By Ebi Perekeme
Condolences and tributes continued to pour for late Ijaw christian leader, Rev. Ikem Cleaver Tolar, who was laid to rest at a well-attended ceremony on Friday 28 November, 2020, at his hometown in Kokodiagbene, Gbaramatu kingdom, Delta State.
His corpse arrived Kokodiagbene town Friday morning from Warri for a funeral service. Rev. Tolar was interred at exactly 2:24pm at his residence, GbaramatuVoice reports.
The Deputy Governor of Delta State, Barr. Kingsley Burutu Otuaro; Elder Godsday Peter Orubebe, CON, Former Minister for Niger Affairs; Hon. Julius Pondi, Member, Federal House of Representatives, Burutu Federal Constituency; Hon. Thomas Ereyitomi, Member Federal House of Representatives, Warri Federal Constituency; Hon. (Rev.) Francis Waive, Member Federal House of Representatives, Ughelli North/Ughelli South/Udu Federal Constituency; Hon. Emomotimi Dennis Guwor, Member, Delta State House of Assembly, Warri South West Constituency, were amongst the top political figures who had sent out their condolences during the funeral service.
Religious leaders and top military officers, including the Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, Major General Jamil Sarham; Former National President, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Papa Ayo Oritsejafor, have also extolled the virtues of Rev. Ikem Cleaver Tolar.
A PRIDE TO IJAW NATION – OTUARO
The Deputy Governor of Delta State, Barr. Kingsley Burutu Otuaro in a letter to the Tolar family said, “The late Rev (Dr) Ikem Cleaver Tolar, aged 75, was a pride to Kokodiagbene/ Gbaramatu kingdom and a pearl of the Ijaw Nation, nay Niger Delta! While his spotless community leadership and family care were excellent attraction for my generation, the later part of his eventful Christian life left behind the sure fact that faith in God is a key to our political, economic and developmental aspirations and successes.
“Dr. I.C. Tolar’s contribution to instituting the annual Ijaw Prayer day was a manifestation of his faith that moved God. His relentless prayers and belief that consecr9 of Ijaw/Niger Delta region to Almighty God will lead to development and the Presidential power Ijaw/Niger Delta clamoured to come real in the later emergence of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“We are inspired and comforted by your implicit trust in the Almighty God and your love to mankind. Adieu Rev. I. C. Tolar as your soul journeys to our maker’s warm embrace and eternal love,” Otuaro further stated in the letter.
PAPA AYO MOURNS
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purposeunder the heaven. He has made everything beautiful in his time; also he harh set eternity in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh fron the beginning to the end. -Ecl 3:1&11.
“The call to glory of REV. (DR.) IKEM CLEAVER TOLAR a dear friend of mine, a devout Christian, a Businessman, a consumate peace ambassador, community policies issues facilitator, a former banker and the pioneer Chairman of the Egbema/Gbaramatu Community. Like many others, his call to glory has brought the usual avalanche of tributes from across the country.
“I. Pastor Ayodele Joseph Oritsejafor (OFR) and my wife Dr. Helen Oritsejafor on behalf of the entire members of Word of life Bible Church joins millions of people in Nigeria in celebrating the peaceful call to glory of REV. (DR.) IKEM CLEAVER TOLAR.
“His contributions to the growth and progress of the gospel in his areas of influence cannot be over emphasized. He gave his all to the translation of the Bible into pidgin English. His roaring success is an attestation to his dexeterity and intellectual capacity, which he brought to bear in the up- bringing of his children.
“He was an embodiment of humility who lived and allowed his Christian beliefs to influence his day to day activities for the good of humanity. He was indeed a man of God who has left a legacy on the sands of time.
“I will miss him and he wilk also be greatly missed by all especially his children, his immediate and extended family and the body of Christ. Itnis our prayer that God almighty will grant all the fortitude to bear his physical absence.
“My dear friend and brother, REV. (DR.) IKEM CLEAVER TOLAR goodnight, we wilo see you in the morning.
IJAW NATION WILL MISS THIS GREAT SON – ORUBEBE
Reacting to his death, former minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe said, “Death exposes the shortness of life on earth and that is thr reason why great men should be celebrated by their contribution to the spirit and joy of humanity.
“Rev. Dr. Ikem Cleaver Tolar was a devoted co- labourer in the vineyard of the LORD. As a devoted Christian, he was a source of inspiration, his impact in the lives of the people particularly in the creeks of Niger Delta, is worth celebrating. He was there for the kingdom work, spiritually and physically.
