NIGERIANS, yesterday, mourned the death of the Chairman and Publisher of The Guardian newspaper, Alexander Uruemu Ibru. Chief Ibru who died at about 1.30pm yesterday, while in the course of an illness, was aged 66.
Born on March 1, 1945, he was the youngest of the Ibru brothers who hailed from Agbhara-Otor, in today’s Delta State and whose entrepreneurship made the name almost synonymous with business in Nigeria.
President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, said the late Mr. Ibru contributed immensely in shaping Nigeria’s media industry, setting the standard for the industry with the publication of high quality newspapers. He said in a statement by his media aide, Dr. Reuben Abati: “This man, whose life recorded a pattern of good works, has definitely gone too soon. Many will remember him for founding The Guardian Newspapers which set the tone for independent and balanced journalism in Nigeria. Those who knew him closely will remember him for his life’s work of quiet philanthropy.”
Oshiomhole mourns Ibru, salutes his contributions
Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, also commiserated with the Ibru family over the death of Mr Alex Ibru. In a press statement in Benin City, Oshiomhole said the country has lost one of the pillars of modern journalism in Nigeria. He said: “After the epic contribution of the media to the anti-colonial and post-colonial struggle for the building of Nigeria, The Guardian, founded in 1983 by Mr Alex Ibru could be said to have defined the agenda of the democratic struggles particularly from the early 80s.”
Noting the tremendous impact of not only the intellectual journalism genre foisted by The Guardian, but also the development of different sections and the elevation and glamourisation of editorial discourse by the newspaper, Oshiomhole said that Ibru has left a void too big to be filled.
Ex- gov Oni mourns: Former Governor of Ekiti State, Chief Segun Oni, commiserated with the family of late Alex Ibru, management and staff of The Guardian newspapers and the members of the pen profession in Nigeria, describing his death as a great loss to Nigeria in general and the media profession in particular. Oni, who reacted to Ibru’s death through his Media Aide, Mr. Lere Olayinka, said: “Alex Ibru’s contributions to the media profession in Nigeria are monumental and he will surely be missed by all. I received with shock the news of the death of Alex Ibru, one of the members of the great Ibru family and I wish to implore the family and Nigerians to take solace in the fact that he (Alex) lived an exemplary and fulfilled life worthy of emulation by all.
A strong believer in his philosophy — Osoba
In his tribute, former governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba said: “I am too destabilized emotionally now. Even though I saw it coming, his death has hit me too hard. He was quiet, he had strong beliefs and he held on to his philosophy and beliefs. He was an easy going person.”
A great loss to Nigeria — E.K Clark: Also, former Federal Information Commissioner, Chief Edwin Clark, said it was a great loss to Nigeria. The Ijaw leader said: “He was my younger brother, we were very close. It is a great loss to the family to which I belong. My brothers, Ambassador Clark and J.P Clark, were there when he died; it is a great loss to the family, to the people of Delta State and a great loss to Nigeria. He was a very enterprising young man, a philanthropist, very religious. He was very liberal.
“He allowed his own newspaper, The Guardian, to follow his own course without dictating to it. He was a great man, who was greater than his age; he was a Nigerian to the core. If you remember, he was minister for Internal Affairs during the military regime of General Sani Abacha and left when he decided to go. He did not stay long in the cabinet because he did not like the politics and we saw what happened to him later, he was shot, and they nearly killed him. The case is still in court, yet, he died in the process. He was virtuous, a man of many parts and he was the last of the Ibru tribe. He was the youngest of the Ibru tribe, age wise.”
Editors mourn Alex Ibru
The Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, in a reaction said it received with a heavy heart the news of the passage of Mr. Alex Ibru, Publisher of The Guardian newspapers, yesterday in Lagos, after some illness. In a statement signed by its President, Mr Gbenga Adefaye, the NGE said: “Mr. Ibru, a scion of the foremost Ibru family of Agbara-Otor in Delta State was most remarkable for business success and wealth which came to him from his conquering entrepreneurial spirit at a young age. But most people regard him for publishing The Guardian, a most respected newspaper of record that has earned journalism and journalists great esteem.
“Publishing truth nurtured by conscience, Mr. Alex Ibru’s paper has been a major employer of journalists and editors, shaping national discourse, moulding opinions and directing critical thoughts about making our nation great. The Guardian is his lasting legacy; the indelible epitaph. As an individual, he gave of himself selflessly in the service of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a Minister of Internal Affairs. He was a notable philanthropist, promoter of peace and religious tolerance. The NGE commiserates with the Ibru family, the management and staff of The Guardian newspapers even as they continue to hold the torch after the passage of this great Nigerian. May his soul rest in perfect peace.”
