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Sans pomp and ceremony, the signification of the honorary Doctorate Degree in Business Administration conferred by the Edo State University, Iyamho, on Saturday, November 5, 2022, on the Chairman of the iconic indigenous construction giant, Setraco Nigeria Limited and founder/Chairman of a fast-growing civil engineering and construction company, Hartland Nigeria Limited, Chief (Dr) Abu Inu Umoru, cannot be discounted.

The university ambiance where the ritual of Chief (Dr) Abu Inu Umoru’s recognition took place was largely influenced by his immense discipline and inimitable self-effacement. As the Kauthar of Auchi Sacred Kingdom, whose persona has become characteristically writ large, a recognition such as this should have stretched his solid bank of social capital to its limits by the huge number of family members, friends, and business associates that would have converged on the university campus to celebrate with him.

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The Otaru of Auchi had, some years back, seen a shining star in the firmament of Afenmai land and had thoughtfully conferred the title of Kauthar on him in recognition of his abundance, yet humility in all beautiful things. Significantly, Chief (Dr) Abu Inu-Umoru continues to obviate potential human excesses by reining his humility to preponderate the atmospherics and nuances of his social interactions.

To be sure, the title of Kauthar, is derived from “Al-Kauthar”, a river or lake in Paradise, as explicated in Sura (chapter) 108 of the Quran, meaning “abundance”. Sura 108, which extols the worth of abundance would itself be modest as it is the shortest chapter in the Quran, consisting of three verses. Despite Chief (Dr) Abu Inu-Umoru’s abundant riches, the magnitude of his wealth, and the goodness of life that the Almighty God has bestowed on him, the 59-year-old urbane businessman, fondly addressed as “Chairman” by friends and family members, and by which moniker I would address him subsequently in this piece, has been able to easily remain humble amid his great accomplishments.

Modesty would appear to be domiciled in Chairman’s gene. It is not something that is practiced; he is not pretentious about it in any form or shape. It flows naturally from him, especially to his significant others. He must have perhaps drawn important lessons from Chinua Achebe’s admonition in “Things Fall Apart” that those whose palm kernels have been cracked for them by the benevolent spirit should learn to be humble. Instructively, in his humility is the vastness of his eleemosynary acts, which he has deployed in touching many people without publicity. The truth is that he would not crave publicity as many in his class who are also into charitable works are wont to do.

The event that took place on the Edo State University campus at Iyamho, which witnessed a minimalist response by Chairman was a reflection of the summative deportment of a man who could mobilise influential friends to grace the occasion of his honorary Doctorate Degree conferment but would rather choose not to encourage public excitement over it or go out of his way to create some razzmatazz just for the sake of showiness. Not a few people would have rolled out the drum in festivity. And, this, obviously, is not in the character of the Chairman.


The Iyamho outing was obligatorily a quiet celebration. He was deliberate about the protocol for the outing. He kept it simple. He received the honours with a handful of friends and family members, practically discounting what would have counted for much to many others. This critical component of his character explicates the multidimensional contemplations in which his persona can be contextualized for essential deconstruction and a clear narrative of his beautiful earthly voyage thus far.

Chairman’s existential story of “from grace to grace” is a beautiful one. Having had a silver spoon upbringing, he would transit seamlessly to build his personal businesses-Hartland Engineering and Construction company and other businesses- from the scratch into a bourgeoning empire, proving as it were to be an accomplished engineering and construction business mogul. He has continued to silently deploy his sagacity and commitment in providing leadership to his siblings to consolidate on the family business-Setraco Nigeria Limited. Through that instrumentality, he has helped to preserve and build on the legacies of businesses and investments that their patriarch, the late Chief Inu Umoru, left behind.


Now, to be able to bestride the entire field of businesses owned by him in addition to the family business as a gentle colossus that he is, Chairman had passed through the mills to conquer himself and mortify fleshly cravings that are capable of making one to lose focus. His thoughts were on all fours, finding anchorage in Plato’s postulation that “for a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories.” And this orientation is not totally different from Aristotle’s thoughts that “what lies in our power to do, lies in our power not to do.” Chairman took deliberate steps to cut a niche for himself in business while the father was alive and has continued to do the same in the administration of his businesses, through discipline, which Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker, once averred, was the bridge between goals and accomplishment.

And as Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th U.S. President, once said: “With self-discipline, almost anything is possible”; whereas, “humility”, according to Confucius, a Chinese philosopher and politician of the Spring and Autumn period who is traditionally considered the paragon of Chinese sages, “is the solid foundation of all virtues.” Chief (Dr) Abu Inu Umoru has both in abundance. The management of Edo State University, Iyamho, must have examined his trajectory in life and business including the magnitude of his accomplishments to come to the decision that conferring on him a Doctorate Degree (Honoris Causa) in Business Administration was apposite.


The Registrar of the university, Sir Habib I. Ekhalefo validated this decision on the occasion when he said that the honoree (Chief Dr Abu Inu Umoru) had in no small measures helped the institution to develop capacity for the staff members and students. He stated that Chairman had also contributed immensely to many areas of development and interests that “the university holds dear to its heart”. The anchor of the convocation ceremony, Professor Marcel Okhaiku, described Chairman as “an apple that has not fallen far from the tree.” Chairman keeps marching, surefooted, to greater heights. This is congratulating him (Chairman) on this recognition and wishing him more feathers in his cap.

Sufuyan Ojeifo contributed this piece from Abuja via

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