Prominent Nigerians including the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Chief James Ibori, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia, on Tuesday bade the first civilian governor of Delta State, Olorogun Felix Ibru, who is to be buried today, farewell amid eulogies.
At a lying-in-state held at the Government House, Asaba, tagged, ‘Day of a tribute’ organised by the state government in Asaba, the state capital, Governor Okowa announced the naming of the state Secretariat Complex after the late Ibru, who was also a one-time senator.
The late Ibru will be finally lay to rest today (Wednesday) at his Agbarha-Otor country home in Ughelli North Council Area of the state.
A funeral service will be held in his honour at the All Saints Cathedral, Anglican Communion, Ughelli, before his body will be interred at his hometown, Agbarha – Otor.
Ibru, who died on March 12, 2016, was the civilian governor of Delta State between January 1992 and November 1993, when the state was carved out of the old Bendel State in 1991.
He was also a senator between 2003 and 2007, where he represented Delta Central Senatorial District and a former President-General of the foremost Urhobo apex socio-cultural umbrella, the Urhobo Progress Union.
Speaking at the ceremony, Okowa said an ongoing Senate Building at the Delta State University, Abraka, which was started by the administration of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, will also be named after him when completed as a mark of honour for the former governor.
Also, flags are to be flown at half-mast at all public buildings and institutions in the state, commencing from Tuesday (yesterday) until the completion of the funeral rites.
Okowa said, “The people that currently make up Delta North – Ika, Oshimili, Aniocha and Ndokwa – had agitated for their own state to be called Anioma. But in a deft move of political compromise and appeasement, the Babangida administration did not create Anioma State but included the people of Anioma in the new Delta State and made Asaba, the capital.
Okowa added, “It was in this tense political atmosphere that Ibru assumed leadership of the state. It fell on him to douse the tension and mutual distrust that threatened the successful take-off of the new state.
“It was his noble disposition, steely resolved and unrivalled commitment to fuse the different ethnic groups into a unified and coherent entity that undoubtedly laid the foundation for the growth and development of Delta State.
The Senate President whose tribute was read by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, on his part, described his former colleague as a true Nigerian whom action and words exemplified his love for the country.
While consoling the bereaved family, Saraki added that late Ibru lived a fulfilled life.
Also, immediate past governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan said late Ibru was a bridge builder and a good political lobbyist.