Chief James Onanefe Ibori has described the death of Olorogun Michael Ibru as a great shook , not because the man who was born in 1930 and so was 86 died young, but because he was one of the few that actually defined the veritable Nigerian entrepreneurial spirit.
In a press statement signed by Tony Eluemunor, Ibori said “Olorogun Michael Ibru was a trail-blazer, who streaked through Nigeria like a meteor, lighting up the way for others to follow. In 1956, Ibru was just a 26 year old young man, yet he had the vision and the boldness to leave the U.A.C, and started a partnership with an expatriate, Jimmy Large, which he called Laibru. Laibru successfully engaged in general trading, yet, a year later, Michael Ibru discovered some loopholes he could plug in the frozen fish market.
Although this business was cornered by expatriate firms, Ibru plunged into it, establishing an importing company, rented and built cold storage facilities across the country, and by the mid-1960s fish business had become the traditional money maker for the Ibru organization.
From, there, Ibru ventured into other profitable interests. He had such a Midas touch that he founded booming businesses in the fields of transportation, construction, etc”.
To Ibori, the greatest lesson that Michael Ibru has left for Nigerians is that fact that he saw it as a point of duty to help his siblings develop their business empires, yet, they remained as one close knit family.
The second lesson is that a business should not necessarily be a one-man concern. Thus, Ibru went into several partnerships with different people. The result is that today, the Ibru Organisation is an important segment of the Nigerian economy. In fact, it is an empire. That runs from fishing to air transportation, Guardian newspapers, the hospitality business. In fact, the Ibru family-owned houses must have been one of the first private Real Estate firms in Nigeria.
Ibori said that Ibru, in his later years presented a father-figure for many Nigerians to emulate. Ibori sends his condolences to the entire Ibru family and thanks God for giving Nigeria such a visionary pioneer.