Abuja - In light of late State Labour Minister James Ocholi's funeral, along with that of his wife and son later today, President Muhammadu Buhari paid special tribute to the much-loved politician, describing Ocholi as one of his "right hand men", Punch has reported.
The tribute, titled "James Ocholi taught us the meaning of loyalty", was signed by Buhari and made available at the Presidency yesterday.
According to the statement, Buhari drew on fond memories of the late Minister, revealing that he had so much faith in Ocholi's ability to effect change that he followed him while he conducted campaigns in his state.
In consolation, Buhari stated that Ocholi's death has taught the nation the value of commitment, fidelity and loyalty to a party, the Government and God.
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Buhari wrote, “How do I begin to pay this tribute to a man who was the epitome of civility, the archetype of intellectualism and the paragon of loyalty? How do I begin to mourn James Ocholi, whom you can describe as one of my right hand men in the quest to reposition our country, and fashion a land of peace and prosperity, where no man is oppressed?
“A lot has been written about Ocholi since the tragic event of March 6, 2016, which took the life of our Minister of State, Labour and Employment, his wife, Blessing, and his son, Joshua. And a lot more will be written, for Ocholi was no mean man. He was a man among men, an Iroko in a forest of trees. How are the mighty fallen!”
Meanwhile, Governor Yahaya Bello made his own tribute to Ocholi during a special valedictory court session yesterday, describing the late minister as a "gentleman" and saying that his shoes would be difficult to fill.
“James started succeeding early, and by his achievements, drafted an end-time brief on how to live life well”, the governor said.
Governor Bello went on to call Ocholi a "legend" who will be immortalised by the Government, ensuring that he will never be forgotten.
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