Politics Buhari’s Minister of State for Labour James Ocholi is dead.
Reports claim he died after his vehicle crashed at high speed along the Kaduna-Abuja expressway following a puncured tyre.
According to This Day, Ocholi and his son were said to have died on the spot when one of the rear tyre of the Lexus SUV he was travelling in burst, causing the vehicle to summersault several times after the security escort car had rammed into them.
His wife who was seriously injured in the crash was rushed Doka Government Hospital, Kaduna, where she later died.
Other aides were also injured in the crash.
The Kaduna State sector commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Mr. Francis Udoma told THISDAY in a phone interview that the accident occurred 57 kilometres away from Kaduna.
According to him, “The rear tyre burst and the vehicle summersaulted. The minister and his son died on the spot, the wife died in the government hospital in Doka, Kaduna.
“The driver, the chief detail, the orderly and the PA (personal assistant) were injured,” Udoma said.
It could not however be established why the minister had travelled to Kaduna, but source said he was departing the state for Abuja.
Reacting to demise of the minister and members of his family, Buhari, in a statement by his media aide, Mr. Garba Shehu described Ocholi’s death as untimely, regretting that Nigeria had lost a key component of the change agenda.
“Mr. Ocholi was an accomplished and patriotic Nigerian, who was keen to accept the call to service at a time his country needed him,” Buhari said, adding that in the few months he had been in office, the late minister of state had already begun to distinguish himself through his commitment and dedication to his portfolio.
The late Ocholi was an old associate of Buhari. Buhari also condoled with the government and people of Kogi State, whom said had lost a distinguished and irreplaceable son.
He prayed that God would comfort them and grant them the grace to bear the loss.
“The entire country mourns the loss of this great man, who has sadly left us when we need him most,” he said.
Buhari has also sent the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. David Babachir to formally convey the unfortunate news to members of the deceased family as well as parishioners in his place of worship.
Also, the Kaduna State government expressed deep shock over the incident. A statement by the spokesman to the governor, Mr. Samuel Aruwan said the incident was devastating.
“The state government extends its heartfelt condolences to President Mohammadu Buhari and the Ocholi family.
“Our condolences go to members of the Federal Executive Council and the entire nation, the minister died at a critical time when his contributions in the ongoing national rebirth and realisation of the change mantra were needed.
“May the almighty God grant their souls eternal rest,” the statement said.
In its statement, the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) including President Muhammadu Buhari, who were thrown into mourning over the deaths that it received the news of the death of Ocholi, his wife and son with great shock and sadness.
The APC National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, in a condolence message, described the deaths as a monumental loss.
Buni prayed for the recovery of other occupants of the ghastly accident including the late minister’s driver who reportedly sustained serious injuries.