President of the 6th and 7th Senate, David Mark, former governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, Senate Minority Leader, Abba Moro and other prominent Nigerians have paid glowing tributes to the late Elder Pius Ogaba Oche.
Elder Oche is the father of elected chairman of Ado LGA of Benue State, Rt Hon James Oche.
In their separate tributes to the late octogenarian, they described Pa Oche as an exceptional individual who made profound impact on Idoma community in his over eight decades on earth.
Recall that Pa Oche died on December 2, 2023 and was laid to rest on February 9, 2024, in his country home, Apa-Agila in Ado LGA of Benue.
In their condolence letters addressed to his son, Rt Hon James Oche and the entire members of the family, they urged them to take solace in the fact that the deceased lived a life worthy of emulation.
They prayed God to give Rt Hon James Oche and his siblings the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
On his part, Senator Mark said, “Your father was an exceptional individual, who made a profound impact on our communities and his loss is truly felt by all.
“The avalanche of encomiums on Papa since his transition to the great beyond bear eloquent testimony that he was a strong pillar to the family and the state at large.
“Though he’s no longer physically present with us, his spirit and memories will forever be etched in our hearts during this time of grieving, please know that your are not alone.”
In his condolence letter, Senate Minority Leader and the Senator Representing Benue South, Abba Moro, lauded the deceased for serving the state dedicatedly for 35 years, cumulating in his admirable role as a director in Benue State Civil Service.
He said, “We join you to deeply mourn the departure of Baba, recognizing his dedicated service of 35 years in the state civil service, cumulating in his admirable role as a director.
“The impact of his contribution echoes throughout Benue State, living an indelible mark.
“Having fostered a longstanding relationship with your family, particularly with you, Rt Hon James Oche, I acknowledge the profound void created by his loss.
“May the memories of your father’s legacy serve as a source of strength during this difficult time.”
On his part, immediate past governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom letter, extolled the late Oche for his service to the state and the nation at large.
“The loss of your father has undeniably created a void within the family that may be difficult to fill, as no words can fully alleviate the depth of your grief and loss.
“I however encourage you to take solace in the fact he lived a life worthy of emulation and utilize the opportunity he had to contribute his quota to the development of the society. The late elder Oche has produced responsible children like you who are making using contributions to the development of our dear state and country at large.”
Philip Agbese, the lawmaker representing Ado, Okpokwu and Ogbadibo in the Green Chamber described Pa Oche as a dedicated family man with an impeccable work ethics and a calm presence.
“The death of our father has brought home to me that when we leave this world, our material goods, roles, titles and profits no longer matter. All that counts is that we loved fully and were loved in return,” he said.
In their separate condolence letters, elder statesman and former Permamnet Secretary Ministry of Defence, Chief Mike Onoja, Peter Adejor of Peter Adejoh Foundation, Major General Ochoga, former First Lady of Benue State, Eunice Ortom, former chairman of Otukpo LGA, Chief George Alli, Sir Ochapa Ogenyi, Chief Edwin Ochai, Chief Dennis Ekpe Ogbu, Aida Nath Ogwuche, Benue State PDP, David Bigila and several others, they all described Pa Oche as a mentor, community leader and a peacemaker.
“His service to the public was never a mere duty, it was a fervent dedication to the betterment of his people and nation.
“He tackle may community challenges with unwavering resolve, ingenuity and the uncommon empathy of a true leader.
“He was the laughter that warmed cold night, the shoulder to lean on in times of hardship, the wise counsel whispered with a gentle,” one of the letter read.
Pa Pius Ogaba Oche was born on 2nd October 1940 to the family of Mr Ogaba Oche of Ikpilogwu Clan and Mrs Ofu Ogenyi of Ainidu Clan both of Agila, Ado LGA Benue State.
He attended St Peter’s Primary School Agila in 1945 and St Paul’s Primary School Utonkon, where he completed his primary education in 1952.
He attended to Kaduna Technical Colleged and St Peter’s Teacher College Kaduna where he obtained he Grade II Teacher Certificate in 1959.
He taught at St James Primary School Lafia in the Old Benue-Plateau where he was later appointed as the headmaster.
He bagged his BSC in Political Science from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in 1980 where he graduated with distinction.
He also has his masters of sciences in political science from Benue State University and also another masters degree in religious studies from same school.
He was also the headmaster of Army Children School Otukpo in 1976. He carried out his mandatory national youth service at Government Secondary School Bauchi in 1981 after which he joined the Benue State Civil Service where he headed many positions and eventually rose to become the director of finance and administration in the ministry of agriculture.
He was among those who pioneered the agitation for the creation of Ado LGA in the 1980s.
Knonw as Otse O’ofu, the late Pa Oche was a devoted Anglican and a respected elder in the church.
He went the way of all mortals on December 2, 2023 at the age of 83.