Olorogun Michael Christopher Onajirhevbe Ibru, the patriarch of the Ibru family and Otota of Agbarha-Otor kingdom is dead.
A statement by the family confirmed that the Otota of Agbarha-Otor kingdom died at a medical facility in the United States of America in the early hours of Tuesday, September 6, 2016, following complications from a protracted illness at the age of 86.
The deceased, husband of former managing director of Oceanic Bank, Cecilia Ibru, died five weeks after his brother, Felix, who died in March this year, was buried.
The late Ibru, whose success in the world of business is legendary, attended the famous Igbobi College, Lagos between 1948 and 1951.
Ibru, after leaving Igbobi College, secured a job in the United African Company (now UACN), as a manager-in-training.
To test his entrepreneurial skills, he resigned from the UACN group in 1956 and founded the Ibru Organisation with the establishment of a modest trading company then called Laibru Limited.
Within a very short time, his trading companies expanded and became one of the largest wholly indigenous business conglomerates on the whole length of the West Coast of Africa.
It soon crystallised in the distribution of frozen fish, with the humanitarian objective of eliminating malnutrition among all people living in Nigeria by providing them with low-priced, high-protein food. The name Ibru became synonymous with frozen fish.
The departed generous man of industry and wisdom, in his life time employed his wealth for the material and intellectual well-being of his fellow men.
It is on record that the late Ibru donated a whole college – Agbarha College, later re-named Ibru College – to his people; donated classroom blocks, vehicles and money to various educational institutions and charity organisations; awarded several scholarships to deserving Nigerian students in secondary schools and institutions of higher learning both in Nigeria and abroad.
He also sponsored various sporting activities in order to ensure an even development of the mind, soul and body, which is the primary objective of education.
In full recognition of his dedicated service to mankind, the former Midwest State government appointed Olorogun Michael Ibru member of the Provisional Council of the University of Benin in 1975.
Aside from being a member of the African Development Bank President’s Round Table of Businessmen in Africa, Olorogun Ibru was also a member of the Business Advisory Council of the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
His exploits in the field of business also afforded him the opportunity to serve as Council member of the bodies including: Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Nigeria-United States Business Council.
The late Ibru had a deluge of recognitions and awards for his enterprise. Among the awards are: Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) in 1981; Outstanding Businessman Award of the Nigerian American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 1983; Honorary Doctor of Laws (Hon. LL.D.) of the University of Benin (1978) and University of Ibadan (1978), Doctor of Agriculture (Honoraris Causa), University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, 2004.
Olorogun as he was fondly called during his lifetime, also in 2003, won the Zik Prize in Leadership and in 2005, received the prestigious Dr Kwame Nkruma Excellence in Enterprise Award.