“Rev. Dr. I.C. Tolar’s contribution to human development is another glowing chapter of his life. He was there for the people educationally, economically, physically and socially. He touched lives which are standing testimony today.
“We shall all miss him but he has gone to the most cherished place, we are all racing to be
“The Ijaw race will certainly miss this great son of the Niger Delta for his love and commitment to the ijaw identity and development.
“May the Good Lord be with his immediate and external family.
A DETRABALIZED AND PATRIOTIC NIGERIAN – MAJOR GEN. JAMIL SARHAM, COMMANDANT, NDA
On his part, Major General Jamil Sarham, Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy, described his death as a huge loss to the country.
Jamil in condolence message, said, “The news of the death of Rev. Dr. Ikem Cleaver Tolar has left me with a deep sense of loss and a feeling of nostalgia for the very pleasant, and truly refreshing encounters I was privileged to have with him
“To put into words my views of this truly influential gentleman who touched so many lives positively and with life-changing effects is an exercise even a Nobel laureate will find difficult to accomplish. For how do you describe a person whose whole life was spent on advancing the quality of the life of others.
“Words indeed fail one. But the inpouring of tributes and goodwill since his passing away are but a tip of the iceberg of the true personality of Rev. Dr. Ikem Cleaver Tolar we had all encountered differently and loved.
“To me, Rev. Tolar, over the period I knew him, was many things. But above all these, I know him as a detrabalized, kind and patriotic Nigerian. A man of God in true sense of those words, who was committed to adding true values to the lives of those he encountered everywhere. He was a person with a burning love for our country. Nigeria and people of the Niger Delta region. His desire was always for things to get better.
“As he goes to rest after a most fruitful sojourn on earth, I remain assured that his legacies will continue to reverberate in the hearts of those he touched while here. And may his immediate family members and friends who will no doubt be confronted with such huge vacuum of his passing away has left be filled with the hope that he his in a better place.
HEAVEN HAS GAINED A SOLDIER – PONDI
Also reacting, the member representing Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Julius Pondi, said among others, “We have lost a great father, friend to many and an impeccable spiritual guide to the body of Christ, Rev Dr. I.C. Tolar, a fine gentleman, an unquestionable heavenly ambassador who provided spiritual leadership not just to local congregation but to millions all over the world.
“He came at a time chosen for him to make the greatest impact in his earthly journey. From a very humble background not steeped in the riches of our contemporary time. He lived out his potential towards proving education that liberates the mind for the attainment of higher goals in the service of God, in service to the Kokodiagbene Community, Gbaramatu kingdom, Niger Delta and indeed Nigeria. A service in which we and generations to come will remember and appreciate Rev. (Dr.) Tolar for his struggles and victories in life.
“He was a religious man of distinction, a great soul winner, an esteemed elder and statesman gives birth to the oil rich Niger Delta. A key actor to the oil and gas industry, a sustainer of excellent community and human relations, an educationist of the finest breed and a passionate peace ambassador.
Though am tempted to say that he has ‘departed” but God says that he has ‘arrived’. The gates of heaven has been swung wide open to welcome a deserving ambassador who has returned home to his maker. God sees things from such different perspective than we do. God never sees his children dies. He simply seea them coming home.
“I therefore beseech you brethren, to take solace in the knowledge that our Rev.(Dr.) Ikem Cleaver Tolar has only returned to God after completing his mission on earth.
“He shall be in our memory for his goodness of heart and outstanding contributions to spiritual and national development and as an enabler of community development.
“Goodnight our spiritual pillar and may you find Favour in God’s kingdom.
A LEADING LIGHT OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH IN IJAW NATION – FRANCIS WAIVE
Similarly, the Chairman House Committee on Power, Hon. (Rev.) Francis Ejiroghene Waive, described late Rev. Tolar as one of the leading lights of the Christian faith among the Ijaw people worldwide, whose death he received with deep shock.
“News of the home call of Rev. Dr. I.C. TOLAR reached me with shock. Shock because he has always been healthy as far as I know and in the past two years we’ve met in airports across the country on a regular basis.
“Dr. Tolar’s meritorious rise in his Banking career and his successful venture into business is a model for our young people. His dramatic encounter with Christ and the visible change this brought to his life as wll as his missionary zeal made him one of the leading lights of the christian faith among the Ijaw people worldwide.
