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Ocholi’s death threatens review of NDE law


James Ocholi

James Ocholi

The demise of the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, James Ocholi may threaten the review of the law setting up the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), its Acting Director General, Kunle Obayan has said.

Speaking on the vacuum the death of the minister has created in the ministry, Obayan explained that the late Minister led the team that was working on the revision of the law in order to make its operations more relevant to the present employment reality in the country as well as aligning it with the change mantra of the present govern

He said: “We are going to miss him very much on many levels. The first level is that we have lost a gentleman and the second level is that we have lost an opportunity to review the NDE Act. We have operated the Act for 30 years without revision and he was working with us to review it before this tragedy occurred. For these reasons, we are going to miss the Minister a great deal. He also started to make his experience count in the legal profession in the arbitration and mediation processes in the labour administration in Nigeria. It a monumental loss for his family, Kogi state, Federal Government and the nation at large.”

The immediate past Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu also paid glowing tributes to Ocholi. In his tributes, Wogu lauded Ocholi for his legal sagacity in the development of the country, saying, “This is a tragic development indeed. This happened when the nation needed him the most. Nigerians had just started to see his talents and his disposition to issues. Apart from being one of my successors in office, Ocholi was a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and my senior in the legal profession by one year.”

The President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, paid glowing tribute to Ocholi. He said: “We worked closely together within the few months he was appointed. His deep knowledge on arbitration was well appreciated. He indeed added value to the labour challenges largely because of his legal background as a lawyer. We will miss him a lot.”

Other political leaders that visited the residence included the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Senate Leader and former National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Col. Ahmadu Ali, Mohammed Ali Ndume and other lawmakers.

In the condolence register opened for the deceased Minister, his wife and son, Senate President wrote,” I am here leading a delegation ‎of my colleagues in the Senate to commiserate and condole the family of James Ocholi: particularly the children who suddenly lost their parents. James Ocholi was a very committed party man and his loss is so tragic. May Almighty God grant him, his wife and son eternal peace. Also, give you all strength to bear this loss”
Deputy Senate Leader, Senator ‎Bala Ibn Na Allah, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim and Senator Philip Aduda accompanied Saraki.

Also paying glowing tribute to the late Minister, former National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Col. Ahmadu Ali, who wore a gloomy face after condoling with the family, said his demise was a catastrophe for the Igala Kingdom and Nigeria.

Nasarawa state Governor, Tanko Al Makura who led members of his cabinet ‎also prayed for the repose of the soul of the late Minister just as he asked God to strengthen the family.

His words: “It is a serious loss to this country. It is a personal loss to me because we have come a long way. Among all the governorship candidates in the last election, he was my closest friend. He is someone with a sound legal influence in this administration. We have been so close, even when I have events, I don’t need to invite him before he attends my functions. We were together two weeks ago.

“I feel pained. We would continue to pray for the family because it is a devastating loss and very tragic. We feel for the children but we know that the Almighty God will continue to be with you. Though you lost your biological father, you have a lot of fathers in us”

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