UPU, Awolowo Foundation mourn
• Ochulor, Emerhor, Ikimi, Igbinedion, others pay tribute
As part of measures to accord due respect and honour to its former President-General, Olorogun Felix Ibru who died at the weekend, the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) the umbrella socio-cultural body of the Urhobos, has declared a three-day of mourning period for the people.
Besides, UPU will honor the late Senator with a special valedictory session as a holder of the Urhobo Patriot title, the highest title ever bestowed on any Urhobo son by the UPU.
According to a statement issued yesterday by the President General Chief Joe Omene (JP), and Secretary Olorogun Albert Akpomudje (SAN), the UPU said Ibru would be honoured in recognition of the uncommon good qualities that made the Urhobo Progress Union to confer on him the highest honor of Urhobo Patriot at the last Urhobo Day Celebration held in December, 2015.
His election as the first Elective Governor of Delta State brought Unity of the Urhobo people which is fast eluding us as at date.
As a Governor, he did the Urhobo Nation proud as he was never found wanting in anyway or manner all through the years he served the State as Governor particularly when it comes to the issue of his integrity in managing the funds of t he state.
Under his presidency, he brought UPU to enviable height to the admiration of other ethnic groups. It is on record that he organized in one of the Urhobo Day/Congress of t he Union as summit where our neighbouring tribes participated actively in forging peaceful co-existence between each other.
A statement issued by the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of UPU (Interim Committee), Mr. Josiah Ntekume, on behalf of the President-General (Interim Committee), Chief Gabriel Ofotokun indicated that it was with immediate effect.
‘‘The president-general of the UPU’s interim committee has declared three-day mourning in honour of the departed Olorogun Felix Ibru throughout the Urhobo nation. He has also directed that UPU’s flag must fly at half mast both at home and in the diaspora,” he said.
Similarly, the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, in a letter to the late Senator’s family title ‘‘Tribute To A Committed Patriot and Gentleman said that Olorogun Felix Ibru enjoyed a special, decades-long relationship with the Awolowo family.
According to the foundation letter signed by its Executive Director, Dr. Olatokunbo Awolowo Dosumu, ‘‘he was a son, in every sense of it, to both Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Yeye Oodua H.I.D. Awolowo during their lifetime.”
‘‘For almost 29 years after the demise of Papa Awolowo, he not only retained the close bond of sonship with Mama, he also remained loyal to the entire family and shared, deeply, in all of our varying situations and circumstances.
‘‘His commitment to the sustenance of Papa’s legacies was most evident, in recent years, in his ardent support for the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, even long before he was appointed, in 2012, member of the Selection Committee of the Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership.”
In his tribute, High Chief Tom Ikimi whose formative years as practicing architect was nurtured in the firm of Planning Partnership eventually Ibru Vaughan Richards & Partners, said the death was a personal loss.
‘‘He was to me a model, elder colleague and boss, a friend, politician and elder stateman.
‘‘Senator Olorogun Felix Ibru is the quintessential distinguished Nigerian of so many parts who is extremely comfortable in operating at all levels of our varied and complicated society. He dines comfortably with Kings and is known to enjoy his “mama put” lunch from the wayside ‘buka’,”
Former Military Administrator of Delta State, Air Commodore Luke Ochulor (rtd) yesterday advised Nigerians to emulate the humility of the late former Governor saying that the deceased was very humble even though he hailed from a wealthy and enlightened background.
Ochulor handed over the mantle of leadership to Ibru said: “I don’t think he was a do-or-die politician; like those we have today in the country, who wanted to get into office by all means. And this is the quality I would like politicians to copy from Olorogun Felix” Recalling the good old days he shared with former governor of Delta State, Senator Felix Ibru at Igbobi College Yaba, retired Vice Admiral, Akin Aduwo wrote in a condolence: “To my dear friend and senior Igbobian (Igbobi College), we met in Townsend House dormitory at Igbobi College, Yaba in January 1952 with late Segun Awolowo who was my classmate while you were our senior by one year. We all became instantly brotherly friends- as you treated us well
“My last presence with you was on 9th June 2013 at my 75th birthday where you handed me a cheque of N100, 000, a birthday gift. Now you have left our sinful world. Goodbye.”
Former Military Administrator of the Western Region, Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo described the former governor as a good friend everybody will miss and a role model the younger generation will also miss.
The Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate in the 2015 election in Delta State, Chief Great Ogboru said late Ibru was a symbol of true unity and egalitarian society in Nigeria, which the present leadership needed to emulate.
Describing him as a leader and non-conformist, Ogboru said it would not be an exaggeration to say Ibru was a true symbol of real unity where everybody lived like one and equality.
Senator representing Lagos East, Gbenga Ashafa said Ibru would always be remembered as an elder statesman with a very magnanimous heart, who put the interest of Lagos and Delta state and indeed Nigeria first amongst many considerations.
According to him, “Olorogun Ibru had the Midas touch and seemed to be able to make whatever he touched in business, politics, governance and philanthropy work excellently well.
Ambassador Dele Cole said Ibru was a pioneer, innovator, humanist and nationalist who was full of compassion.
“You never see him frown. His GRA residence in Ikeja used to be the headquarters to all governors when he was in government.”
Former member of The House of Representatives, Ethiope Delta State, Solomon Edojah with wife, Doris said the former senator was a gift to mankind.
Former governor of Edo state, Lucky Igbinedion yesterday condoled the Ibru family describing the late Ibru as an upright man who had an unflinching faith in the growth and development of Delta State and Nigeria.
He noted that the late Olorogun Felix Ibru would be greatly missed but enjoined all to take consolation in the fact that the late Ibru spent valuable part of his life impacting people positively. Similarly,
Former Special Adviser to late Chief Felix Ibru when he was governor, Chief Paulinus Akpeki described his death as a rude shock to his close political associates.
Akpeki said Ibru was an achiever and a detribalized Nigerian who maintained a close relationship with his associates until his death.
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