From Mohammed Abubakar and Nkechi Onyedika (Abuja)and Debo Oladimeji (Lagos)
EMINENT Nigerians and diplomats have continued to pay tributes to the late Publisher of The Guardian, Mr. Alex Ibru who passed on last Sunday.
In a condolence letter to the Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of The Guardian, Mr. Eluem Emeka Izeze, Education Minister Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i described the former Internal Affairs Minister as a principled and patriotic Nigerian who lived a fulfilled life that was acknowledged for philanthropy and peace making that earned him special recognition.
She prayed to God to give the Ibru family and the family Guardian Newspaper management and staff the courage to bear the loss of ‘Mr. White as he was popularly called by his admirers.”
The United States Consul General in Lagos, Joseph Strafford, who was among those who visited the deceased’s family at their Ikoyi residence yesterday, described Ibru as a champion of human rights and a man of dignity in Nigeria and around the world.
Strafford said Alex was a very successful businessman. “He was a very important figure not only in Nigeria but in the international community generally. The important thing is to continue with the legacy of human dignity, freedom, democracy which he fought for.”
Former governor of Anambra State, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife who paid a condolence visit to the Abuja office of The Guardian yesterday, described the late Ibru as a great man and a philanthropist who contributed immensely to the development of the country.
He said: “If everybody who is somebody has given to Nigeria as much as Alex has given through The Guardian, Nigeria will not be talking of 202020”. The former governor, while commending The Guardian for maintaining integrity and truthfulness in its reportage over the years said “Nigerian people have enjoyed The Guardian. When you want to read newspaper and believe what you have read, it is The Guardian you are going for. When somebody says he read something somewhere and you ask: from where? If he says it is from The Guardian, you know that if it is not the whole truth, it is very close to the truth. I commend the doggedness of your reporters.”
Ezeife called on The Guardian management, the workforce and the readership to work together to keep the memories of the late Alex Ibru alive”
Gbenga Adefaye, President Nigerian Guild of Editors said that Ibru was a great employer of labour. “A great defender of freedom. Nigeria benefitted from his simplicity, honesty and dedication to duties. The media should continue to promote one nation that is tolerant of each other,” he said.
Chairman of Daar Communication Plc, parent company of the Africa Independent Television and Ray power FM radio Chief Raymond Dokpesi, said Nigeria has lost a very rare gem. “Ibru was the father of modern media in Nigeria. He sowed the seed for the independence of Nigerian media as we know it today. He showed courage, perseverance, determination to fight for the good of the majority of the people,” he said.
He added that Ibru stood very firmly with the Nigerian people. “His personal interest were submerged in his efforts to stand for the truth and not to allow The Guardian, that is the flagship of independent newspapers in Nigeria, to be used to strip any fact and information underground,” he added.
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