By Austin Igbebe
The first civilian governor of Delta State, Felix Ibru, is dead.
He died after a brief illness at the age of 80 on Saturday.
He was born into the family of Peter Ibru and Janet Ibru on December 7, 1935 at Agbarha-Otor, a rural community in Ughelli North Local Government Area of the state.
He was one of the seven children of the famous Ibru family, renowned for business ventures in the country.
Mr. Ibru was educated at Yaba Methodist School. After his secondary school education at Igbobi College, he proceeded to the Nottingham School of Architecture in England where he qualified as an architect in 1962.
He served as governor of Delta State between 1992 and 1993 and later as senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District between 2003 and 2007. He was President-General of the Urhobo Progress Union.
In a condolence message, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta described Mr. Ibru as a patriot and political icon who led the state in its embryonic stage.
In a statement by his media aide, Charles Aniagwu, the governor said Mr. Ibru would be missed by those whose lives he touched in many ways in his very fulfilled and achievements-laden life.
Mr. Okowa said the late governor was a renowned politician, businessman and a highly revered octogenarian, adding that he was among the very special people who made very significant and indelible contributions to their countries and humanity.
“On behalf of the government and people of Delta State, I mourn the exit of a legend, political titan and first civilian governor of Delta State, Olorogun Senator Felix Ovuodoroye Ibru,” the statement said.
“Ibru’s life-long dedication and indefatigable commitment to serving the people of Delta State as well as the Urhobos worldwide, where he served them meritoriously as Senator and as President of the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), will be sorely missed.
The Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Monday Igbuya, described Mr. Ibru’s death as painful and shocking.
He said “Chief Felix Ibru as a governor, senator, international businessman, philanthropist and politician gained the respect, trust and love of the entire country and he will be greatly missed by all.”
Mr. Igbuya prayed Almighty God to grant the soul of the late politician eternal rest and grant members of the family the strength to bear the loss.
In its tribute, the Urhobo Progress Union expressed sadness over the death of its one-time leader.
It said the news of the death came to the Urhobo people as a shock, adding “the Urhobo nation has lost a rare gem which cannot be replaced.”