Wealthy businessman and patriarch of the Ibru family, Michael Ibru, has passed on at the age of 86.
Michael Ibru was also the husband of former Oceanic Bank MD, Cecilia Ibru. His death was announced by the family in a statement on Tuesday morning.
His death comes barely 5 months after the death of his younger brother, Felix Ibru, who was the first democratically elected governor of Delta state.
The Ibrus are a power family in Delta state, and imprisoned former Delta governor, James Ibori has spoken about how the late Michael Ibru left his impact on businesses in Nigeria.
“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,” Ibori said via a statement signed by Tony Eluemunor, his media assistant.
“Although this business was cornered by expatriate firms, Ibru plunged into it. He established an importing company, rented and built cold storage facilities across the country. 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.”
“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.
Tributes roll in for late Michael Ibru
“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.”
“Olorogun Micheal Ibru was a shrewd businessman with a good heart,” the speaker of the Delta state House of Assembly, Monday Igbuya also said in a statement.
“Olorogun Michael Ibru as an international businessman, philanthropist, educator, a lover of children, and also a grassroots organizer. He was also community leader and gained the respect, trust and love of the entire country. He will be greatly missed.”