The patriarch of the Ibru family in Delta State, Olorogun Michael Ibru, is dead.
The deceased was the husband of the former managing director of the defunct Oceanic Bank, Cecilia Ibru.
The business mogul, who was aged 86, a statement from the family said, died in a hospital in the United States of America on Tuesday morning.
The deceased, an Officer of the Federal Republic and the Otota of Agbarha-Otor kingdom in Delta State, was also the Chairman, Michael and Cecilia Foundation.
Reacting to Ibru’s death, the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, described the passage of the patriarch of Ibru dynasty as a national loss.
Okowa in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu, said it received with sadness and an immense feeling of great national loss, the death of Nigeria’s foremost entrepreneur.
Okowa described the late patriarch of the Ibru family as an epitome of integrity in business.
The statement partly read, “On behalf of my family, the Government and people of Delta State, I extend my sincere condolences to the entire Ibru dynasty of Agbarha-Otor, the Urhobo nation and Nigerians on the passage of the beloved, urbane, cerebral and quintessential businessman and industrialist whose contributions to the growth of commerce and industry in Nigeria remains indelible.
“Olorogun Michael Ibru was an accomplished businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist and community leader who built the Ibru dynasty to command the respect, trust and love of the entire country.”
It added, “As a state, we also recall with immense gratitude the role played by the late Olorogun Michael Ibru in the creation of our beloved Delta State. The Urhobo Nation and indeed Deltans have lost a great man who was indeed a pride to Deltans.
“He will be sorely missed by all and sundry whose lives he affected in many several ways. I therefore urge all who mourn the demise of Olorogun Michael Ibru to take solace in the fact that his was a life of great accomplishments in which we give thanks to the Almighty God for the indelible footprints of his achievements in the sands of time.”
Also, the Ijaw National Leader, Chief Edwin Clark, who is maternally-related to the late Ibru, said he had yet to come to terms with the news of the death even though the international business tycoon had been ill for long.
According to the former Federal Information Commissioner, the late businessman was humble, gentle and philanthropic.
Also, the Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Monday Igbuya, condoled with the Ibru family, describing the deceased as a modest and strong businessman.
Igbuya’s position was contained in a statement issued by his spokesman, Henry Ebireri.
He said, “Olorogun Micheal Ibru was a shrewd businessman with a good heart.
“Olorogun Michael Ibru as an international businessman, philanthropist, educator, a lover of children, grassroots organiser and community leader gained the respect, trust and love of the entire country and he will be greatly missed.”
Also, the President-General, Urhobo Progress Union, Chief Joe Omene, on Tuesday described Ibru’s death as a colossal loss to the Urhobo nation.
Omene, who spoke with one of our correspondents on the telephone on Tuesday, said the late Ibru was a man of peace and was “God’s greatest gift to Urhobo nation” and Nigeria in general.
The President-General of UPU, the apex socio-cultural umbrella of the Urhobo people worldwide, said the Urhobo nation was proud of his contributions towards projecting his people in a positive light.
According to him, there is no family that was not touched by Michael’s generosity in Urhobo land.
“I received the news of Michael Ibru’s death this afternoon with sadness and rude shock. This is the greatest man ever to have hailed from Urhobo nation. He touched the lives of every Urhobo man.
“Check the lives of those who made money in Urhobo nation before now, they all made their money through his tutelage. Michael was a patriotic Urhobo man who manifested both in Nigeria and across the globe,” Omene added.
He added that Urhobo people would surely honour him for placing them on the world map.
Also, the National President and Chairman in Council of the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Sir Orimadegun Agboade, said Ibru was an accomplished industrialist whose entrepreneurship brought growth to the nation.
“When he began, nobody knew he would go this far to boost the economy. We cannot forget him in a hurry,” he said.
An astute businessman, the late octogenarian was a member of the Business Advisory Council of the International Finance Corporation, just as he was a council member of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Nigeria-United States Business Council.
An alumnus of the Igbobi College, Lagos, the late Ibru worked at the United African Company (now UACN) between 1951 and 1956, before establishing a company, Laibru, at the age of 24.
The businessman, who founded the Osadjere Fishing Company in partnership with a Japanese Conglomerate in 1965, extended his business tentacles in 1974 with the acquisition of Nigerian Hardwoods, a logging, sawmilling and wood processing company, from the Lathem Group in the United Kingdom.
His death came some weeks after the burial of his younger brother and a former governor of Delta State, Felix Ibru.
The former governor died on March 12, 2016 at the age of 80.