Life and Times of Felix Ibru
Olorogun Felix Ovudoroye Ibru, an Architect, Senator and first Executive Governor of Delta State, was born on December 7, 1935 at Agbarha-Otor in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State to Chief Peter Epete Ibru and Chief (Mrs.) Janet Omotogor Ibru. He was the second of seven children. He started his education at Yaba Methodist College, and later Igbobi College where he was made the Head Boy in 1955.
He proceeded to the Nottingham School of Architecture in England where he qualified as an architect in 1962. While in the institution, he was elected the first Black President of the British Council with responsibility for Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire. After his qualification as an architect in 1962, he worked briefly with the Jewish Agency SOCHNUT, on various projects relating to farm settlements and prefabricated buildings in Jerusalem and Haifa.
Ibru later enrolled at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology for post-graduate studies and qualified with an M.Sc (Arch) in 1963. He returned to Nigeria at the end of the year and was employed by then Federal Ministry of Education, as the first resident Lecturer in Architecture at the Yaba College of Technology.
He was elected member of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) in 1969 and was registered by the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) in 1971. He was elected Fellow of the Nigeria Institute of Architects in 1995 and awarded the honourary degree of Doctor of Laws (LL.D) by the Delta State University and a Fellowship of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).
Ibru began his business career with the creation of an architectural firm, Roye Ibru Associates. The firm went into partnership with Alan Vaughan-Richards and Associates to establish the firm of Ibru Vaughan and Associates (Planning Partnership). As one of the two principal partners, he was involved in the design and supervision of more than 40 projects across the country.
As consultant to Ibru Prefabs Limited, he was responsible for the design and supervision of several Geodesic Domes of various dimensions in many parts of the country. In 1971, under the auspices of the United Nations, he was invited to Tokyo, Japan as a member of a panel on foreign investment. Three years after, (1974), he delivered a lecture at the Harvard Business School, in the United States on Multinationals, titled: Emerging Role Of The African Entrepreneur In The Economy And Its Relationship With Multinational Corporation: Competition, Partnership, Cooperation and Absorption.”
His political career started in 1983 when he contested for a seat in the Senate, but lost the election. He ran for the Governorship position of Delta State in 1991, which was carved out of the old Bendel State with Edo State, and emerged as the fist Executive Governor of the newly created state in 1992 on the platform of the Social democratic Party (SDP). He emerged as a member of the Nigeria’s 5th National Assembly in 2003, when he contested for the post of the Senate, to represent Delta Central Constituency, which he won.
He was the President General of the Urhobo Progressive Union (UPU). As a traditional chieftain of his homeland, he bears the tribal honorific Olorogun and often uses it as a pre-nominal style. This title is also borne by many of the members of his large family in the same way.
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