Urhobo Historical Society
Reverend David Edjere & Urhobo Historical Society Praise Alex Ibru’s Legacy
Compiled by Onajomo Orere, Aliyu Slilat Tolulope & Chido Okafor
ALTHOUGH the remains of the Publisher of The Guardian and founder of the Trinity Foundation, Dr. Alex Uruemu Ibru, have been laid to mother earth, his immediate family, the clergy, and loved ones, yesterday maintained that “he lives on.”
At an outing and special thanksgiving service held for him, the clergy said the only way to make this belief relevant and enduring is to ensure that his legacies were not allowed to die.
As Ibru’s landmark achievements in business and service to humanity were recalled at the event held at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Agbarha-Otor in Ughelli North Local Council, Delta State, Venerable David Edjere charged his children not to allow Ibru’s dream to die with his exit.
On Saturday in his Agbarha-Otor home, multitude trooped to the graveside to pay him their respect.
Edjere in his exaltation at the service, said: “Alexander Ibru was a man who loved God and placed Him first in all his dealings, including the way he conducted business and related with people. Ibru lived a fulfilled life.”
Edjere, therefore, urged the family, especially the widow, Maiden, and his children, “to ensure that the legacy and vision, which Alex established, are kept alive.” He said the Lord, which saw him (Alex) through in life, would also help them.
“Our prayer from what we saw of his life is that he has gone to one of the rooms which Jesus prepared in His father’s house; and is resting in the bosom of God.”
The service, which began at about 10.06 a.m., was attended by the children of the deceased, their mother, Maiden, the eldest son of Olorogun Michael Ibru, Olorogun Oskar, in-laws of the late publisher, and other well-wishers.
The cleric, who noted that Alex Ibru through his death had left a big shoe for his children to step into, challenged them not only to match his feat but to outdo their late father both in the service of God and his humanitarian activities.
To the children, Edjere said: “Our young brothers and sisters who are children of Alexander, let not your heart be troubled; your father lived a worthy life. My concern now is for you. As his children, can you live the kind of life he lived? Can you ever match the feat of your father? He may have set very high standards but you can do more than he did if you allow God to direct you the way Alex did.
“The trouble has gone for Alex. The challenge now is before you because he has gone home to rest. Alex left a big shoe, which of you can fit into that shoe? It is a challenge you cannot ignore,” Edjere said.
The clergyman prayed the Lord to give the family “all that is needed to accomplish their father’s vision.”
Before the end of the service, a brief worship and felicitation was observed where members of the family who sat on the front row in the Church, danced and shook hands with one another.
Edjere ended the service by praying for long life and against sudden death in the entire Ibru family and for safe return to their respective locations, declaring that, “God’s presence and glory will envelope you. No more weeping for the Lord has blessed you.”
Besides, the Urhobo Historical Society (UHS) has commiserated with Olorogun Felix Ibru on the passing on of Alex Ibru who was his youngest brother.
In a message from the United States (U.S.)-based chairman of the Society, Professor Peter Ekeh, at the weekend, the UHS said that Alex Ibru was “a star among those who contributed to building up a tradition of meaningful journalism on the African continent and in Nigeria.”
It said further that the Society believed that Alex Ibru who was buried on Saturday in his home-town of Agbarha-Otor in Ughelli North Local Council, Delta State, left a legacy that “deserves to be preserved. UHS hopes to help in the chronicling of Alex’s contributions to Nigeria’s culture and values of disciplined journalism.
“We are aware that because of his national fame, Alex Ibru’s special contributions to Urhoboland may be minimised. UHS wishes to draw attention to his patriotic disposition towards his people and his native Urhoboland. In this regard, we would like to highlight two major achievements of the late Alex Ibru,” it said.
The group added that “Prof. Bright Ekuerhare of Delta State University at Abraka has assured us that Alex Ibru was the man who suggested the idea in the 1990s of an Urhobo think-tank that would study and analyse Urhobo political and social problems in a thoughtful manner. It was on those grounds that the late Andy Akporugo and Professor Ekuerhare established Urhobo Study Group, which did so much for the Urhobo people. Alex Ibru did his best to fund and sponsor the valuable work of Urhobo Study Group.”
The Society also drew attention to Alex Ibru’s siting of the Ibru Centre on the land of his ancestors at Agbarha-Otor.
“It provides a resort for reflection and contemplation and for sober gatherings. We recall with great satisfaction that a Thanksgiving Service of UHS was hosted by Mr. Goodie Ibru, Alex’s immediate elder brother, at the Ibru Centre in November 2004.”
The UHS said in the same religious vein in which Alex Ibru founded and built the Ibru Centre, it learnt that he made substantial contributions to other religious vocations in Urhoboland. “It is fitting that the Ibru Centre is now Alex Ibru’s final resting place.” The group saluted Alex Ibru for his quiet support for the Urhobo people.
The Society condoled with Olorogun Felix Ibru: “We are aware that the occasion of Alex’s death must have created a very difficult time for you. Your loss of another younger brother, Bernard Ibru, was not long ago. As the youngest of the Ibru siblings, Urhobo traditions would have wished that Alex survived his elders. But God, in Whom Alex had supreme trust, knows what is best. On our part, we believe that you will be comforted that Alex has left behind some wonderful children. We pray that they will continue their father’s excellent work on earth and that they will strengthen the Ibru legacy of service to Nigeria and to their native Urhoboland.”
The Society saluted Senator Ibru and his family for the good image and services that they have given the Urhobo.
Also, Dr. Simon P. Mensah, Chairman of Ghana’s ruling party, NDC (Nigeria branch) and patron of the National Association of Ghanaian Communities in Nigeria (NAGHACON), said in his tributes: “The legend, Alexander, The Great fought wars to achieve greatness; Alex Ibru used creativity to achieve greatness by establishing a medium through which all opinions could find ebullient expression. He added:
“Indeed, in The Guardian, you find the best culture of journalism ‘Nurtured by Truth.’ To his God, he established Ibru Centre to honour his Creator.
“One may be tempted to say it’s too early or too soon. Yes, it is. But the creator knows better.
“May the good Lord welcome you into his bosom. To his family: May his greatness linger on.”