May 22nd every year, is a day when family, friends, beneficiaries and well wishers gather to celebrate a man who has come to mean so much to many people, a revered statesman, founder and Chairman of Moni Pulo, an oil exploration company and founder of the O. B. LULU-BRIGGS FOUNDATION, an award winning NOT FOR PROFIT organization which has for nearly two decades been committed to providing quality humanitarian services, human capacity building and training, assisting the elderly, infirm and needy who dwell mainly in the rural areas of the Niger Delta.
Born on the 22nd of May 1930 in Abonnema, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State to humble beginnings, High Chief Olu Benson Lulu Briggs, OON, who has the traditional title of Iniikeiroari V of Kalabari kingdom, lost his father at a very early age and at some point in life struggled to stay in school as his family did not have money to train him through his academic pursuits.
A man of few words whose philanthropy speaks louder than his numerous achievements, a man whose philosophy on nation building is to help those absolutely in need as he believes that the true worth of a man is in the way he treats people who are absolutely in need, High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs, is a strong advocate of the philosophy that when you help those in need you are actually making a contribution to the development of the Nation.
So it was that May 22nd this year of our Lord, 2018, was no different as it was another opportunity to celebrate and display an out pouring of love and gratitude to the community leader, global business man, philanthropist, humanist, caring and dotting family man and nationalist par excellence, as family, friends, beneficiaries and well wishers came together to show solidarity to a colossus, an iconic figure, a man who has touched the lives of so many people and has forever etched his name into the books of history for all his magnanimity, goodwill and wonderful deeds of charity touching all spheres of human life from education, empowerment, skills acquisition and especially in the area of health care services.
The 88th birthday celebrations for High Chief O.B Lulu-Briggs, was preceeded by a beffiting Kidney Health Awareness Walk and free screening which took place on the 21st of May 2018.
The celebrations proper started on the 22nd, with a church Thanksgiving service for the mercy, goodness, kindness and blessings of God in the life of the great humanitarian High Chief O.B Lulu-Brigg, at the Chapel of God International Worship Centre, Forces Avenue Old GRA, Port Harcourt Rivers State. The service started with an opening prayer, hymns and praise and worship.
The Bible reading, taken from 2nd Samuel Verse 8-29 was read by Racheal O.B Lulu- Briggs, daughter of the celebrant, followed by a soul stirring sermon delivered by Pastor Zilly Aggrey. In his sermon, drawing from the experiences of High Chief O.B Lulu-Briggs and that of Meghan Markle, the newly crowned and recognized Duchess of Sussex, in the English Royal family, who recently married Prince Harry, grandson of Queen Elizabeth of England, Pastor Zilly Aggrey advised the congregation never to look down on anybody as God can turn around the life of any man or woman in the twinkle of an eye.
He also encouraged those in attendance to use High Chief O.B Lulu-Briggs as an example on how to touch the lives of humanity and admonished that a pertinent question which we must continually ask ourselves was: “How can I be a blessing to others? What am I doing to touch the lives of others at my own level”?
He then advised everyone present to not just be a receptacle of God’s blessings but to be a channel through which others will be thanking God as he pointed out that the legacies of High Chief O.B Lulu-Briggs was transgenerational and will last forever as a result of his charitable heart.
Prayers for the family was led by Venerable Reverend Amaechi who prayed that God’s continuous blessings of long life be bestowed on High Chief O.B Lulu-Briggs and also prayed for peace and protection in the family as they continue to maintain and build on the high standards set by High Chief O.B Lulu-Briggs.
The Thanksgiving service ended with a vote of thanks delivered by the celebrant’s second son Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs. In his vote of thanks Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs thanked God for the life and blessings of his father, High Chief O.B Lulu-Briggs, whom he described as an amazing personality whose family has lost the right and exclusivity to call him father, and to celebrate and care for him alone because of the millions of lives he touches daily through his humanity and kindness.
He thanked his father for all his love and care towards his family and others as he reiterated that the oveverwhelming love which people have for his father will continue as he was the textbook definition of godliness, God’s grace and mercies, pointing out even he as his father’s son has also been a beneficiary of that love as people were always happy with him as a result of his father’s good deeds.
