Tributes continued to pour in today for the late publisher of The Guardian newspaper, Alex Ibru, as more Nigerians reacted to the news of his demise.

•Governor Fashola consoling late Ibru’s wife, Maiden, at the Ikoyi, Lagos residence of the Ibrus

Governors of Ekiti, Lagos and Ogun States, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Babatunde Fashola and Ibikunle Amosun, respectively and the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN in separate statements reacted to the death of the former Minister of Internal Affairs and described it as a loss to the nation.

Governor Fayemi said he received the news of Ibru’s death with shock, saying the development had robbed the country of a patriot, a committed statesman who contributed immensely to nation building and welfare of the masses.

The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, noted that the legacies of hard work, exemplary leadership and efficient and effective management of resources left behind by Ibru would remain indelible. He urged contemporary leaders in both public and private sectors to emulate Ibru’s humility, discipline, dedication, selfless service to mankind, prudence, probity, transparency, accountability and love for God, which the late businessman brought to bear on governance and business during his tenure.

Fayemi lauded the vigour with which the late Ibru pursued the vision that led to the birth of The Guardian in 1983 and how he was able to nurture it to become the flagship of the Nigerian Press.

According to him, the late Ibru kept a good name both in and out of office, adding that this made him to be one of the most respected statesmen in the country.

The governor also credited Ibru for various reforms he introduced while he served as Minister of Internal Affairs from 1993 to 1995. He also lauded him for establishing the Ibru Centre, which focuses on promotion of religious harmony.

“He was a pragmatic leader, an effective and efficient manager of men and resources. He maintained a good name both in government and business. He also displayed a high sense of altruism and concern for the common man in the course of his public and private life.

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“It is sad that Dr. Ibru died at a critical time in the nation’s history when his wise counsel would be needed by many who are willing to tap from his wealth of experience. The late Ibru would be remembered as a highly principled leader and an institution builder,” he stated.

Reacting to Ibru’s demise, Fashola said he was too sad to give appropriate words to describe the loss.

“I just heard the news as I alighted from the plane. It is very tragic news, very unfortunate. Any passage of this type or any type calls for grief. He is one of the greatest industrialists and politician. He will be greatly missed for his contribution to national development. He was one of the leading lights of Nigeria’s economic and political landscape,” the governor said.

“It is a sad loss to the family. Our sympathy goes to the family with deep sympathy and condolences. I am almost short of words that I cannot say anything now. He was somebody that was very close to me personally. I am shocked really, getting out of the plane and hearing the news,” he added.

In his own reaction, Governor Amosun described Ibru’s death as a great loss to Nigeria, pointing out that it is a reminder to all that at the end of it, everyone must be answerable to the Almighty God.

The Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN, said it received the news of Ibru’s death with sadness. According to NPAN, 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.

A statement issued and signed by NPAN President, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, stated that the emergence of the newspaper also came with improved conditions of service for journalists employed in the stable.

“He not only ensured that the newspaper lived up to its motto of ‘Conscience Nurtured by Truth,’ the newspaper under his watch fought against oppression, dictatorship and bad government for a progressive Nigerian state founded on justice.

“He was unarguably one of the most outstanding businessmen in the country who made his mark as part of the famed Ibru brothers whose pre-eminence in the business and economy of Nigeria cannot be understated.

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“Alex Ibru also lent his wealth of experience to Nigeria when he served as Minister of Internal Affairs between 1993 and 1995. Nigeria will surely miss this champion of conscience nurtured by truth,” it said.

Convener, Coalition Against Corrupt Leader, CACOL, Comrade Debo Adeniran said he felt depressed when he heard that Ibru was dead, saying that he was a man who improved the society better than he met it.

According to him, it was unfortunate that he did not see the end of his case against Al-Mustapha and others.

“It is a loss to the nation; it is a loss to the human rights community and it is a loss to the media,” he mourned.

Mr. Yinka Odumakin, National Publicity, Afenifere Renewal Group said it is a big loss to the nation, while describing the deceased as a foremost industrialist.

National President, Women Arise, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin described the death of Ibru as very painful, saying that he used the media to better the lots of the common man.

“We have lost a reliable Nigerian. Nigeria has lost an illustrious and patriotic man. His death should be a wake-up call to journalists. We condole with his family,” she stated.

Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo expressed shock at the demise of Ibru. “He came from the family of entrepreneurs,” adding that Nigerians would remember him for the role he played in changing the nation.

Human rights activist, Bamidele Aturu described the death of Ibru as sad.

“His creativity in bringing The Guardian to the Nigerian market and defining journalism is something he would be remembered for. Those who want the progress of this nation will surely miss him.

“The wound he suffered during the military era was quite painful. My heart goes to his family; it is a big loss to journalism in Nigeria,” he stated.

Secretary, Joint Action Front and former Convener, United Action for Democracy, Comrade Abiodun Aremu said Ibru’s death was a loss to the media world.

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According to Afenifere leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, “Ibru’s death is a sad loss to the media as he made lots of contribution to the journalism profession in Nigeria. I hope he has a worthy successor to keep the newspaper going.”

Former Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa said Ibru’s death was unfortunate and a loss to the nation, the media and the business community in the country.

Publicity Secretary, Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Lagos State, Mr. Joe Igbokwe stated that Ibru was made the Minister of Internal Affairs in 1993 by the late General Sani Abacha with the hope that The Guardian will soft-pedal on the illegitimate regime that needed the press desperately to survive.

“But Ibru could not do just that because The Guardian could not bend its philosophy and principle. For this, Mr. Ibru had to pay the price for it. He was shot by Abacha’s goons and killer squad and was thought to be dead. He was battered.

“Even though he did not die, then the scars have remained with him, leaving him devastated. Ibru must have died as a result of that devastating attack. Ibru did not go to serve Abacha because he was looking for something to eat but to serve his fatherland.

“It was a patriotic decision that went awry. Ibru would have lived longer but this attack shortened his lifespan. May his soul rest in perfect peace,” Igbokwe said.

A federal lawmaker, Dayo Bush-Alebiosu said it was a pity that Ibru had to die at this time, saying that the vacuum he created in the media world would be had to fill.

Another federal lawmaker, Lanre Odubote described Ibru as an accomplished industrialist who paid the utmost price during the military era when he was shot by the Abacha junta.

— Kazeem Ugbodaga