By Festus Ahon
ASABA—PROMINENT Deltans across ethnic divide, yesterday, paid glowing tributes to the first governor of Delta State, Olorogun Felix Ibru, as he was laid in state at the Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba.
The remains of Olorogun Ibru, flown into Asaba at 10 a.m., 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 11:25a.m., 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, who died on March 12, 2016 at the age of 80, 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.
“His life reminds us that wealth and service are not antithetical to each other, that our true wealth lies in our willingness to give of ourselves, our time and resources in pursuit of the common good,” saying that in recognition of his demise, flags were being flown at half mast at all public buildings and institutions in the state “from August 2, 2016 until the funeral rites are concluded.
According to him, Olorogun Ibru’s political dexterity and leadership acumen as a governor that shone the brightest, enabled him to douse the tension and mutual distrust which threatened the take off of the new state.
Uduaghan wants Ibru honoured
Former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, in his tribute, appealed to the Urhobos to honour the late Olorogun Ibru, whom he said served his people creditably.
Saying that Ibru could be honoured even after the burial when the Urhobo Progress Union, UPU, has put its house in order, Uduaghan said the late Olorogun Ibru was very passionate about the unity of the state.
He accommodated all—Ibori
Former Governor James Ibori in his tribute , said all of them who succeeded Ibru in office benefited from his vastness and the great depth of his mind, adding that, “he left us not only a rich example to follow but also a road map towards the development of our beloved state.”
Ibori, whose tribute was read by his daughter, Erhiatake, said the late Olorogun Ibru, as president General of Urhobo Progress Union, tried to accommodate all despite their views.
Ibru served Nigeria with pride —Saraki
President of the Senate, Senator Olusola Saraki, in his tribute commiserated with the Ibru family on the death of their son.
Saraki, whose tribute was read by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, said the late Olorogun Ibru served “the country with pride as a quintessential legislator, a bridge builder and a great force for national development, unity and peace.