High Chief Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs

High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs joined the enviable ranks of nonagenarian on May 22, 2020 as his family, friends and associates marked his 90th birthday. But it was a posthumous anniversary because the Paramount Head of Oruwari Briggs House of Abonnema died 17 months earlier at the ripe old age of 88, on December 27, 2018.

The family of the late founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Moni Pulo Limited commemorated his 90th posthumous birthday, but they did so separately and with subdued celebration.

When High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs was alive, especially since his 80th birthday in 2010, celebrations were characterized by glamour, high profile philanthropic gestures, cultural events and dinner parties that brought family and friends together in colourful and memorable conviviality. But the 90th posthumous birthday was marked by family members separately and quietly.

Separately, because of the unresolved dispute surrounding his death. Quietly, because of the constraint imposed by the ravaging coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and because the High Chief is yet to be buried.

The long journey to the grave for High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs began in the month of December, 2018 when the news of his sudden death permeated the yuletide, casting sadness over the festive mood of Christmas.

His death threw up barrages of litigations that held up his mortal remains in a morgue in Accra, Ghana for 445 days until March 16, 2020 when the body was finally brought home to Nigeria into the waiting hands of a nationwide Covid-19 lockdown, ban on mass gatherings and large festive funerals, the type that the Iniikeiroari V of Kalabari Kingdom would no doubt attract.

God has His mysteries which none can fathom. The mortal remains of High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs, perhaps, was destined to undergo such a long journey to the grave. If so, nobody can do anything about it. It is heartrending for family and friends, but none can do anything neither.

As the saying goes “man is a little more than the playthings”. He can be whisked away from danger as easily as he can be put in the thick of it. Each man finds a way already marked out for him by destiny and he can change nothing of it.

Every man to his fate! If it is written that a person’s destiny should be fulfilled in a particular manner, nobody can do anything against it. The myriad of lawsuits could not hold back the body of High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs in Accra, Ghana because his journey to the grave was destined to terminate at his hometown, Abonnema. Not even the wickedness of a woman could alter for a moment, the course of the final journey of the great High Chief.

Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs also had a long journey on earth from grass to grace. His father died when he was just nine years of age and he was prematurely thrown into adulthood by fate. He became a man at a tender age.

The family may be in disagreement, his widow may be saying that the entire empire now belongs to her in exclusion of the older sons but as the crisis prolongs High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs’ journey to the grave, who knows what fate has in stock for everybody? Some may be versed in sorcery but others hold firm to our Lord, Jesus Christ. No man can choose his biological children but he can surely choose a wife.

Men have short memories. Those who currently think that they are all-powerfull would also, like all mortals, turn the corner to an inevitable end, in their journey on earth. High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs may be the subject of discourse today, the whole world may be talking about his travails in death, his family may be given over to public ridicule but the journey to the grave for the High Chief is about to come to an end.

Surely, High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs is coming to the end of his long trek to the grave. The journey will end and another sun, that has already begun to shine, will shine brighter and brighter than the departed High Chief.

The journey to the grave for the Kalabari-Ijaw War Canoe Chief will come to a pleasant end. People may hardly have time to prepare before they are swept into a celebratory mood. At last the battle has ended in great victory and all can look back in retrospect and say: So long a journey to the grave.

Sotonye Ijuye-Dagogo

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