It was a dour, solemn, sombre, funereal day of moving tributes, eulogies and encomiums, as Tukumaye Walton Orubibi, younger brother of Rivers born legal practitioner and philantropist, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, was laid to rest in the city of Abonnema, in the Kalabari Kingdom, on Saturday April 7, 2018.
The funeral movement, which had comnenced from Ashes to Ashes Funeral Home in Port Harcourt, where the corporeal body of Tukumaye had been preserved since his demise, had processed straight to his father’s gate in Abonnema from where necessary stops had also been made first at Danagogo’s family gate, then Jack’s compond gate before proceeding to Tubofia Square for the lying in state and open air service and the final interment.
There is indeed an old saying that tcompound g must bury the dead as a final mark of honor and we know that the six feet below is not a prison to the soul, but to the earth which the body must return, and it was in fulfillment of this, that, friends, well wishers, as well as business and political associates joined Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs and his family to pay the last respect to the departed Tukumaye Orubibi, who passed away in March at the prime age of 47 years.
Paying tribute to the departed soul, Hon. Dakuku Adol Peterside, DG NIMASA and Rivers state Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the 2015 elections, made a faith declaration that though Tukumaye is gone, his exit does not translate into hopelessness.
“It’s a period of mourning and not of celebration because our brother Tukumaye Orubibi passed on at a very young age. He left responsibilities to his elder brother, a distinguished proud son of Rivers State; someone who is accomplished in every sense of the word; someone who has become a role model to young people; our brother and friend Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs.
“We condole with you. I have had that unfortunate experience of losing my younger brother when he was in his thirties; so, I can slightly feel how you feel. But one thing you can be sure of is that you are not alone. So many persons share in your pain, we share in the pain of the family; and you can be sure of our prayers. And for the rest of the family and friends of the family, you have lost a son, one that represented hope for the future but his passage doesn’t mean hopelessness, it simply means the beginning of a new chapter.
“Nothing takes God by surprise, Tukumaye has gone to be with the Lord but God will open new doors; God is going to raise new generals in the family,” Dakuku Peterside consoled the family.
Speaking on behalf of the Old Port Harcourt Friends, Amb. Idaere Ogan presented the association as one that was born out of love, commitment and loyalty to friendship, even as he described Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs as a critical member of the Association who has successfully introduced those core elements of love, selflessness, commitment and loyalty to friendship to Rivers politics.
Also speaking at the funeral gathering, Rt. Hon. Pastor Iyke Oji, chairman Grand Rivers Alliance, GRA and former Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, addressed Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, the Chief Mourned, thus: “We deem it incumbent to pour upon your wounded bosom the balm of brotherly consolation and we use you as a point of contact to the rest of the family; that the Almighty God will grant you the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. Once again, on behalf of your numerous friends home and abroad, we say take heart,” Sir Iyk Oji prayed.
Speaking on behalf of the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC Rivers State, which Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs is a staunch and frontline member, the Secretary of the Party Chief Emeka Beke deeply condoled with Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, describing him as a man who has added so much value to the party.
Chief Beke said: “Dumo! You have added so much value to our party; be rest assured that we are with you at this time of grief. Burial is the best that we can do for the dead. May his soul rest in peace and may God see you through and bless you,” intoned with compassion.
Hon. Mrs. Maureen Tamunor who spoke on behalf of former Rivers State First Lady, Dame Judith Amaechi, encouraged Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs to be strong and take solace in the fact that God knows everything.
Responding to all the tributes and admonitions, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs said among other things that, “Tukumaye and I shared a very special bond; reason being that both of us were brought into this world by a woman who labored so hard but never had time to enjoy the fruits of her labor. My mother faced the ill luck of losing her children about five of them but God didn’t abandon her; she gave birth to me and I was named Dumo which means ‘Life’.
“Until his passing, I and Tukumaye were the only surviving sons of our mother; so, all that she had, she gave to us. As much as she gave to me, she gave Tukumaye even more. I used to say to her Tukumaye is your son, and I am your friend. She loved me so much so you can imagine how much she loved Tukumaye. If my mother were alive today, she would probably be struggling to have a space in the same casket where my younger brother is. That’s how much she loved him, Chief Dumo said solemnly.
Continuing his passionate tribute to his departed brother, he said: “Through Tukumaye a lot of people learnt to love and give selflessly; perhaps that was the message he came to give to us; the message of love, selflessness and sacrifice. I’m sure he is in a better place; may his soul rest in perfect peace. GOODBYE TUKUMAYE. We pray the Almighty God to bless everyone who supported the family one way or the other during this period of grief,” he concluded in a heavy voice.
The event, which had been spiced with seasoned cultural displays beffiting such an occassion, also had in attendance, top politicians, elder statesmen and women, corporate moguls, royal highnesses and distiguished men and women from all works of life, including Chief Davies Ikanya, Chairman, Rivers State APC, Lady Joi Nunieh, DG National Centre for Women Development, HRH Diamond Tobin- West, King of Okpo in Kalahari Kingdom, members of the Grand Rivers Alliance and other All Progressives Congress, APC Rivers faithfuls as well as social groups and other prominent and well respected members of the Rivers society.
Mr. Tukumaye Walton Orubibi was born in August !971 and passed on in March 20!8. He was survived by two sons, Mr. Walton Dei-Otemie Walton and Master Ibibote Daniel Tukumaye; Walton; two brothers, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs and Mr. Pakribo Walton; two sisters, Tonye Walton Orubi and Mrs Ibinabo Chukwu, as well as many relatives too numerous to mention.
May his gentle soul rest in peace. Amen
Reported by Uche Woke. Photos from DLB Media.