed – popular known as A.T. Ahmed lost his life in another ghastly auto crash. He was elected Senator in a short-lived democratic experience in 1991 under the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP), before it was later truncated by the military.
With the return of democracy in 1998, the late A.T. Ahmed aspired to become the PDP governorship candidate for Kogi State.
Ahmed slogged it out with the late Achema, and Steve Oloruntoba but lost the ambition to Oloruntoba. However, the late Prince Audu of the defunct ANPP defeated the PDP candidate.
A.T. Ahmed later ran for the Senate in the same election and won for his party, PDP.
All through the 2003 elections Late Ahmed continued with the struggle to become governor of Kogi State to no avail. He later died in a car accident in June 2006 while he was leading the campaign for power shift in the state.
Another Kogi Prominent female politician, Nana Ojeba, who made history as the only female legislator in the state House of Assembly, died in a road accident in 2004.
Also a lawmaker in the state house of Assembly died who by road accident in 2006 was Hon Mohammed Onusagba. The Ebira-born politician was aspiring to become governor of the state when he met his sudden death on the highway while traveling between Lokoja and Kano.
Late Rapheal Adegbola, then a shining political star from Ogori-Magongo local government, died in a ghastly accident along Okene-Lokoja road in November 1998.
Other politicians who died by car accident were a House of Representatives aspirant, Samuel Bagudu; chairman, Bassa local government area, Luke Shigaba, and a Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in the state, Hon. Dan Kadiri.
It would be recalled that two governors of the state, Idris Wada and Ibrahim Idris, had at different times, during their tenures, narrowly escaped death via car accident.
Barrister Ocholi, who became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2007, was a governorship aspirant in Kogi State in 2011 on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).
He later emerged as the deputy national legal adviser of the newly formed All Progressives Congress (APC).
He renewed his ambition of becoming the governor of his state in the last general elections but lost the bid at the APC gubernatorial primary election, to the late CapitoliumNews RegularAbubakar Audu.
Thereafter President Muhammadu Buhari appointed him minister in 2015.