Sylvester Idowu writes that dignitaries from all walks of life poured encomiums on Late Olorogun Michael Ibru, who was buried recently in his home town of Agbarha-Otor, Ughelli North Council Area of Delta State
For indigenes of the sleepy Agbara-Otor in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State, they have lost a rare gem and an illustrious son in Olorogun Michael Christopher Onajirhevbe Ibru.
So when the remains of the late industrialist and quintessential businessman was brought home for interment, they turned out en mass to give their last respects to a worthy son that brought the community into limelight.
For the love of their patriarch, the people of the area decorated their community with festive buntings awaiting the arrival of Olorogun Ibru whom they saw as the pillar of Agbara-Otor with his several industries located in the community.
As early as 7a.m. on Tuesday, hundreds of indigenes of the community thronged his palatial home to witness his lying-in-state along with dignitaries from within and outside the country. They wore a solemn look as the passed the golden coffin where his remains laid.
The atmosphere was calm and quiet but it was obvious that his kinsmen and women will find it difficult to find a replacement for him. No speech was made during the lying-in-state.
But later in the evening of Tuesday, during the service of songs held at Michael Ibru University, Agbara-Otor, people could no longer keep quiet and allowed his remains to go without appreciating the human and infrastructural development he brought not only to the community but also Delta State.
The officiating minister at the service of songs, Rev. C. O. Odutemu, said Olorogun Michael Ibru’s legacies supersedes wealth adding that what most people seek to emulate from him is humility.
He described the deceased as a man with Midas touch noting that every business he touched ultimately flourished.
The priest urged all present at the event which was witnessed by prominent Nigerians including Senators, House of Representative members and top politicians within and outside Delta State to emulate the selfless service of the deceased in the development of his community and welfare of his people.
Governorship aspirant on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, said he became what he is today because of the encouragement he got from the deceased.
He said his relationship with people within and outside the state is as a result of what he gained from Olorogun Michael Ibru.
One would have thought the encomiums on the deceased would have ended at the service of songs that Tuesday but the turnout the following day, Wednesday was marvelous as prominent Nigerians including the former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, turned up for the final interment of the late business mogul.
Agbara-Otor was turned into a Mecca of sorts as the remains of the renowned industrialist, Olorogun Michael Ibru, were committed to mother earth amidst further encomiums and tributes.
Prominent dignitaries that witnessed the burial included former Vice President, Ekwueme, Governors Ifeanyi Okowa and Godwin Obaseki of Delta and Edo states respectively as well as former Federal Information Commissioner and Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, among others.
Speaking at the funeral service of late Olorogun Ibru at the All Saints’ Cathedral Church, Anglican Communion in Ughelli, the Delta State governor, Okowa, charged all Delta people to unite to allow development spread round the state.
While commiserating with the Ibru family, Okowa also appealed to them to stay united and live as one family, noted that their living together will bring honour and respect to the late Michael Ibru.
Okowa described the late Ibru family patriarch as a man who touched the lives of so many people in the state, country and the world at large, calling on all well-meaning Nigerians to emulate the exemplary life of the late business tycoon.
“I want to plead with each and every one of us, no matter what might have gone wrong that it is time for us to unite and truly forget the past because it is only then that can we able to say that we have done that which our father, Olorogun Michael Ibru has asked us to do.
“There is no doubt that he has impacted the lives of people in Delta State and the world, and I am glad that a lot of good things have been said about him. He was a great man and still a great man even in death.
“A lot of people are rich but they are arrogant with their riches. That is not the life that we expect people to live, and it is my plea to those who live, especially the extended family of Ibru family that the best we can do is to ensure that we stay humble in all that we do. A very humble heart is a loving heart. Every humble heart is for unity and for peace.”
On his part, the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, during his sermon, appealed to all Christians to reconcile all their problems with God before “the final day of rest.”
In his sermon taken from the book of Matthew 11:28, Most Revd. Okoh described death as a permanent rest that is free from all of life’s worries and calamities.
He reminded all that gathered to pay their last respect to the Late Michael Ibru that they should do all they can to make their life straight with God, saying that the time is short and they must therefore act now to save themselves from the clutches of death.
While describing late Michael Ibru as a great man who has lived a fulfilled life and has touched a lot of lives, Most Revd. Okoh appealed to the family to keep the legacy of their father alive, adding that the only way they can do that was for them to live together as one indivisible family.
In his condolence message to the Ibru family, former Vice President, Ekwuwme, said: “The Ibru family should be proud that Olorogun Michael Ibru in his lifetime, set up what was perhaps Nigeria’s largest indigenous conglomerate. May his soul rest in peace and rise in glory on the last day.”
On his part, Delta State Commissioner for Finance, Chief David Edevbie, said: “Michael Ibru was an inspirational leader and someone we the young ones looked up to as a leader and to be honest, we have very few of such persons especially in Urhoboland that is very divided.”
On his part, the Isoko South council chairman, Constantine Ikpoko said: “He was a man who lived a fulfilled life at the age of 86. He left a legacy and was a man who was very humble despite his wealth.”
Dr. Ebenezer Okorodudu, said: “His loss is irreparable to the Urhobo nation. Michael Ibru was one of the few world’s best and greatest ever to live in Urhoboland.”
According to Kenneth Afejuku, “Michael Ibru was a great son of Delta, a brother to everybody and the greatest industrialist Delta State has ever produced.”
Other dignitaries at the event were Chief Frank Kokori, Gen. David Ejoor (rtd), Gen. Obada, Gen. Ovadje, Ambassador Akporode Clark, Anglican bishops from within and outside Delta State and a cross-section of chiefs. For Olorogun Michael Ibru who was born on December 25, 1930, his journey in life came to an end on September 6, 2016.