Several prominent Nigerians on Wednesday honoured late Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs with their presence at a Service of Songs/Tributes Nite at the EUI Centre Monaco, off Sani Abacha Road, Port Harcourt.
Those present included former Governor of Rivers State, Sir (Dr) Peter Odili; former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe; former Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN; Senator Magnus Abe; and former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Onueze Okocha.
Others were Managing Director of Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo; Etim Okon, chairman of Cross River State Council of Traditional Rulers; HRH Eze Leslie Eke, Eze Gbakagbaka of Evo kingdom; Damian Dodo, SAN; King Joshua Igbaguru, pioneer chairman of Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council; clergy, amongst others.
It was an evening of solemn tunes, praise and worship, tributes, and testaments in honour of a great man who rose through the challenges of life to become a success in almost everything his hands touched.
Mercy Chinwo, others took praise and worship to a new height
The irrepressible and effervescent Mercy Chinwo took praise and worship to a new height as she sonorously held the audience spellbound in a blaze of glory and fitting for such a platform that sought to honour a man who God used to bless humanity.
Of particular brilliance was Oma Pitch, Lemuel Iyalla, Sodienye O’mailey, and Ibifuro Olungwe who gave outstanding solo performances that literarily transcended everybody present to the heavens in what may be a glimpse of how angels praise God almighty daily.
Dateme Lulu-Briggs took the first lesson from Revelation 21:1-17, while one of the granddaughters, Miss Melody Lulu-Briggs took the second scripture from 1st Corinthians 15:20-26.
Then the tributes began to pour in. It was indeed a most glorious evening, with each speaker giving an insight into the O.B Lulu-Briggs many never knew or know too well.
E.S Amachree set the ball rolling when he declared that the history of Nigeria will never be complete without devoting some pages to the late O.B Lulu-Briggs, pointing out that the departed business guru fought for an equal country.
He recalled how the deceased travelled all over Nigeria demanding that each region be accorded respect, in addition to being a torn in the flesh of military administrations.
According to him, as a way of fighting his cause, he founded the Southern Leadership Forum and Eastern Mandate Union, two vehicles through which he espoused his ideas and the need to have a united country built on trust and equity.
Rachael Lulu-Briggs, who gave the tribute on behalf of the family, said they popularly called the late High Chief O.B Briggs “The Last Don,” and was a loving father who touched the lives of everybody who came across him.
According to her, “God greatly blessed our father and together with his wife, they elevated philanthropy to a foundation that reached out to people from all walks of life.”
“High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs is still alive”
Magnus Abe described the late High Chief O. B Lulu-Briggs as a pillar in the community, amongst other great attributes and a leading example of what greatness can mean, even as he urged those gathered not to weep over him because he was a good man, who lived a good life.
“For those of you that never knew High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs during his young days that now see Chief Dumo Lulu Briggs, you will think that High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs is still alive. Because Dumo is a carbon copy of his father in his philanthropic nature and all that we are celebrating of the father today. High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs is still alive and is here with us,” he stated.
- C. J Okocha celebrated the unparalleled philanthropy and humanitarian outreaches of High Chief OB Lulu-Briggs, which touched many lives and impacted on the indigent, the widows, and less privileged, just as Ifie Sekibo, the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, said that High Chief O. B Lulu-Briggs picked him up from scratch to work for him and went down memory lane to explain how he mentored him and Dumo from practically being greenhorns with no experience in business, to become the seasoned corporate titans they metamorphosed into over the years.
In his sermon, premised on Psalm 39:4 titled “Lord, make me know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am,” the officiating minister and President, Christian Council of Nigeria, Most Reverend Dr. Benebo Fubara-Manuel, harped on the need to do good at all times and not allow challenges of life to harden our hearts to doing good.
Fubara-Manuel, who is also the Vice President, Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in West Africa, particularly emphasised that “our goodness and kind heart should not be left for tomorrow,” as the days are measured.
He praised the late O. B Lulu-Briggs for his philanthropy and kind-heartedness, pointing out that he used his resources to affect humanity in so many positive ways.
Something to note about late High Chief O. B Lulu-Briggs – son
Responding to the immeasurable number of encomiums showered on his late father, the chief mourner, and Head of Young Briggs House of Abonnema, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs recalled how early misfortune and family tragedies truncated his father’s dream of formal education which lasted only four years, after which he took life by the scruff of the neck and wrestled himself to greatness.
According to him, “He grew up to become the man that he was and it gladdens our hearts to know that when affluence came, he embraced the world with the warmth of that affluence and he gave like giving was getting out of fashion.
“And he will always say to you, that to thyself you must always be true and as day follows night, that which will be will be. He taught me that love is not an exchange. So you don’t love because you expect to be loved in return; that love was an act of faith – you just do it because you have to do it, expecting nothing in return and you’re doing it because you believe in God.
“And from his story, it is very clear that your background is not the reason your back is on the ground. That you can get moving.
“So on behalf of the Lulu-Briggs family, I thank all of us who are still here; traditional rulers who have come from Bakassi in Cross Rivers State, friends of my father who had come from Plateau State, the former Governor who came here, and all those who spoke very glowingly of my father.
“One of my teachers, I have tremendous respect for him, O. C. J. Okocha was here, my friend Magnus Abe was here and of course we had all the wonderful singing from the choir, the orchestra, from Oma Pitch, who brought the Angels down and I think we truly are blessed. I can’t thank you all enough, none of us will ever thank you enough. But I will still say thank you so so much on behalf of the Lulu-Briggs family.”
However, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs ended the evening with one of the most positive statements that many applauded and welcomed.
Said he: “My younger sister Rachel is here and she spoke very glowingly and we would like to say that we are a family. We are a family, all of us. We want to be a family with everybody, our stepmother, with all. There’s nothing that has happened that we shall allow to define us. The life of our father must be the only mirror through which we see the world. He was a very forgiving person, he was a very loving person, and so we forgive all ourselves and all of us.
“We pray, the clergy pray with us that we keep the flag flying and we do not bury the Lulu-Briggs family with our dearly departed father. So we must come together. And on that note, we say thank you, thank you, and thank you again. God bless us.”
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