Also, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs expressed profound gratitude to Pastor (Dr.) Seinye O. B. LULU-BRIGGS whom he described as the rock of the family and an amazing personality created specially for High Chief O.B Lulu-Briggs.
He equally thanked the traditional rulers present, the Eze Ekpeye Logbo Robinson O. Robinson and Chief Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas he said he was grateful to them for all the love shown his father and for always identifying with the O. B. LULU-BRIGGS family.
Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs concluded his vote of thanks by thanking all those who joined in the celebration and jubilations for their love and for honouring God and his father with their presence in celebrating the living legend.
The birthday celebrations for Chief Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs was rounded off with a beffiting grand-finale and scintillating climax, as friends and family were hosted to a lavish dinner as part of his 88th birthday celebrations, at the Presidential hall of the prestigious Hotel Presidential, Port Harvmcourt. ; where dignitaries and family did not miss out on another opportunity to extol the virtues of the living legend, as many recounted various anecdotal experiences with him.
First to take the stand was Professor Nimi West, who described the High Chief as someone very dear to him and thanked O. B Lulu-Briggs for supporting him and helping him overcome so many life threatening illnesses that would have otherwise taken his life. He recounted how when his mother died, the High Chief was the only one who was at the hospital to stay with the corpse till he arrived, according to him that incidence stays with him till today as he reminisced on how the high chief comforted him.
He concluded by thanking Opuda as High Chief Lulu-Briggs is fondly called and prayed that God will continue to stand with him as he has always stood by others.
Next was Francis Bruce who in his glowing tribute elucidated the qualities of High Chief O. B Lulu-Briggs; describing him “as one who, no matter the little he has, from time immemorial, is always willing to share with others who are in need”.
Mr. Bruce expressed that one of the life lessons High Chief Lulu-Briggs has imparted on him was to always make sure, when giving or helping someone, that the help so offered is sufficient to make a difference in the life of that person. He lauded High Chief Lulu-Briggs for all the travel experiences they shared and concluded by saying that for all his care for life, humanity and generosity to others, God will continue to strengthen him to do more for humankind.
To bring the evening to a rousing and satisfactory end, the 2nd son of the celebrant, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs went down Memory lane, as he recapped how his dad, when he was a child, instilled the value of giving and loving in him and his siblings despite their very humble and sometimes dire beginnings.
Speaking in an emotion laden voice, the junior Lulu-Briggs revealed how whenever speaking about his father, words fail him as he noted that as far as he could remember, his father has always been a generous man. He enthralled the audience with the story of how his father always encouraged him to share chocolates given to him by other kids from well to do parents, despite him not understanding why he should.
According to Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, his father always told him to hold Romans 8:13 to heart, and even though as a little boy he could not comprehend the significance of the Bible quote to his little chocolates that he was unwillingly to share but still ended up sharing, due to encouragement from his father, he began to appreciate the bible verse as he grew up and it made a lot of sense to him.
Illustrating how how humane his father is, Chief Dumo recounted how despite being victimized on several occasions High Chief O. B Lulu-Briggs always encouraged his kids not to be conduits for bitterness and revenge, and to always speak based on facts not on rumours.
Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs brought the evening of celevrations to a captivating close by extolling the virtues of Doctor Pastor Seinye Lulu-Briggs whom he described as an epitome of elegance, a woman whose heart and soul has touched the lives of not only his dad but the whole family.
The highlight of the evening was a presentation by a delegation from Cameroun, of a stool which was very symbolical as the stool represented the weight carried by High Chief Lulu-Briggs in his service to mankind. Also presented was a Royal Regalia to depict the royal heart of O. B Lulu-Briggs.
Timi Dakolo serenaded the evening with lovely songs, as everyone danced their heart away in joy to celebrate an amazing human. Dignitaries present at the event included, Senator Ben Murray Bruce, Royal fathers across Nigeria and Cameroon, Professor Nimi West, Mr. Francis Bruce, Reverend Zilly Aggrey and a host of others.
Below are more photos from the exciting celebration events. (Courtesy DLB Media)