‘Michael Ibru’s humility belied his great deeds, wisdom, managerial acumen’
More tributes poured in yesterday for the patriarch of the Ibru dynasty, Olorogun Michael Ibru, with eminent Nigerians describing his death as a huge loss both to the nation and to the African continent.In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Senate President Bukola Saraki said: “Olorogun Ibru, as he was fondly called, was a pioneer of great repute who contributed immensely to entrenching private entrepreneurship and business development in Nigeria. He started small, grew great and became an undisputed reference point in the nation’s business firmament and beyond.
“He was a businessman, philanthropist, educationist and community leader whose unassuming and humble lifestyle often belied his immense achievement, great wisdom and uncommon managerial acumen. He practically transformed Agbarha-Otor, his hometown with several development projects.
“I can say that he is one of the phenomenal personalities of our time who successfully immortalised themselves before bidding goodbye to this plane of existence. His likes are rare. He shall be sorely missed.”
Saraki commiserated with the Ibru family, the people and government of Delta State and Nigerians over the loss. He urged the family and everyone to take solace in the fact that the “fisherman of Nigeria” spent his life meritoriously in the service of God and humanity. He also prayed God to grant the soul of the patriarch eternal rest. The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said the late Ibru was an exemplary statesman, calling on the nation to immortalise him.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Uche Anichukwu, he said: “We have lost an icon. The late business magnate was an epitome of determination, industry, philanthropy and humility. He not only pioneered many businesses, he equally built countless lives and touched communities in many positive ways.”
The immediate past President of the Senate, David Mark described his demise as a huge loss to the nation. In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Paul Mumeh, Mark noted: “He was a foremost industrialist who opened the floodgate of commerce and international trade in Nigeria. Ibru distinguished himself as a man of integrity, honesty and a very resourceful entrepreneur. He was a pioneer industrialist who extended his goodwill and philanthropy for the benefit of the society.“Unarguably, Ibru left his positive footprint on the sands of time. We shall miss this great man. We shall miss his astuteness, entrepreneurship and resourcefulness. He was a great Nigerian who added great value to the society.”
Mark urged the Delta State government to immortalise Ibru for his immeasurable contributions to the development of society. In a statement, on behalf of the family, yesterday, the first son of the deceased, Olorogun Oskar Ibru, said the passage of their father at a time his health had greatly improved and the family was making arrangements for his return to Nigeria from the United States was most unexpected. He noted however that in all situations, God deserves the glory.
The family added that they were overwhelmed by the outpouring of eulogies from all segments of the country.Olorogun Oskar Ibru said the family would meet soon after consultations with government, the business community, the Urhobo nation, and other stakeholders, to announce a burial programme.Oskar, meanwhile, said condolence registers had been opened at No. 47, Marine Road, GRA, Apapa; Ibru Jetty, Warehouse Bus Stop, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Apapa; No. 33, Olorogun Michael Ibru Boulevard (formerly Creek Road), Apapa; No. 6, Louis Solomon Close, Victoria Island; No. 20, Queens Drive, Ikoyi; Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja; and Federal Palace Hotel and Casinos, Victoria Island, all in Lagos and the late Ibru’s country home, Agbarha-Otor, Ughelii North Local Government Area, Delta State.
It was quiet at Olorogun Oscar Ibru’s residence on Marine Road, Apapa, Lagos, two days ago when news broke that his father had passed on. Oscar Ibru was said to be away. Even the workers had not heard of the news. Only the granddaughter, Nenese Ibru, was at home, when The Guardian visited. All she said was that her father was away and could not respond to any enquiries.
Workers were seen going about their businesses. Inside the large compound, four well-groomed dogs, workers and security men were seen. One of the workers, who attended Olorogun Felix Ibru’s burial last month, expressed sadness that another burial was again on the way, shortly after the last one.
Meanwhile, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta Central) has described the exit of Olorogun Michael Ibru as a major loss to Nigeria.He said Ibru was a business mogul who contributed to the economic growth of the country and was a bridge builder and advocate for good governance.He said: “As we mourn the passage of Olorogun Michael Christopher Onajirhevbe Ibru, let us remember his legacy of unparalleled selfless public service and be reminded to live well, like he did. Olorogun Michael was a hero who discharged his duties as a worthy ambassador of the Urhobo nation.
“This is the reason our people, at home and in the diaspora, are celebrating this great icon of the foremost Ibru family – a family that put the Urhobo nation on the world map for good reasons.”“We have lost a great man, a complete gentleman and giant among men in the boardroom, a pioneer of genuine Nigerian creative enterprise, a man whose word was his bond and always left no one anywhere on this globe in doubt about his place of birth,” said Chief Charles Majoroh, a renowned architect and Urhobo leader.
He said: “A Nigerian, a Deltan and an Urhobo man from Agbarha-Otor, olorogun, a gentleman has run his race, a journey of 86 notable laps on God’s own earth. We are all now left to mourn his passing and even dare to savour the rare opportunities we had to have known him closely, talked with him, shaken his hands and shared meals and drinks with him. Because we were fortunate to be there, we can therefore tell the story which many today and the future can only sit and listen to with rapt attention. Adieu Olorogun Michael Ibru, rest in peace with your maker. It is well.”