POLSCOPE with Eddy Odivwri, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, SMS: 08053069356
Last Tuesday, the news broke: Olorogun Michael Christopher Onajirevbe Ibru passed on at 86, almost.
We had just returned, few weeks ago, from the funeral of his immediate younger brother, Felix Ovuodoroye Ibru at Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.
For quite some time, the patriarch of the Ibru clan had been ill.
No space is enough to do a fitting tribute to a foremost entrepreneur and visionary leader. But it is enough to say that he saw the future with an uncommon binocular so much that at 26, he had hit the bull’s eye by establishing his own business, Lalbru outfit which transformed expanded rapidly to become a flourishing empire, that spread to such sectors like oil and gas, media, real estate, building construction, hospitality, brewery, banking, auto dealership, aviation etc.
He was our own economic Nostradamus.
His determination to solve the problem of his age (how to tackle malnutrition among families) drove him to discover the fishing business. He made a huge success of the fishing venture so much that there was hardly any family in Nigeria that did not know of the Ibru fish brand. He created the brand and it defined him. Despite several challenges and his legion of detractors, Olorogun, as he was fondly called, soldiered on to create a solid Ibru dynasty that grew and spread in dimensions hitherto unknown and unseen.
As a budding child, we had grown to hear of the mystifying fame associated with the Ibrus. The family represented a metaphor for wealth and inexplicable fame and influence. Olorogun was rarely seen, but whenever he made an appearance, it was with elan and panache. Either deliberately or unconsciously, he helped to create the Ibru mystique, not only as an illustrious Urhobo son, but a towering Pan-Nigerian, nay global phenomenon.
Or how else was one to interpret the greatness of a man who in the early 70’s had whitemen as his driver? Olorogun, sleep on and If there is any recession in the world beyond, teach them how to overcome.
He’s played his part and bowed out of the stage, but the worry remains: where are the suckers that will take the place of the mother plantain?