Rumors & Gossips | 4 May 2012 06:51 CET


By Bola Akinboade

The Ibru brothers (Michael, Felix, late Bernard, Goodie and late Alex) are very known in Nigeria. Their prominence and popularity stemmed from their entrepreneurial acumen and the tightly knitted brotherhood that exists among them.

Today, their business empire which includes virtually all the sectors of Nigerian economy is in billions of naira. But 3 recent events have put a question mark on the brotherhood and brotherliness that has been existing amongst them for sometime now.

One of the events was the law suit instituted by Omamo Investments Corporation, a company solely owned by Alex Ibru, against Tourism Company Nigeria, the owners of Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, in which Goodie Ibru, is the chairman and late Alex, a director.

The law suit came up on Wednesday, March 14, 2012, at Federal Palace High Court, Victoria Island, Lagos. Although, people are insinuating that Mrs Maiden Ibru, Alex's wife, instituted the law suit against her brother-in-law, we reliably gathered that the case had been instituted by Alex himself before he died, and that his wife was only carrying out her late husband's orders. And going by what Lady Maiden Ibru said in court when she was allowed by the judge to speak, it showed that Alex was disappointed in his immediate elder brother, Goodie. It also buttressed the fact that Maiden Ibru was acting on her husband's instruction by going to court.

This is what Maiden Ibru said in court, 'Six months before my husband died, the doctors told me that he was going to die,' she began. 'And for five months, he was out of circulation and nobody saw him. Even his family members did not bother about him.'

As she explained, the late Alex Ibru was so dissatisfied with his kinsmen that he embarked on a hunger strike two weeks before his eventual death. When the family members learnt of it, some of them, including Goodie, visited him.

'Then my husband said he was going to fight him to the finish, dead or alive. That even when he dies, he would continue the fight unless Goodie resigned as chairman of the company — Tourist Company Nigeria Plc,' she continued. 'He said that of all his brothers, the last person that he thought would betray him was Goodie.

They had altered some of the company's documents, diverted money and committed all sort of atrocities without the knowledge of my husband. I am a widow and I have children to take care of.'

In a revelation that shocked those present at the court, Maiden said that as she was about to enter the court, she saw her husband, who encouraged her to proceed with her actions, because he was himself unhappy with Goodie.

Suing on behalf of Omamo Investments Corporation, owned by her late husband, Maiden is seeking to close down Tourist Company, which owns the Federal Palace Hotel and Casino located in Victoria Island, Lagos, on allegations of indebtedness.

'Omamo Investments, between 2003 and 2009, lent to the Tourist Company $7.1m, N610m, N381m and N19m, which the company has been unable to repay,' she wrote in her petition. She prayed the court to wind up the company for insolvency, adding that she had made several futile demands on the respondent.

'The respondent has failed beyond resuscitation, has insufficient assets to meet its liabilities, does not have the capacity to meet the conditions for which it was incorporated, and has suffered a total erosion of its capital base,' she argued. 'The respondent is both cash-flow and balance-sheet insolvent, and has not been carrying on effectively, the business of hotelling and catering.'

She then urged the court to wind up the Company under the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, CAP C20 LFN 2004, and appoint the President of the Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) or any nominee of his as provisional liquidator.

As a result of the on-going crisis, the Ibrus family were conspicuously absent at the traditional white wedding of the daughter of Lady Maiden Ibru and late Alex which took place on Saturday April 21, 2012 at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.

It was an absence that was noticed by some of the guests who made it a point of discussion while leaving the venue of the marriage ceremony

Even the letter of invitation sent out by Mrs Maiden Ibru, showed that the entire Ibru family were sidetracked in the traditional wedding. The letter heading was Lady Maiden Ibru instead of the family of Late Alex Ibru. These are certainly an indication of a big crack in the family.

Oskar Ibru, who stood in as the father of the bride on that day couldn't have done so if all is well within the Ibru family.

The statement made by Aremo Olusegun Osoba, who acted more or less as the father of the day, was also an indication that money is tearing apart the Ibru brothers.

Aremo Olusegun Osoba said in his capacity as the chairman at the reception, that, late Alex Ibru tokld him and Sam Amuka(publisher of Vanguard Newspaper), on his sick bed that they should stand in as fathers for his daughter during her wedding. The two were very conspicuous at the traditional wedding of Anita Ibru.

If all is well within the family, why would the man ask his friends to stand in for him as his daughter's fathers on the day of her wedding when two of his elder brothers are still alive and hale and hearty.

We learnt that Anita's white wedding will come up later this year in London. Meanwhile, Anita will be living with her husband, Marcel Kouassigan in Accra, Ghana, pending that time. He is the Head, Marketing and Client Services, Cal Bank, Accra, Ghana.

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