By Prof. Mike A. A. Ozekhome, SAN, CON, OFR, Ph. D.
In the annals of human history, there are rare individuals whose indomitable spirit and unwavering determination to succeed enable them to carve out a lasting legacy. One such exceptional man in Nigeria is Chief (Dr) Abu Inu-Umoru. Abu’s remarkable achievements are an inspiration and constitute an attestation that hard work, diligence, industry and humility do pay. Through his relentless pursuit of excellence, Abu has built a business empire that not only stands out as a symbol of his accomplishments, but also as a beacon of hope and inspiration for all those who dare to dream. And dream big too.
ABU’S TENDERFEET: THE MORNING TELLS THE DAY
Chief (Dr) Abu Inu-Umoru clocked 60 on 9th of May, 2023. Every astounding journey begins with a spark of ambition. Our celebrant’s story is no different, having breathed the oxygen of life on 9th of May, 1963.
Born and raised by a father who was also a very successful businessman, Chief Abu, from a very early age, possessed an insatiable quest and hunger for success. Guided by an unwavering belief in his innate abilities, he nurtured his tall dreams and embarked on a path less travelled. He left Nigeria for the United States of America in 1984, to pursue his unwavering love for learning and the desire to improve himself. He got an Associate’s Degree from the College of Alameda in California in 1986 and a Bachelor’s Degree (B.Sc.) in Business Administration from Central Connecticut State University in Connecticut, in 1989. He is also an alumnus of the Harvard Business School, graduating from the University’s Owner / President Management Course (OPM43) of 2013.
HOW ABU ACHIEVED HIS SUCCESS
The Warrake, Edo State- born business Czar is very intentional. It was this unique attribute, among other things, that EASILY endeared him to his late multi-billionaire father, Alhaji Inu Umoru. He took deliberate steps to establish a position for himself in the financial world, even while his father was still alive. He has continued to do same to date. Hard work and the fear of God are the very foundation upon which this colosus built his octopaedal business empire. He understood very early in life that success is not a coincidence, but rather, a product of persistent and unwavering efforts. Tirelessly dedicating himself to his craft, Abu toiled day and night, honing his skills and striving for excellence. His work ethic became legendary, as he embraced challenges, not as obstacles, but as stepping stones towards his ultimate goal. When Setraco Nigeria Ltd (SNL), one of the companies established by his late business mogul father, was plunged into a N17 billion-debt, Chief Abu Inu Umoru deployed his good corporate practice and experience in exposing financial scams within the company. He started plugging fiscal leakages such that the N17 billion debt portfolio he met, which was largely orchestrated through manipulations of overdrafts with the company’s bankers, was cleared within two years of his finance directorship. Today, SNL has a clean balance sheet, charting once again the trajectory of profitability; and, in fact, owing no bank anywhere in the world. What a story!
ABU UMORU’S BUSINESS CONGLOMERATE
Amongst other endeavours, Abu is currently the Chairman (CEO) of Setraco Nigeria Ltd (a foremost construction giant in Nigeria); Petra Quarries Ltd; (a Mining and Quarrying firm); Aerotek Agro – Allied Company Ltd; (an emerging Mixed Mechanized Farm Estate in Edo; State), Beer Barn Ltd; and Presto Hotels Ltd; just mention a few.
Having grown up in affluence, Abu, unlike many “Aje Butter” children who have their palm kernels cracked for them by a benevolent spirit has transitioned into building his own companies—Hartland Engineering and Construction company and other businesses—from the very scratch, up to a burgeoning empire. He has thus demonstrated his abilities as a successful engineering and construction business mogul. He has continued to subtly use his enduring dedication and family values to avail his siblings the desired leadership with a view to strengthening Setraco Nigeria Limited, the familly tree. He has, through this instrumentality, contributed tremendously to maintaining and expanding the companies and interests that their late patriarch, Chief Inu Umoru, left behind.
ABU’S ABIDING PRINCIPLES
Abu’s unwavering commitment towards the pursuit of his goals became the guiding principle of this visionary man. With an unwavering focus, he relentlessly pursued his dreams, undeterred by man-made setbacks and obstacles. Each failure rather served as a valuable lesson; propelling him forward with renewed vigour and determination. Through his diligence and conscientiousness, he not only built a business empire, but has also fostered an environment where others could thrive. Our visionary man has since built a commonwealth that is poised to withstand the tribulations and trials of time. His visionary leadership, coupled with an unyielding focus on innovation, has transformed industries and left an indelible mark on society. The empire he has built is not just a conglomerate of material wealth; it is a lasting testament to his deep family values and life principles; certainly an embodiment of his unflagging spirit.
YET, ABU REMAINS HUMBLE
Notwithstanding his laudable achievements, Chief (Dr) Abu Inu-Umoru is not arrogant; he also does not practise it. He simply exhibits modesty. He wears humility naturally like a second skin. While many successful individuals succumb to the temptations of arrogance and aphrodisiac trappings of power, Abu, our celebrant, personifies the virtues of diffidence and self-effacement. He understands that true greatness lies, not in personal individualistic accolades and aggradisement, but in the collective success of his team. By treating every person with respect and recognizing their individual contributions and worth, the Edo State University, Iyamoh, honorary Degree holder, has created a culture of collaboration, team work and unity within his business empire. This humility and team spirit have endeared him to those around him, fostering utmost loyalty and dedication among his employees. In celebration of his greatness and humility in all lovely things, the Otaru of Auchi bestowed the title of Kauthar (Abundance; multitude) on him some time ago after spotting him as a shining star in the firmament of Afenmai land. Importantly, Chief (Dr) Abu Inu-Umoru keeps possible human excesses at bay by letting his humility rule the circumstances and subtleties of his social interactions.
ABU’S SUCCESS STORY AS LESSONS FOR OTHERS
We celebrate the uncommon attributes of this quintessential humble man and philanthropist extraordinaire. Abu’s should serve as a great lesson to anyone who has ever harboured any doubts about what humility and industry can do in the life of a great man. Like sweetness draws bees, humility has drawn prayers, compliments, and encouraging remarks from others. These, the All-Powerful God has combined into answered petitions. Additionally, God has added wisdom and a discerning mind to the bouquet of Abu’s rare grace and blessings.
Even at an age of 60, Chief Abu Inu-Umoru has significantly contributed to society in ineffable dimensions, while maintaining a rare level of mental discipline and humility. Abu possesses the necessary skills and means to court the media, embrace to the spotlight and limelight. Yet, he has instead, chosen the noble route of quietude, serenity, restraint and stoicism. But, there’s no denying that Chief Abu Inu-Umoru is still at the top of his game. He understands how to build and run his business relationships. He mentors and moulds people. But, he gives all the credit and glory to God Almighty.
I wish this my friend, brother and soul mate a happy birthday as he reaches the milestone of “Diamond” in his life. May you, Abu, experience Gen. 6: 3. Itsee.