At her prime as the head honcho of the defunct financial powerhouse, Oceanic Bank, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru commanded immense respect from all and sundry. She was a socialite of high repute with a heavy financial war chest to fund her lifestyle. She was classy, highly cerebral, cosmopolitan, stylish, and well-composed. She is well lettered in finance and economics. Her home was a mecca of sorts for favour seekers who needed one financial help or the other. She was indeed generous to a fault. During her reign, several businesses benefited from her milk of kindness until everything went south.
During the reign of former Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi in the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mrs Ibru was alleged to have mismanaged funds and misused her office. She was said to have given enormous loans in billions of dollars out to cronies without proper documentation and collateral. Simultaneously, she was also battling the deteriorating health of her husband; Chief Michael Ibru. As a means of recouping the bad debts and loans, the CBN and the EFCC confiscated her choice properties in Nigeria, Dubai, and London. She could not cope with the loss. During her travails, everyone deserted her as she also battled her deteriorating health.
The sociology graduate from the University of London was thrown off balance. During her trial and sentence in 2010, Mrs Ibru also disclosed that her travails with the CBN were a witch-hunt by her detractors who are jealous of her growing influence and astronomic rise in the banking industry. After serving her 6month jail term, she withdrew completely from all social activities into her cocoon. She paid more attention to the health of her hubby and herself. Sources said she felt betrayed as those she staked her life for never came through for her.
“She finds it hard to trust anyone again. She felt betrayed by her close associates. Those she secured loans to fund and grow their business abandoned her when she needed them the most. Her phone that used to ring endlessly, stopped. Staying away from ‘fake people’ was the best option for her. The only friend she has is her immediate family,” another source said.
Many of her admirers are said to be worried about her whereabouts, staying completely off the social radar even after the demise of her husband a few years ago. Sources averred that she is currently gathering momentum, getting back her groove as an educationist. “After her ordeal, she has vowed to start all over again regardless of what it might take. She has found a new love in education. The Michael and Cecilia University she co-founded in 2015 with her husband in Delta State is gradually picking up with lots of students. She spends a lot of time with the varsity administration. She is happy with the presence of students around her, it keeps her going stronger and putting the past behind her. She also spends time looking after her adopted son,” a close family source divulged.
By Oladapo Sofowora