“A family and community man to the core. I celebrate his commitment to his wife, education of his children and support to many people and just causes indeed, a good man has gone home to rest.
“My condolences to his immediate family, the ijaw nation and the body of Christ on this side of eternity.
A BRIDGE BUILDER, FATHER TO ALL – EREYITOMI
In the same vein, the member representing Warri Federal Constituency, Hon. Thomas Ereyitomi described him as a bridge builder and father to all.
“I. on behalf of the good people of Warri Federal Constituency, commiserate with the Tolar Family of Kokodiagbene Community in Warri South-West Local Government Area on the passing of late Rev. Dr. Ikem Cleaver Tolar.
“The late Rev. Dr. Ikem Cleaver Tolar lived an exemplary life. He dedicated his life to the Christian faith through service to God and humanity. As the pioneer chairman of the Egbema/Gbaramatu Communities Development Foundation (EGCDF)). He championed peace and development in the Egbema/Gbaramatu Communities. He was a philanthropist, a bridge builder and father to all.
“The late Rev. Dr. Ikem Cleaver Tolar will be missed by all who were directly or indirectly impacted by his life.
“My thoughts and prayers are with his family, Kokodiagbene community and Gbaramatu kingdom.
“May the soul of Late Rev. Dr. Ikem Cleaver Tolar rest in the bossom of the Lord.
A GOOD MAN IS GONE – GUWOR
Also Hon. Emomotimi Dennis Guwor, Member, Delta State House of Assembly, Warri South West Constituency, described Rev. Tolar as a warm hearted man, peace bulder and progressive leader.
“On behalf of the good people of Warri South West Constituency. I wish to commiserate with the family and the entire Ijaw Nation. Gbaramatu kingdom in particular over the passing onto glory of our beloved elder statesman, Reverend (Dr.) Ikem Cleaver Tolar.
“The late Rev. (Dr.) Ikem Cleaver Tolar was a warm hearted man, peace bulder and a progressive leader whose contribution towards the advancement of humanity cannot be forgotten in a hurry.
“He lived a life of impact with total dedication to the preaching of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was also a firm promoter of the shared ideals and progress of the Ijaw Nation. His life of truth, integrity, excellence, peace building and exemplary leadership will continue to inspire generations to come.
“He will be greatly missed, May God grant his gentle soul eternal repose.
HE WAS A DEPENDABLE PILLAR OF COMMITMENT TO IZON SPIRITUAL LIBERATION – ICF
Also reacting, Izon Christian Fellowship (ICF), Delta State Chapter, expressed sadness over his death.
In a statement by the state chairman and Secretary, Rev. Prince Emmanuel Imeleye and Deaconess Angela Mukoroho, said, “On behalf of the Executives, Head of Directorates and members of Izon Christian Fellowship, Delta State Chapter. We write to acknowledge the news of the call to glory pf our father, leader and Grand patron and Chairman Board of Trustee.
“With thanks to God Almighty, the father of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ who enjoined us that in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thes 5:18.
“Late Rev. Dr. Ikem C. Tolar is one of the Izon Christian foremost leader he is a credible leading and respected voice in the Christian community. He was a dependable pillar of commitment to Izon spiritual liberation, freedom and deliverance from idolatries.
“His desire to see all Ijaw communities, town, villages and people serve the almighty God through Jesus Christ which he followed up with crusades, evangelical outreach and film shows.
“He was a formidable mobilizer, influencer and financier of the kingdom business, promoter of Jesus in Pidgin English film, that served as means of rural evangelism and outreach. He was a peacebuilder and very popular charismatic christian leader with integrity. He was committed to Izon Christian Fellowship activities worldwide and ran with yearly Ijaw Day of Prayer, Praise and Thanksgiving for the past 23 years.
“We express our healthfelt condolences to the family, Kokodiagbene Community and Gbaramatu kingdom for the sudden departure.
“We pray that God grant you all the fortitude to bear this colossal loss. May the Lord God strengthen you always in Jesus name.
HE WAS A TRUE PARTNER – CHEVRON
Also reacting, Chevron Nigeria Limited, in a condolence letter signed by Mr. Esimaje Brikinn,
Policy, Government and Public Affairs, said, “Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) CNL Joint Venture commiserates with the Egbema and Gbaramatu Communities Development Foundation (EGCDF), the family of Dr. I. C. Tolar and the entire Kokodiagbene Community on the recent passing away of Rev. Dr. I.C. Tolar. Please accept our heartfelt condolences.
