Ibori, ex-ministers, Ghanaians, others honour Michael Ibru

Co-founder, Michael and Cecilia Ibru University, Cecilia Ibru (left): former Delta State Governor, James Ibori: Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Ibiyinka Afuwape; Guest Speaker, former Ghanaian Minister of Information, Fritz Baffour and former president, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Goodie Ibru, during the first yearly memorial lecture of Olorogun Michael C.O. Ibru in Agbarha-Otor, Delta State… yesterday. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

The life and times of the late business mogul and patriarch of the Ibru family, Olorogun Michael Christopher Onajirevbe Ibru (OFR), were relived yesterday at his home-town, Agbarha-Otor in Ughelli North Local Council of Delta State, as part of activities to mark the first anniversary of the demise of the late icon who passed on at the age 86 in Florida, United States (U.S.) in September 2016.

The yearly memorial lecture, which held at the auditorium of the Michael and Cecilia Ibru University, Agbarha Otor, attracted eminent personalities from within and outside Nigeria. The lecture with the topic “Entrepreneurship and Development in Africa” was delivered by former Ghanaian Minister of Information, Fritz Baffour.

The choice of the topic was to illustrate the entrepreneurial ingenuity of Olorogun Michael Ibru who established many businesses and touched many lives through the creation of jobs and services during his life-time.

Eminent personalities who graced the event included the former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori; former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Steve Oru; former Minister of State for Education, Chief Kenneth Gbagi; former Minister of Information, Prof. Sam Oyovbaire; Prof. G.G. Darah; Prof. Christopher Orubu, Dr. Sunny Awhefeada, Mr. Goodie Ibru; Mr. Willy Sohwo; Chairman of Ughelli North Council, Kenneth Ibru and traditional rulers and chiefs from different clans of the Urhobo nation.

Also in attendance were discussants from the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), University of Ibadan (UI) and Delta State University, Abraka, including Prof. Onigu Otite, Prof. S.W.E. Iboje and Prof. Athony Killa and a host of several others.

Orubu, who kicked off the ceremony, described Ibru as a philanthropist and business mogul who brought light to multitudes.

He said the Michael and Cecilia Ibru University, founded by the deceased, was visionary, which has invariably immortalised his name.

Also, Baffour from Ghana said: “One cannot talk about successful Nigerian entrepreneurs without dwelling on the remarkable business exploits and contributions of the late Olorogun (Dr.) Michael Ibru to his country’s development. This was a colossus who created and managed the affairs of one of the successful conglomerates in this nation’s history over a period of 60 years. Olorugun Michael Ibru’s mercantile and financial interest extended from his homeland to the rest of Africa, Japan and Russia, among others. His entrepreneurial savvy enabled his worthwhile involvement and successes in all sectors of the Nigerian economy. Agriculture, fisheries, shipping, stevedoring and port services, construction, media, hospitality, banking and finance, oil and gas, aviation, marketing and last but not the least education; these were all areas of endeavour on which this intrepid captain of industry left his indelible mark. “

He congratulated the Michael and Cecilia Ibru University on deeming it fit to launch the yearly lecture in honour of the genius.

He, therefore, charged the institution to institute a two or three credit course of Level 100 undergraduates study and do a comparative analysis of the theories and methods of the icon and other renowned business moguls in Africa in particular and rest of the world in general.

The visitor to the university, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, praised her husband for taking a lot of risks and for being courageous enough to embark on ventures that touched many lives and impacted society.

She humoured that as wife to Olorogun Michael Ibru, she was a student of entrepreneurship under the tutelage of her late husband who was a genius in his chosen turf.

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