Saturday, April 23, 2016



Felix Ibru was an enigma and proud son of Urhoboland, from Agbarha- Otor, who gave to his people recognition and identity where ever he went, he also bore the torch and fervour of nationalism after the footsteps of Mukoro Mowoe, the first president of the UPU (Urhobo Progressive Union).
He employed his wisdom and indefatigable energy in the various capacities he found himself, to continue to serve Urhoboland and the rest of Nigeria to his very last days. His was a worthy life of integrity and sevice in Leadership, and passion for the arts.

FELIX OVUODORAYE IBRU made a substantial contribution to what has now emerged as the Ibru dynasty. He was also successful architect, a former governor of the Delta State of Nigeria and a former
Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He was first introduced to the Nigerian public as a promising young architect in the sixties when a dome, he innovated as a post graduate student in Israel was exhibited and later became a model for smaller wooden buildings, which dotted the landscape of Lagos and other places. Among his other architectural innovation is the little but
very noticeable house dabbed as “Uwenvwi  RoWovo
(the house with one leg), that he designed for his father Epete Ibru in Agbarha - Otor. Chief Ibru was  also involved in the design and supervision of more than 40 projects across the country. These included, University of Lagos Sports Centre, Sheraton Lagos Hotel & Towers, Ikeja, the Sports centre, and the Faculty of Science buildings, also in the University of Benin.

Felix’s success as an architect coupled with the reputation of the Ibru family, emboldened him to venture into politics where he rose to become the first governor of the newly created Delta State of Nigeria.

As his first appointed Chairman of the State Arts Council, I was aware of his noble plans to develop extensively the arts of the region, but his tenure was cut short like those of other civilian governors who were serving under the military regime of Gen. Abacha. In later years, he showed his love and devotion to the arts, by becoming a frequent visitor to the Niger Delta Centre for Arts and Culture, located in Agbarha-Otor. On such trips, he was extremely supportive, as a friend of the workshop, and encouraged artists who had come from far and near, in their search not only for empowerment through the arts, but also for their search for creativity.

From  2007 – 2010, as President General of the Urhobo Progressive Union, his exemplary leadership, will be remembered, because he set a vision for greater Unity in Urhoboland to meet her current challenges and foster the way forward.

His Excellency Governor Felix Ovuodoraye Ibru lived a greatly accomplished and fulfilled life. He was also gentle and kind, and a dearly beloved family man. We thank God because he had “Ufuoma, Omakpokpo, Otovwe and Idolo” (Peace, Health, Long Life and Wealth).

As an icon, he will be greatly missed by many including myself, because of his life of selflessness, integrity and service in leadership, and finally for hispassion for the arts in general. May his worthy legacy last forever.

Bruce Onobrakpeya
UNESCO Human Living Treasure
7th April 2016