By Onitsha Shedrack,———DELTA——-,September 7, 2016,———–
As prominent Nigerians continues to pay tribute to Olorogun Michael Christopher Onajirhevbe Ibru (OFR), who passed on Tuesday, in the United States at aged 86, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor and Hon. Evance Ochuko Ivwurie, have described the death of the patriarch of the great Ibru family as an irreparable loss.
In a statement by the family, signed by Mr. Goodie Ibru, he stated that the business mogul died at the early hours Tuesday, September 6, 2016 at a medical facility in the United States, after a protracted illness.
Reacting to the demise of Olorogun Michael Christopher Onajirhevbe Ibru, the Senator representing Delta Central at the Senate, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege stated, the exit of Olorogun Michael Ibru (OFR) is a major loss for Nigeria as a whole.
According to Omo-Agege, Ibru was a great leader; a business mogul, who contributed to the economic growth of Nigeria.
“Olorogun Michael was a bridge builder and quintessential advocate for good governance. He excelled in every facet of life. He was the major architect of the Ibru business empire that lifted our people from poverty. He gave himself completely in the service of our people. Without a doubt, we have lost a giant.
“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 why 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.
“May the soul of our dear hero, Olorogun Michael Christopher Onajirhevbe Ibru rest in peace, Amen.”
In his tribute, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, the leader of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) and the governorship candidate in the last election, stated that the death of Olorogun Michael Ibru, is an irreplaceable loss, to the Urhobo Nation, Delta state, Nigeria and the global business community.
According to Emerhor, “Olorogun Michael Ibru was a trailblazer who uncommon business acumen and management ingenuity created one of the most successful and enduring business empire in Nigeria, which till date, remains a global brand.
He added that, “Michael Ibru was a father and mentor to many young Nigeria Entrepreneurs who he challenged by breaking the ‘Glass Ceiling,’ limiting young Africans from playing at the international stage.”
Stating further that, “as pathfinder, he brought the Urhobo Nation’s name to the world business map. He lifted many young Urhobos from the shackles of poverty; by providing them the needed platform to lunch out into national and global market.
“He was a great nationalist, whose patriotism makes him think and put Nigeria first in all his business decisions. His types are very rare and would be greatly missed.
As we mourn with the Ibru family, over the death of the head of the Ibru family, they should be console that Papa lived a good life and has left an indelible footprint in the sand of time.”
In a condolence message to the Ibru’s and the Urhobo Nation, Hon. (Chief) Evance Ochuko Ivwurie, Member Representing Ethiope East State Constituency, Delta State House of Assembly, Asaba, stated that he was saddened over the news of the passing of Olorogun (Dr.) Michael Christopher Onajirevbe Ibru, OFR.
According to him, “I wish to convey my personal heartfelt sympathies to the Ibru dynasty, while the people and the Constituency of Ethiope East join me in expressing our sincere condolences to the people of Agbarha Otor in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State and the people of the Urhobo Nation at this tragic moment.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Chief Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, his children Olorogun Oskar Ibru and the other children, and his siblings Goodie Ibru and Mabel Ibru, as well as to both families. You all need fortitude and courage that can only come from God Almighty to come to terms with this huge and irreparable loss.
“Olorogun (Dr.) Michael Christopher Onajirevbe Ibru, OFR was an extraordinary Urhobo son, exceptionally great Deltan and one of the most distinguished and distinct Nigerian.
“He shares our Lord Christ Jesus compassion for the poor and the needy just as he was born on Christ Jesus birthday December 25 into the famous Chief Peter Epete Ibru and Chief (Mrs.) Janet Omotogor Ibru (nee Osadjere) family in Warri, Delta State.
“Olorogun Michael Ibru the eldest child of his parents showed signs of greatness from birth and his success in the world of business was pre-eminent and legendary. Michael Ibru was daring, he ventured where no other Nigerian had dared- in prospecting for new commercial innovation-frozen fish and Cold Rooms which had a poor reputation in Nigeria. Olorogun Michael Ibru introduced frozen fish in 1957 when its detractors, including meat sellers who labelled it “mortuary” fish, but he waged a vigorous campaign that successfully persuaded a whole nation that frozen fish was good, establishing distribution depots throughout Nigeria and his overall achievements and profits became extraordinary and phenomenal.
“He soon leveraged on this early enterprise success and went into expansion beyond the original frozen fish venture into Construction, Petroleum Oil Storage and Marketing, aviation (Aero Contractors), banking (Oceanic Bank), agriculture (Mitchell Farms, palm oil production, pineapple production), publishing (The Nigerian Guardian), beer brewing (in his hometown of Agbarha-Otor), etc, etc.
“Today, the Ibru Organization, a pool of continuing companies initiated by Michael Ibru, remains unequalled in the quality and types of products that it offers to the public. “Ibru” has become a brand name that connotes genuine quality. The Ibru coinage has survived because it is based on genuine products that the people need. The Ibru genius has been Michael Ibru’s brilliant ability to fathom the unmet needs of the Nigerian population and to find ways to meet those needs”.
He added also that, “Michael Ibru was a stanchion, a standard and a major pillar in the economic empowerment of the people of Urhobo Nation as thousands of men and women, Urhobos, Deltans and Nigerians in general benefitted and profited at many levels from Olorogun Michael Ibru’s openness, philanthropy and businesses.
The market women from Urhobo land were among the first batch of Nigerians to embrace his seafood- frozen fish business. Many of them rose from relative poverty to higher economic categories.
“He mentored professionals that rose to become financially independent in their chosen fields of endeavour with most of them working in vast conglomerates. In spite of his stupendous and breath-taking wealth and status, Olorogun Michael Ibru exhibited practical infectious love for the Urhobo people, culture, tradition and cultural organizations, especially Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) which he embraced and supported tremendously. He also publicized and hyped the use of the title “Olorogun” in place of “Chief- Olorogun is our tribal honorific title which he often used as a pre-nominal style.
“His hardworking spirit, accomplishments and competence has also greatly bolstered and inspired Urhobo children all over the world to reach for the best through hard-work and competence. Olorogun Michael Ibru worked so hard to shape the commercial and economic frontiers of Nigeria as a young nation.
“He played a major role in steadying the fortunes of the Urhobo people in a nation in which the identities of men and women were tied to the moral perception of their ethnic groups by their fellow citizens.
“I pray that God’s grace give the Ibru family and the Urhobo Nation comfort as we grieve. In life Olorogun Michael Ibru was a shining example of all that is best in our land. In rest, may he find the peace we all seek.”