Pomp as Abu Inu-Umoru hits Diamond, By Sufuyan Ojeifo
On Friday, May 5, 2023 (just last week), a delegation of Uwuake Community Progressive Union, Abuja branch, paid a courtesy visit on the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba. Chairman of the union, Mr Abdulrazaq Salami, was at the head of the delegation whose mission was to thank the minister for facilitating the construction of the Warrake-Iyakhara-Egono Road and the remediation of a gully erosion site in the community by the federal government.
During the conversation around the road project, it became necessary for the minister to let his visitors know how the road project caught the attention of the federal government. He told members of the delegation that their son, Dr Abu Inu Umoru (Chairman of Setraco Nigeria Limited), was the one who, when he was given an opportunity to ask for a favour from government, decided to opt for the construction of a road that will benefit the community.
The point that the minister underscored during the conversation was the selflessness of Dr Abu Inu -Umoru. The minister said that as a contractor who was being owed by government, he (Inu-Umoru) could have asked for the facilitation of payment of debt owed his company by the government. He dd not do so; he also did not ask that another contract or even the contract for the road project be given to him; rather he just requested that this road be constructed by the federal government for the benefit of the community.
Clem Agba’s noteworthy testimonial of Abu Inu-Umoru’s altruism is summoned for appreciation on his 60th birthday today (May 9, 2023). Very few people would toe his path in a world where self-preservation is the first law of nature. The Kauthar of Auchi continues to devote his life to the promotion of public good. His inclination to charitable works is incredibly writ-large. He is a reliable significant other in the intercourse between friendship and business, always offering his shoulders in support of others. I am a beneficiary of Abu Inu Umoru’s large-heartedness.
A scion of the wealthy family of the late Alhaji Inu Umoru of Warrake in Owan East Local Government Area of Edo State, Abu Inu-Umoru’s eleemosynary acts and humility continue to set him apart. It is the humility component of Abu Inu-Umoru’s essential character that I always celebrate on his natal day.
Read what I once wrote concerning him: “If anyone is in doubt about what humility can do in the life of a great man, I call his or her attention to the life of Abu Inu-Umoru, who is also the Chairman of Hartland Civil Construction Company, which had been very successfully run even while his father was alive, in fact, running side-by-side and neck-and-neck with Setraco, the family business.
“Humility, like sweetness attracts bees, attracts prayers, and has continued to attract good wishes, commendations, and positive comments from people for and about Abu Inu-Umoru, which the Almighty God aggregates into answered prayers. It is also evident that Abu Inu-Umoru is well advised by the Igbo proverb that is well deployed in Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart’ that ‘those whose palm kernel had been cracked for them by the benevolent spirit should learn to be humble’.”
I had, in a piece I penned last year, entitled “The song and dance as Abu Inu-Umoru turns 59”, posited that going by his disposition and predilection for showing love to people, he must have understood that life is worth living only to the extent that it is lived in the service of mankind. The intrepid businessman is, without a doubt, following the advice of Germany Kent, American print and broadcast journalist, television personality, former beauty queen, actress, businesswoman, producer, philanthropist and author, who once said: “Live your life in such a way that you will be remembered for your kindness, compassion, fairness, character, benevolence, and a force for good who had much respect for life, in general.”
In that corollary, Abu Inu-Umoru is also acting out the words of Michael Bassey Johnson in “The Book of Maxims, Poems and Anecdotes” to wit: “A fulfilled life doesn’t point to the number of years, awards, wealth and followers someone amassed for himself, but the number of faces that smile because of him.”
Read again, my essential verdict as I couched it in my tribute last year: “‘Chairman’, the moniker by which he is widely addressed, fits perfectly, for all times and purposes, into these significant nuggets of how to live a meaningful and fulfilled life and leave behind a body of legacies for posterity. Regardless of how importantly he affects your life, he does not want references to be made to the gesture…. Although he is taciturn, when he speaks, he carefully chooses his words, perhaps not wanting to hurt anyone. In a much more profound way, he gives expression and illumination to the Yoruba proverb, which is loosely translated thus: ‘Good words bring out kola nut from the pocket while bad words bring out sword from the sheath.’
“Indeed, on both scores of being taciturn and carefully choosing his words, his gravitas, in the face of his largely inexplicable humility, is made even more instructive by his almost shy disposition. Unlike many wealthy people, who flaunt what they have in the faces of others by their signature and archetypical styles, Abu Inu-Umoru’s self-effacing, affable character and his measured gait present a composite picture in self-restraint.
“Therefore, referring to him as ‘Chairman” in all situations and circumstances is in pari materia with the content of his disciplined character. No wrong characterization is contemplated here in this deliberate enterprise of penning a writ-large assessment of his individuality or alternatively in the task of painting his portraiture, remarking the “warts and all” to borrow the phrase of Oliver Cromwell, a politician and soldier, widely regarded as one of the most important statesmen in English history, to his portrait painter, Peter Lely.
“To be sure, Cromwell’s ‘warts and all’ means including features or qualities that are not appealing or attractive. That simply means that no man is perfect after all. Therefore, in painting Abu Inu-Umoru’s portrait, especially the components of his corporeal configuration that harbours his humanitarian essence, I am consensus ad idem with a friend who knows Chairman very well that he (Chairman) is a special handiwork of God’s creation, and his kinds are rare.”
At 60, Abu Inu-Umoru has done so much to positively affect humanity, and he has, through a rare mental discipline, continued to remain humble about his accomplishments. Whereas, he has all it takes to court the media; to hug the limelight; and, to etch himself in people’s consciousness by the power of the written (through the print media) or spoken word (through the broadcast media), he has chosen the ennobling path of quietude, almost verging on solitude. But, make no mistake about it, Abu Inu-Umoru remains atop his game. He knows how to conduct and strengthen his businesses through networking.
As he hits “Diamond” in the voyage of life, I take the opportunity of this celebratory piece to wish the inimitable Chairman a happy birthday. May the Almighty God bless both the years in his life and the life in his years.
Postscript: Last year, I wrote this: “Although he is characteristically spartan, trying to shun the song and dance that should normally attend the Especial Day, family members and friends should do the needful to celebrate this beautiful soul. I have done my bit.”
Revision: Read my current position in 2023- 60 years is a landmark! Its attainment, in our clime where life expectancy is about 52 (as of 2020), should be celebrated with pomp and ceremony. The ball is in the court of Dr Abu Inu-Umoru, the Kauthar of Auchi sacred Kingdom.
● Mr Ojeifo wrote this tribute from Abuja via [email protected]