Former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, former Vice president Atiku Abubakar and eminent industrialist and former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Kalu, yesterday paid glowing tributes to Olorogun Michael Ibru, who passed on during the week at the age of 85.
While Jonathan described him as a successful businessman who blazed the trail for significant local entrepreneurship, Atiku said he was a rare breed and an enigma.
In his message of condolence, Kalu said Ibru contributed immensely to the social, economic and political development of Nigeria, adding that the late entrepreneur impacted lives positively through his vast business empire.
Kalu, who acknowledged the humility, generosity and selflessness of the late philanthropist, noted that Olorogun Ibru was committed to the well-being of the people in all his endeavours.
“He was a source of inspiration not only to his peers but also the younger generation who looked up to him in their business pursuits,” Kalu said in a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Prince Kunle Oyewumi.
He added: “Despite his accomplishments in life, he never looked down on anyone regardless of age, social and economic differences. Olorogun Ibru’s memories will linger forever in the minds of Nigerians as he was well-known for his humanitarian gestures. We will sorely miss him”.
The former governor tasked the Ibru family to uphold the exemplary qualities of their late patriarch, adding that the late business icon will be remembered for creating job opportunities and wealth for the people.
While commiserating with the Urhobo nation, Kalu urged Delta State government to immortalise the late elder statesman by naming a landmark project in his name.
He prayed God to grant the deceased eternal rest and also give his family the fortitude to bear the sad loss.
Similarly, Jonathan said Ibru led an exemplary life of humility, despite his vast resources.
“He was a model entrepreneur who grew a local enterprise into a conglomerate that became the envy of even the multinationals. In the areas where he operated, be it fishing, construction or transportation, he blazed a trail in organizational and corporate leadership. His renowned acumen in business management has become an indispensable guide to serious minded entrepreneurs. He was also a cultural icon and historic figure who not only passionately embraced the custom and traditions of his people, but also committed so much towards ensuring the ascendancy of the Urhobo rich cultural heritage.
In a statement by his Media Office, the Turaki Adamawa said Ibru was a leading indigenous entrepreneur who pioneered the strong belief that indigenous entrepreneurs can also excel and compete with foreign partners adding that he competed with foreign entrepreneurs and distinguished himself as a businessman.