The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed; the President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Justice Babatunde Adejumo; and other top members of the country’s judiciary on Wednesday paid glowing tributes to the late Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Chief James Ocholi (SAN).
The eminent jurists, who converged at the National Industrial Court in Abuja at a special valedictory session in honour of Ocholi, praised the deceased minister for his exemplary integrity and hard work.
“Ocholi was such an icon; from a humble beginning he grew and became a colossus in the legal profession and Nigeria,” Justice Mahmud said.
For Justice Adejumo, Ocholi’s brilliance and hard work to the advancement of law and legal jurisprudence earned him the prestigious rank of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2007.
He said: “It is the more tragic and painful that this horrendous occurrence did not spare the lives of our colleague’s wife and second son.
“Those who should know, including our President, have attested to the brilliance, passion and enthusiasm, with which he served this great country.
“As a legal practitioner, he traversed all the courts in Nigeria.
“James Ocholi was a thorough-bred professional and advocate.
“He was a quintessential minister in the temple of justice as he personified the best tradition of the legal profession.”
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), who was represented by the Solicitor-General of the Federation, Taiwo Abidogun, described the deceased Labour Minister as a “community leader, philanthropist and icon of the legal profession in the country.
“Despite our individual and collective loss, we are consoled by his enduring legacies of hard work and excellence which defined his life.
“He will be sorely missed at the Federal Executive Council for a long time to come.”
On his part, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Augustine Alegeh (SAN), bemoaned the tragic demise of Ocholi, his wife and son.
Alegeh commended the deceased minister for conquering the existential barriers that fate threw at him following the death of his father while in High School.
He said: “Ocholi was a lawyer of high repute who committed his life to the cause of justice for the downtrodden.
“He showed immense integrity and hard work in every endeavour he participated.
“We will sorely miss him.”
Speaking in a similar vein, the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (Abuja Branch) showered praises on Ocholi for bringing honour to the legal profession.
The body, which was represented by Chief Adegboye Awomolo (SAN), described Ocholi as a lawyer who distinguished himself within and outside the Bar.
“Ocholi earned his SAN rank by dint of hard work. He was a legal luminary who served his people,” Awomolo observed.
It would be recalled that Ocholi, his wife and son died in a ghastly motor accident along the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway on March 6.
The valedictory court session kick started a series of activities lined up for his final interment this weekend in Idah, Kogi State.