*Ibru and I shared many values —Subomi Balogun
*Atiku, Okpame pay tributes
By Clifford Ndujihe & Charles Kumolu
THE torrents of tribute to the late business mogul, Chief Michael Ibru, continued yesterday with many describing him as someone who led a fulfilled and exemplary life.
A visit to his Ikoyi residence in Lagos showed that Nigerians from the private sector dominated the list of those who came to pay condolence to the family over the demise of the man, who left an indelible mark on Nigeria’s economic sector.
The ambience was solemn, as family members received those, who came at intervals to pay respect to the late foremost industrialist.
President Muhammadu Buhari; Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki; Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark; Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; former Senate President, David Mark among others, had, Wednesday, mourned late Ibru, describing him as a huge loss to both the business world and the nation.
Former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, expressed grief over the demise of Olorogun Michael Ibru, describing the late patriarch of the Ibru dynasty as a successful businessman, who blazed the trail in local entrepreneurship.
Jonathan, who stated this in a condolence message to the Ibru family and the people and Government of Delta State, said that Olorogun Michael Ibru led an exemplary life of humility, despite his vast resources.
Jonathan said: “He was a model entrepreneur, who grew a local enterprise into a conglomerate that became the envy of even multinationals.
“In the areas where he operated, be it fishing, construction or transportation, he blazed a trail in organisational and corporate leadership. His renowned acumen in business management has become an indispensable guide to serious-minded entrepreneurs.
“He was also a cultural icon and historic figure, who not only passionately embraced the custom and traditions of his people, but also committed so much towards ensuring the ascendancy of the rich Urhobo cultural heritage.
“Nigerians, especially the youths, have a lot to learn from the late mogul, for despite the fact that he was a hugely successful entrepreneur, his bearing remained largely modest and uncomplicated.
“As I extend my sympathy to the Ibru family, Delta State and the entire nation, I pray for the Almighty God to grant his soul eternal rest.”
Top on the list of those who visited, yesterday, was the founder of First City Monument Bank, FCMB, Otunba Subomi Balogun.
Balogun, who was received by the deceased’s widow, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, said the late industrialist had a fulfilled life, adding that Ibru was a humble man, irrespective of his wealth.
In his tributes, Balogun, who was a schoolmate of the deceased at Igbobi College, Lagos, said: “Olorogun, you were a luminous star who left indelible mark on all who met you. You were an embodiment of all the values of Igbobi College. You were great and yet with a common touch.
“You were a man of God, who in spite of your success was approachable. I thank God that we met at Igbobi College and Townsend House. We were close and shared many values and in some way influenced each other.”
We’ve lost a rare breed—Atiku
In like manner, former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, said Olorogun Michael Ibru’s death was a painful and great loss not only to the family but also to the Urhobo nation, Delta State, Niger Delta region, the business community and the entire nation.
In a statement by his Media Office, Abubakar said Nigeria lost a very disciplined, honest, patriotic and incorruptible statesman, who promoted the culture of integrity and moral uprightness in business, private and public life.
Atiku said: “Olorogun Michael Ibru was a rare breed, who was in every way an enigma whose life and person is difficult to describe in one breath. He was one of the few that defined the Nigerian entrepreneurial spirit.
“His contributions to the growth of commerce and industry in Nigeria remain indelible.”
The Turaki Adamawa added that Michael Ibru was an epitome of integrity and a trail blazer in business, who founded the famous Ibru Organisation in 1956 that grew into a conglomerate with interests in shipping, agriculture, aviation, banking, brewery as well as oil and gas.
According to Atiku, late Olorogun Michael Ibru was a leading indigenous entrepreneur, who pioneered the strong belief that indigenous entrepreneurs can also excel and compete with foreign partners, adding that he competed with foreign entrepreneurs and distinguished himself as a businessman.
“Olorogun Michael Ibru was an outstanding businessman with a good heart, a philanthropist, grassroots organiser and community leader, who gained the respect, trust and love of the people,” he added.
Atiku said though Olorogun Michael Ibru would be sorely missed by all and sundry, whose lives he affected in many ways, he urged the family and the entire people of Delta State to take solace in the fact that his was a life of great accomplishments and indelible footprints in the sands of time
An Iroko has fallen—Okpame
The Okpame family of Agbarha-Otor, Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State, yesterday, described Chief Michael Ibru as an irreplaceable Iroko tree that has fallen in Urhobo nation.
In a statement by the Chairman of the Okpame Land Committee, Mr. Johnson Atubi, and Secretary, Mr. Emmanuel Ikogho, the family said the death of Chief Michael Ibru is a great loss, not only to the Agbarha-Otor community he hailed from, Urhobo nation, Delta and Nigeria, but the entire world.
The statement, which further described late Chief Michael Ibru as a famous businessman of high repute, with international recognition across the globe, said it will be difficult to find anybody in the Urhobo nation to step into his shoes, adding that his life style is worth emulating.
It said the late Ibru had, through his sojourn in business, transformed several persons at home and in Diaspora, pointing out that most Urhobo sons and daughters benefited through his business empire and the Urhobo nation will miss the great hero.
Buhari eulogises Ibru
A statement by the President’s spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, read: “President Buhari equally commiserates with the government and people of Delta State, and the Urhobo in particular, on the passage of their illustrious son and patriarch of the Ibru family.
“The President joins them in mourning an accomplished businessman, whose edifying role in the corporate world and private sector in Nigeria would continue to inspire generations to come.
“President Buhari believes that Michael Ibru will be long remembered for his hard work and dedication to entrepreneurship, which opened doors of opportunities for many Nigerians and associates that came in contact with his investments in the banking, aviation, tourism and manufacturing sectors.
“The President urges members of his family and all who mourn Olorogun Ibru to honour his memory by upholding the values of selfless service, inter-ethnic harmony, knowledge and perseverance, which he passionately promoted through his successful career in the private sector.”