ABONEMA, the historical Kalabari town in Akuku Toru Local Government Area, Rivers state stood still Saturday as Governor Nyesom Wike, chief host, led the state funeral for Rivers billionaire and philanthropist, High Chief O B Lulu-Briggs in the climax of a weeklong burial ceremony.
Present to join the flourish of tribute at the event were First Lady of Nigeria, Haija Aisha Buhari, represented by Mrs. Alange Timipre Sylva, wife of Minister of Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, former President Goodluck Jonathan, his wife, Patience, among dignitaries from far near who extolled virtues of the late business mogul.
Aisha said, “High Chief O.B Lilu-Briggs as foremost philanthropist and an ardent businessman from the great Kalabari Kingdom of Rivers in the Niger Delta Region is well known to Nigerians and beyond for his proficiency in the oil and gas sector.
“His son, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs is well known to the first family and has good relationship with us. The first family decided to show our support at the time of grieve to the Lulu-Briggs family. We take solace in the confidence that Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs is capable of flying the Lulu-Briggs family flag high.”
Former President Jonathan said, “I find it very difficult to express myself when talking about Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs. I knew him very well from 2007 when I got involved into national politics.
“When the PDP nominated me to be running mate to late President Yar’Adua, and was looking for top politicians and respected leaders within the Niger Delta who can support the political process, our late father is one of the persons that was recommended.
“And I came here with Chief Banigo and from that day we started relating until his last days and of course he helped us in several ways. It’s a very sad thing when I got the news that we have lost him. Yes, he has his direct children like Dumo and others but he has more than that. O. B. Lulu-Briggs was a very suffiscicated man.
“If you glance through his biography you will know that he started from a very humble beginning but became very successful and that is the key in life. Not how you start life but how you end life that matters most.
“He is also from a very suffiscicated community, Abonema. He’s from among very suffiscicated chiefs in Kalabari kingdom but these attributes alone wouldn’t have brought us all here to celebrate him. It’s because he touched lives of people that’s why you see different people from all over the country here to celebrate his last days.”
Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, who has assumed head of the late patriarch’s family, stated at the funeral that, “My father had a very humble beginning, he was a truck pusher in Rivers State. He was an agricultural labourer in Minna, present day Niger State. He was a police recruit and then he got lucky when he became a clerk with the Nigerian Port Authority.
“He lost his only brother within eleven days of his father’s death and he was only able manage four years of formal education. I encourage all here. It doesn’t matter what your situation is, I pray that the life of our father would be an inspiration to all of us.”
On the philanthropies of his father, Dumo said, “He thought us that love is not an exchange so you don’t love and expect to be loved in return, that love is an art of faith. You just do it because you love to do it”
Chief Lulu-Briggs who passed on to glory at 88 over two years ago was until his demise, the Iniikeiroari V of Kalabari, paramount head of Oruwari Briggs War Canoe House of Abonnema in Akuku Toru LGA.