•Jonathan, Aisha, others bid farewell
Finally, the remains of late oil magnate and renowned philanthropist, High Chief Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs, were yesterday laid to rest in his hometown, Abonnema, in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State. Former President Goodluck Jonathan; wife of President Muhammad Buhari, Aisha; and Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, were among dignitaries present to bid the late business mogul, who died over two years ago, farewell.
Mrs Alanyingi Sylva, wife of Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, represented Aisha at the funeral ceremony.
Lulu-Briggs died in December 2018 but his burial was delayed by disagreements within his family over inheritance and funeral modalities.
But the remains of the Niger Delta business mogul and Founder of Moni Pulo Limited were finally laid to rest on Saturday.
In a tribute at the burial ceremony, Jonathan described the late Lulu-Briggs as a philanthropist that touched many lives positively. The former president said Lulu-Briggs contributed to his election, first, as vice president during the time of the late President Musa Yar’Adua, and, later, as president.
Jonathan regretted that Lulu-Briggs left at a time he was needed more, but encouraged his son, Chief Dumu Lulu-Briggs, to carry on with the legacies his father.
He said, “It is a sad moment for us all. I know Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs very well. In 2007 when I got into national politics, when the PDP nominated me as vice to the late President Yar’Adua, he contributed to the success of my position.
“Yes, he has his direct children, but we are also his children. Lulu-Briggs started his life from a humble beginning but ended successfully. He came from a very sophisticated community, Abonnema. He touched the lives of so many people and that is why you see the crowd here today.
“My prayer is that God gives Dumu the grace to carry on the legacy of his father.”
Speaking also, Hajia Aisha Buhari said the late Lulu-Briggs was known in Nigeria for his proficiency in the oil and gas industry. Represented by Mrs Alanyingi Sylva, Aisha said, “His son, Dumu, is well known to the first family, hence the visit. Dumu should continue to fly the late Lulu-Briggs flag high.”
Earlier in his sermon, Special Assistant to General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Belemina Obunge, urged the congregation to always work on their integrity and inspire others to greatness in life.
Obunge said, “I believe we are all here because a legacy has been created. Your greatness is seen in your ability to improve the lives of others. Our purpose in life is to make impact and inspire others positively.
“If you miss out on integrity, you have done harm to your children than good.”
The chief mourner, Dumu Lulu-Briggs, thanked the dignitaries for coming to sympathise with his family as they laid their father to rest. He commended Wike for giving his father a state burial.
Dumu told the dignitaries, “It had not been easy for the sacrifice you all made to be here. Our father’s humble beginning to successful end should be an encouragement and inspiration to all who want to succeed.
“I thank the former President Goodluck Jonathan, representative of the first lady and every other dignitary for honouring my father. My thanks also goes to His Excellency Nyesom Wike for deciding that he would give my father a befitting state burial.”
Notable figures at the burial ceremony included Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo; former First Lady, Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan, who accompanied her husband; former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, and his wife, Mrs Onari Duke; and former Governor of Rivers State, Sir Celestine Omehia.
Others were Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva; Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah; former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Sir Austin Opara; Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Rivers State chapter, Ambassador Desmond Akawor; and Secretary to Rivers State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo.
Present also were His Majesty, King (Dr.) Dandeson Douglas Jaja JP, Jeki V, Amayanabo of Opobo Kingdom and Chairman, Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers; Amayanabo of Abonnema, King Disrael Bob-Manuel; Chairman, Rivers Elders Council, High Chief Ferdinand Alabraba; and former Managing Directors of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe and