When, on Thursday ahead of Friday’s Funeral Service, The Street Reporters, arrived the Achobo country home of late Minister of Labour and Employment, Ocholi Enojo, whose surname was James, an atmosphere of grieve, pain and regrets over the death of the minister, his wife Blessing and their son, Joshua, permeated the air as the lifeless bodies of the trio arrived a home they look forward to turning into a palace to minister to the needs of the people.
The new structures, though uncompleted, tell of the kind of residence the Ocholis planned in their Dekina Local Government of Kogi State country home.
Villagers freely told anyone in sight how the late minister and his wife had touched their lives, even as they spoke of dashed hopes following their demise.
At about 6;12pm on Thursday when the Wake Keep scheduled for the day kicked of, many still expressed hope the whole scenario were a nightmare. But, alas, it’s true that the Ocholis who freely provided for their needs were gone forever.
In their tributes all through the night, relatives, friends and well-wishers told of how the late ministers opened his home to all, fed their as his own.
The same testimonies of humility, good deeds and selflessness continued to pour in as massive crowd thronged the Local Government Education Authority (LGEA) Primary School in Oguma area of the Dekina local council on Friday for the funeral service as early as 7.a.m.
That morning, dignitaries after dignitaries arrived the venue of the service, with many Igala people openly wished it was a gathering for a different purpose.
On the mouth the people was a call for prayers that never again shall an Igala hero fall in his prime. during his tribute at the service, Senator Alex Kadiri, a former PDP stalwart who joined the APC, on behalf of Igala community described Ocholi as his political son.
The politician who was in tears thanked everyone for coming and said, “that’s all I can say”. He however prayed that “the death of Oholi will bring peace in this clan because we’re troubled.
“May it never happen again”, “we are tired of burying our sons”, he prayed.
The same was the prayer of the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kogi State, and the presiding Bishop of Chapel of Freedom International, Lokoja, Bishop John Ibenu while delivery his sermon during the service.
Bishop Ibenu, who represented Archbishop Sam Amaga of Foundation Faith Church, led other officiating ministers in the funeral service and urged Christians to be prepared for the imminent end.
In his homily titled “The Invitation You Could not Resist,” Mr. Ibenu urged the people to make their ways right with God before the invitation, which could neither be deferred nor resisted.
In his speech titled “The Veil is Lifted”, Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, described life as “reality show from which none gets out alive”.
He said mankind had accepted the fact that everyone must die but lamented the horrible circumstances of the Ocholis’ death.
“My dear people, without doubt, this is one harvest of deaths too many for Kogi State.
“After barely any respite from a similar sorrow in the recent past, Kogi mourns again,” he said in reference to the demise of Abubakar Audu on November 22, 2015.
Mr. Bello recalled that the late Mr. Ocholi cooperated with him when he was elected governor, adding that they shared a common vision of greatness and unity for the state.
Speaking at the funeral service, the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari, described the three deceased family members as “saints called home by the creator”.
He urged Nigerians to imbibe the scriptural injunction that in all circumstances, thanks should be given to God.
Osinbajo said Mr. Ocholi, Blessing and Joshua played their parts in the vineyard of the Lord in diverse manners but all towards the common goal of advancing the kingdom of God.
He stressed the need to be grateful to God for giving them the grace.
He said although some apostles died a tragic and painful death, “still the scripture says precious in the sight of God is the death of a saint because their death is victory for heaven”.
“Three saints went home on the 6th of March,” he said.
The Minister of Labour and Emloyment, senator Chris Ngige appreciated of those who took time to give their last respect to the fallen hero of the Igala people and a change crusader in the state and an emerging nationalist of note.
The Nigeria’s Minister of state for Labour and Employment lost his life along with his wife and son in a fatal auto crash on his way from a preaching engagement on Sunday, March 6 2016.
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