THE death was, on Sunday afternoon, announced of Chief Alexander Ibru, Chairman and Publisher of The Guardian newspapers. He died at the age of 66, according to a statement by the newspaper on Sunday in Lagos.
“He died at about 2.30 p.m today, November 20, while in the course of an illness. He was aged 66,” the statement said on Sunday afternoon.
Born on March 1, 1945, the late Ibru was a Nigerian businessman who was Minister of Internal Affairs between 1993 and 1995 during the military regime of the late General Sani Abacha.
During his time as minister, he was a member of the country’s highest ruling body, the Provisional Ruling Council (PRC).
He was the younger brother of Chief Michael Ibru, who founded the Ibru Organisation and hailed from Agbhara-Otor, Delta State.
Alex Ibru attended the Yaba Methodist Primary School from 1951 to 1957, before heading to Ibadan Grammar School where he was between 1958 and 1960.
He also attended Igbobi College, Lagos from 1960 to 1963, and the University of Trent (formerly Trent Polytechnic) from 1967 to 1970 where he studied Business Economics.
Following a brief work experience, he ventured out on his own to become one of the most successful businessmen in Nigeria.
He later founded The Guardian in 1983, helping it to become one of Nigeria’s outstanding newspapers, and he was also involved in civil society activities.
Ibru was a Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary Club International, and the Chairman of Trinity Foundation, a philanthropic body which gives support to the poor and the needy.
He was also the founder of the Ibru Centre, which promoted ecumenism and religious harmony.
The family is yet to announce burial arrangements.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has received with shock, the news of the passing of Mr Ibru.
A presidency statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, in Abuja on Sunday said Ibru contributed immensely in shaping Nigeria’s media industry, setting the standard for the industry with the publication of high quality newspapers.
According to the statement, “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.”
Jonathan recalled the late Ibru’s service to the country as Minister of Internal Affairs, noting that he was devoted to the promotion of reconciliation and national stability in the wake of the post-June 12, 1993 electoral crisis.
While expressing his condolences to the family, Jonathan prayed that God would grant them comfort and consolation.
The Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiom-hole, also commiserated with the Ibru family over the death of Mr Alex Ibru.
Drawing inference from the brief sojourn of the deceased as Internal Affairs minister under the military dictatorship of General Sani Abacha, Oshiomhole said Ibru’s commitment to the democratic ideals made it possible for him not to mortgage the interest of the newspaper during this period.
In the same development, the Ondo State governor, Dr Olusegun Mimi-ko, condoled with the Ibru family and members of staff of The Guardian over the death of Chief Ibru.
In statement issued in Akure, on Sunday, Mimiko described the late business mogul as an exemplary leader and father, whose contribution to the growth of journalism and the nation’s economy could not be over-emphasised.
Governor Abiola Aji-mobi of Oyo State also mourned the passing of the publisher of The Guardian, stating that in his passage, the community of patriots was fast thinning out.
In a release issued by his Special Adviser on Media, Dr Festus Adedayo, Aji-mobi recalled Ibru’s patriotism, his sterling devotion to Nigeria’s togetherness and what he called Ibru’s stellar forthrightness.
He condoled The Guardian, his family and the Delta State government on the departure of the foremost patriot, while praying God to grant the deceased the repose of his soul.
Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State also expressed shock at the death of Chief Ibru.
Reacting to the news, Uduaghan said the death was not only shocking but painful, adding that “I am shocked and pained by this death. A man of humility, credibility and high integrity has passed on.”
Also, Lagos State governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, described the death of Chief Alex Ibru as tragic.
Fashola, at the presidential lounge of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, said he was short of what to say, even as he condoled with the family of the deceased.
Speaking in the same vein, Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State said Nigeria has lost one of its statesmen.
“Nigeria has lost one of its statesmen, one of those that really gave his best for the country. On behalf of the people of Ogun State, I want to commiserate with the Ibrus,” he said.
A former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagun-soye Oyinlola, sent a message of condolence to the Ibru family over the demise of Ibru.
Prince Oyinlola, in the statement, said it was shocking to learn of the demise of the publisher of The Guardian at a time when the country needed his wise counsel as a nationalist.
Also reacting, Chief Ebe-nezer Babatope said “I am sad to learn that a great Nigerian has passed on. Alex served Nigeria with all the talents and resources God had given him. He was principled and humble to the very end of his life.
“As a minister, he never received any estacode allowance for all the trips he made on behalf of the country. May God console his wife, Maiden and large Ibru family.”