Ebenezer Babatope: One of the people that served with Chief Alex Ibru in Abacha’s cabinet, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, told Vanguard: “I was saddened to learn a great Nigerian has passed on. He was a highly principled man and humble person to the end of his life. We were both Cabinet Ministers in the late General Sani Abacha’s Provisional Ruling Council and Alex never received any estacode for all the travels he made on behalf of Nigeria. He served Nigeria with all the resources that God gave to him” I pray to God to give the family the fortitude to bear the loss.
Senator Pius Ewherido: “I am just very shocked that he could die at this time. It is a painful loss to our people the Urhobo nation and to Nigeria as a whole, and indeed to the Christian community especially in regard to his contribution to the faith. He would also be remembered for his role as an industrialist. God knows best.”
Nduka Irabor: “He was a very, very self-effacing man. Publisher, as I became wont to calling him, was driven by a passion to serve mankind and succeed in whatever undertaking might be. He recognized potentials and talents and never failed to nurture or promote such. Alex Ibru’s style was unique and inspiring.”
Dr. Fredrick Fasheun—Founder, OPC
“It is very unfortunate coming at a time Nigeria needs business acumen. He was a humble honest and principled business gentleman. Nigeria will miss him; I wish the family God’s support at this trying time.”
Clem Nwankwo: “Alex Ibru was principled and courageous. At a time it was dangerous to support the radical human rights movement, he paid for the setting up of CLO’s first office in Surelere when I was Executive Director in 1988. May his soul rest in peace. My condolence.”
Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan
In his reaction yesterday, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, expressed shock at the death of Mr Alex Ibru, publisher of The Guardian. The Governor said the death was not only shocking but painful given his pedigree and capacity especially in the private sector. He said: “Alex Ibru was a man of many parts who excelled wherever he found himself leaving behind trails of credibility and integrity. I am shocked and pained by this death. A man of humility, credibility and high integrity has passed on.”
Governor Uduaghan noted that late Ibru was a pride to the Urhobo and Delta State, who promoted peace and unity of Nigeria particularly with the Ibru Centre, an international ecumenical centre founded by him to enhance inter and intra religious affairs.
He added that Ibru’s The Guardian revolutionized the industry with the injection of the academia into the media thereby compelling the intelligentsias to play part of the critical role of the watchdog of the society.
A Champion for Justice – NPAN: The Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN in its reaction mourned the deceased as a champion of justice who used the platform available to him to pursue equity and justice. The statement issued by NPAN President, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, said: “Chief Alex Ibru reshaped the Nigerian Newspaper landscape with the founding in 1983, of the Guardian Newspapers which had as its mission, the desire to be among the five best English language newspapers in the world.
Emergence of the newspaper
The emergence of the newspaper also came with improved conditions of service for journalists employed in the stable. Nigeria will surely miss this champion of conscience nurtured by truth.”
Sad day – Mr. Frank Aigbogbun, Publisher, BusinessDay: “It is a very sad day. I recall those early days at The Guardian, he motivated and inspired everybody. He was very clear about what he wanted to do and impart in the journalism profession. We will all miss him sadly.”
Leading light of Nigeria business – Governor Babatunde Fashola: I am just hearing the news today in fact it is a very tragic and unfortunate incident, every passage of this type and indeed of any type is a course for grieve and one is saddened by the unpleasant news of his transition. Again he was one of the leading light of Nigeria economic and political landscape. It is a sad loss; one wishes the family sympathies and condolences at this time.
We have lost a stateman – Governor Ibikunle Amosun: Nigeria has lost one of its statesmen. On behalf of the people of Ogun State I wish to commiserate with the family of the deceased.
He showed life is about principles – ACN: He was someone who shows that life is about principles and not because of privilege of position. He was an icon, he was not a noisy icon or politician but he did more for this country in terms of believing in principles than most politicians have done.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Dr Festus Adedayo recalled Ibru’s patriotism, sterling devotion to Nigeria’s togetherness and what he called Ibru’s stellar forthrightness. He condoled with Ibru’s media empire, The Guardian, his family and the Delta state government on the departure of the foremost patriot, praying that God grants the repose of his soul.
We will miss him— Tony Momoh: “This was a man who was in the vanguard of private ownership and management of newspapers who has just left us. You know The Guardian was referred to as the flagship. Right there in the middle, there were people like Alex Ibru, Dele Cole, Stanley Macebuh and a few others, but Alex Ibru was able to man the management and therefore preside over the profitability of The Guardian.
“We thought he was well enough after all the harassment in politicking. He had to move out due to injuries which he sustained and he returned; was fine and came back even to refine The Guardian. For him to leave now, we can only wish him journey mercies to the height. He brought a spiritual dimension to The Guardian, which people may not have noticed, giving all religious beliefs and spiritual groups, a yearning on the pages of The Guardian. We will miss him.”
Senator Olurunnimbe Mamora
I express my condolence to the Ibru dynasty and to the immediate family and pray that the good Lord will give them the fortitude to bear the loss.
The departure has left a yawning gap in commerce and it will be such that it will be difficult to fill.