Published On: Fri, Sep 23rd, 2016

The legacies of Olorogun Michael Ibru

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 September 23, 201

Olorogun Michael Ibru who died at 85 on Tuesday, September 6, 2016, was unarguably one of the most successful Nigerian entrepreneurs of his generation. His footsteps are visible in many areas of the country’s economy.

Olorogun Michael Ibru Olorogun Michael Ibru

Olorogun Michael Ibru Olorogun Michael Ibru

Starting from the age of 26 when he quit paid employment and went into private business, he became a pioneer who made the Ibru family successful in the ventures they entered into. What was outstanding in Michael Ibru’s business strides was the boldness with which he ventured into uncharted sectors that placed him at great advantage with his competitors.

Besides the fishing business which he dominated in the years following Nigeria’s independence with the signature, Ibru Fish, Michael Ibru was able to build a series of businesses that eventually grew into what became known as the Ibru Organisation. Olorogun Michael Ibru Olorogun Michael Ibru

For the challenges he faced and the strides he made, it is notable that the late Ibru was rarely mentioned in squalid stories or squabbles that became the lot of many others faced with the kind of challenges that came his way. This culture of sound business ethics undoubtedly played a major role in positioning him and the siblings he groomed as good contacts for several foreign investors who sought out the Ibru’s as business partners.

Michael Ibru also set a good example for many Nigerians in the way he mentored his siblings and children. As the eldest of the seven children of his parents, he became a role model, encourager, and facilitator to his younger brothers, all of whom rose to become icons in their different spheres of business activities.

It is perhaps to his credit that the Ibru name spread to several areas of endeavour. In fishing, hospitality, tourism, aviation, publishing, automobile distribution, banking and even to the spiritual matters of enriching the souls the Ibru name, indeed, became a flagship.

This was because one man made the sacrifices and focused with great discipline and self-effacement, the nurturing of a family business conglomerate that is unique not just in Nigeria but the African continent. This culture of family solidarity as demonstrated by Michael Ibru is worthy of emulation for other entrepreneurs. We need strong family values. Michael Ibru’s ability to create and nurture the Ibru brand towers above the usual fare of family infighting and struggles to grab wealth built by deceased family members.

It is even more outstanding in this era of total breakdown of family values due to increasing poverty, whereby children murder their parents and parents sell their children, sometimes for peanuts. We celebrate Ibru, not because of his wealth, but for his exemplary leadership qualities and wealth as well as personal conduct, which we recommend to Nigerians. We wish him eternal rest in the Lord.


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