Entitled children plus unequal inheritance have been seen as a recipe for dirty fights in many wealthy deceased’s families. This social problem is fast making many rich patriarchs in Western world embracing the idea of disinheriting their children for their own good. At the rate many families of some wealthy Nigerians are on each other’s necks over the estates left behind, it won’t be long before some begin to think in that direction.
While alive, Olorogun Felix Ovudoroye Ibru, notable architect-turned-businessman and first democratically elected governor of Delta State, worked assiduously to build a lasting wealth and legacy for himself and his immediate family. But few years after his death, the fortune bequeathed to the six children, it is gathered, has turned them into bitter enemies. And they are in court to strip each other of their late dad’s estate.
Spotlight gathered that two of the deceased children—Felix Oyovwevotu Ibru and Elaine Amrotorigbeya Ibru— are said to be at loggerheads with their eldest brother and first son of the family, Dr. Paul Aidido Ibru, over the running of the estate left behind by their father. The two have instituted a legal action against Paul and three other siblings —Onojoma Yvette Oniwinde, Sheri Sonia Ibru and Olotu Ibru— over the running of their father’s company, Ibru Prefabs Limited, before the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos. According to Felix Jnr. and Elaine, their eldest brother was running the estate of their late father in a manner which is unfairly prejudicial and discriminatory to their interest. They alleged that Paul, on his own, assumed the administration, control and management of the estate left by their late father without obtaining the consent or authority of the Court, and the other children.
Felix Jnr. and Elaine now want the court to order Paul to file account supported by relevant receipts and vouchers showing his dealings with the estate since the death of their father on March 12, 2016 up till this moment and such account to be lodged with the Probate Registrar of the court for scrutiny within three months from the date of judgment. The two Ibru siblings also accused Paul of operating various accounts of the company in spite of several oral and written warnings to him that he should stop doing so until Letters of Administration are obtained in respect of the estate. Meanwhile, a source disclosed that Paul had not filed any response to the suit filed before the Federal High Court. However, in a counter-affidavit to a suit before a Lagos High Court, he claimed that as the first son, he would not destroy the laudable legacy built and left by his father.
It would be recalled that in August 2016 during the final funeral rites of the late Ibru, who died at the age of 80, in his hometown of Agharha-Otor, Delta State, His Grace, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of Anglican Church of Nigeria, had pleaded with the children of the renowned architect to resolve their differences in the interest of protecting their father’s name. The Anglican primate said if the internal wrangling between the children was not quickly resolved, it was capable of destroying the family’s name which their father had laboured to build. But despite the Primate’s admonition, it was shortly after that Felix Jnr. and Elaine dragged their eldest brother to court on May 10, 2017, and ever since, the dust raised by the matter is yet to die down as each party is hell bent on having their ways as it regards the properties of their father.
Late Ibru was also a Senator and former President-General of the revered apex socio-cultural organisation of the Urhobo people worldwide, Urhobo Progressive Union. He was survived by two wives —Maltida and Caroline.