SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2011
EXIT OF THE QUINTESSENTIAL DR. ALEX URUEMU IBRU
THE death of Saul and Jonathan made King David give this funeral song: ‘The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen! Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph. Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil. From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty. Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel. How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. (2 Sam. 1v19-25)
David, as it were, recognised that Saul and Jonathan were beloved and gracious…swifter than eagles, stronger than lions. He called upon women of Israel, to weep particularly for Saul.
In the same measure, it is most appropriate to weep for the exit of an illustrious son, Dr. Alex Uruemu Ibru: a rare gift from God to humanity.
On Sunday, November 20, 2011, he answered the home-call. Alex was born into the great dynasty of the Ibrus on March 1, 1945. And quite early in life, God’s favour was upon him. Things he set his hands to do prospered. Perhaps he knew he would not be here for quite a long time. He wasted no time in touching lives.
Among other notable things, Alex is known for Guardian Newspapers, which he set up in 1983, and the famous Ibru Centre, a place of spiritual solace, which he founded and handed over to the Trinity Foundation on March 1, 1995, under the management of Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion.
Alex was a kind, charitable and deeply religious person. He noted in his Theophany, while giving up the Ibru Centre: ‘God has called me Alex Uruemu Ibru… May He continue to call others in similar ways to serve the poor, to think of the wellbeing of all, whether we are in the government or private sector, and restructure our priorities in life to be godly. May my vision be passed on from generation to generation, inclusive of my immediate family and may God in all things be glorified – I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. (Acts 26v19) This is why the Ibru Centre.’
In a manner of speaking, Agbarha-Otor, as a community, ‘your pride and joy lie dead on the hills’. Alex tried in bringing the community to limelight. But today he is away. As the community receives his body with tears on December 16, 2011 at his county home for his final repose on December 17, 2011, I know certainly that it will take a while for them to recover from the loss.
We pity most especially at this point, children and adults he normally fed during such festive times like Easter and Christmas.
There is no doubt, the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, like Agbarha-Otor community has lost not only a worthy and committed father, but also a notable Christian soldier— God’s own treasurer and a man whose watchword had been ‘Impeccable’.
It is in recognition of such a great loss that the Primate of All Nigeria, Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh, led a delegation in the company of the Dean of Church of Nigeria, Most Rev. Ephraim Ademowo, among others, on behalf of Church of Nigeria to pay their last respect to Alex’s family on 17, Alexander Street, Ikoyi, Lagos on November 21, 2011.
Importantly, the Primate with his brother Archbishops and Bishops will be at his funeral service. By extension, the Nigerian society has lost a star, an entrepreneur and a great employer of labour: a man of no mean repute whose name and record shall remain, not only in the archives but also in the hearts of men and women he touched directly or indirectly. We can appropriately call him ‘Alex of Nigeria’.
We at the Ibru Centre sincerely miss him greatly. We console his confidant and wife Mrs. Maiden Ibru and his children.
However, it is good to be absent in body and present with Christ. Alex is away, but his legacies will live on.
Adieu Alex.VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Retreat Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.