The Delta state government on Tuesday, August 2, organised a valedictory session in honour of late Senator Olorogun Felix Ibru. Prominent Deltans across ethnic divide paid glowing tributes to the first governor of Delta state as he was laid in state at the Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba.
The remains of Olorogun Ibru which was flown into Asaba at 10 am, were brought into Government House via Asaba/Benin expressway, Ezenei Avenue and Nnebisi Road in a black Mercedes hearse.
The corpse which arrived Government House at 11:25am was welcomed with a guard honour mounted by men of the Nigeria Police Force, clad in red and black uniforms, was taken into the Unity Hall in a brown casket draped in national colours. On hand to receive the remains of the late Olorogun Ibru were the state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, Senators James Manager, Peter Nwaoboshi, Speaker of the Delta state House of Assembly, Chief Monday Igbuya, former minister of Niger Delta affairs, Dr Steve Oru and a host of others.
Governor Okowa, in his tribute, said the State Secretariat would be named after Olorogun Felix Ibru, adding that in consultation with Delta state university, Abraka authorities, the university’s senate building would also be named after Ibru as a way of immortalising him.
Noting that they were not mourning but celebrating the late Ibru whom he described as a father of all, Okowa said “Ibru would be remembered as a patriot, a man of courage and an extra-ordinary leader who always stood on the side of the people”.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa said flags will be flown at half mast in all public buildings and institutions in honour of the late governor. According to Okowa, Ibru was true to his professional calling as a pioneer architect of modern Delta. In the same vein, Ex-Gov Emmanuel Uduaghan, former deputy governors and other dignitaries described Ibru as a father, visionary leader, peace and bridge builder. Meanwhile, Senate President Bukola Saraki, represented by Sen Peter Nwaoboshi (Delta North), described Ibru as a quintessential legislator and bridge builder.
The Chairman, Burial Committee, Ovie Agas, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), said Ibru built the democratic culture in the state. “He developed the Asaba Development Master Plan, upgraded the Delta State University, Abraka from a Faculty of Education in the defunct Bendel state university. He also established the School of Midwifery, Ughelli among other achievements,” he said.
Rt Rev Justus Mogekwu, Bishop, Asaba Diocese of Anglican Communion, charged the people to reflect on their lives and give selfless service to humanity. He urged politicians to practice politics without bitterness, adding that they will leave all they had acquired behind at death. “Ibru has left his foot mark on the sand of time and I pray that God will count him worthy and grant his soul eternal rest. In Christianity, we talk about a fulfilled life, we should reflect on the opportunities we have to love, do good and deliver service to humanity,” he said.