“We shall ever remember late Dr I.C. Tolar for his immense contribution towards the formation of the EGCDF, being the pioneer Chairman and for his exemplary leadership in galvanizing both Egbema and Gbaramatu Kingdom to support the Global Memorandum of understanding (GMoU). He was a true partner to CNL during his life time.
A LOVING, CARING BROTHER AND FRIEND – SUNDAY OMUZE, FAMILY MEMBER
“Your life has always been one of the emulation as you have played vert many vital roles in my life that I would never forget. A truly remarkable episode that happened in my life on the 7th April, 2000, after which you presented me with a Bible that I still have with me till date and from that day, you encouraged me in the things of God.
“I cannot forget the day you put a call across to me, asking me to come over to the house and we would drive around town gisting about virtually everything. Truly, this world is not our own, as we are only passing by and according to Ecc. 3: 1-9, under the sun. there’s time for everything.
“Doc., you were honourable, kind, charismatic, gentle, loving, accommodating, giving and so much more. Indeed, you came, you saw and you conquered. You had so much plan towards the upliftment of the gospel but God in his infinite wisdom has a better plan for you because it was so glaring at the very last minute of Sunday, 28th June, 2020 at about 10am that you have departed from the world, that you have been taken up into heaven.
“We will have a lot to talk about when we meet again. Oruba, you were an incredible man and will be missed by all of us particularly the children you left behind, but we take solace in God’s word to Paul the Apostle; “My grace is sufficient for you”.
A GREAT SHOCK, SEIMODE, SON- INLAW
“The sudden demise of Rev. Dr. I. C. Tolar on 28th June 2020 still reverberates with great shock and disbelief to many. I am still enveloped with great shock since the sad news broke out on the 28th day of June, 2020. I find it very difficult to to put tribute of mine together just the same way I found it difficult to sign the condolence register shortly after his demise. It is and would always be a huge task to comprehend this colossal loss at this time. This indeed, a difficult and trying time for the Tolar family
“The experiences and lessons thus gained from my contact with Rev. Dr. I.C. Tolar by virtue of his openness and commitment to the service of humanity are no doubt legendary. This attributes of his added so much value to my life and daily interaction with people across board today in the larger society. Through him and for the first time in my life, I came to know of a ‘none-self serving man’ that thinks of the welfare and happiness of others as part of service to humanity.
“The sterling qualities and attributes of a good leader, father grand-father, brother, uncle and a genuine man of God and his philanthropic disposition are all personified in the life of Rev. Dr. I. C. Tolar.
“My personal relationship with Rev. Dr. I.C. Tolar was far beyond that of a son-in-law and a father-in-law to that of “a son” and “a father and more importantly a friend”.
“I, and my three (3) children, God used in blessing my union with his daughter, shall continue to remember and honour him even in death.
Those good memories cannot be wished away overnight with his shocking demise.
May his gentle soul rest in the bosom of the Lord, forever and ever .ADIEU, Daddy.
(Hon. Commissioner, Legal Services. DSIEC)
HIS EXIT IS A BIG BLOW TO IJAW NATION – EGCDF
Also reacting, Egbema-Gbaramatu Communities Development Foundation (EGCDF), expressed great shock.
In a statement by its Chairman, Comrade Jude Ukori and Secretary, Chief Sheriff Mulade, the foundation said among others “With heavy heart but thanks to God for a life well spent, the Executives and members of Egbema Gbaramatu Communities Development Foundation, EGCDF, hereby mourn the exit of our pioneer chairman, Rev. Dr. I.C. Tolar, who was an energetic leader, a bold, amiable and patriotic team player.
“With justice, equity and fair play as his watch words, Dr. I. C. Tolar’s doggedness and courage stood him out amongst his contemporaries.
“Until his transition Dr. (Rev) I.C. Tolar was a member of the Egbema Gbaramatu Elders Forum, Community Engagement Management Board (CEMB) and Patron of the Foundation.
“Despite his daily tight schedules. Rev. (Dr) Tolar was a responsible, peaceful, responsive, dedicated and committed leader, always available in times of need.
“He tirelessly ensured the smooth operations of the EGCDF, institutionalised collaboration and partnership towards creating opportunities that would improve the the livelihoods of community people.
“His death has created a very big vacuum that will take long time to fill. His exit is a big blow to Ijaw Nation and indeed the entire Niger Delta Region. No doubt he was a rare gem, a leadership colossus and enigma too great to forget.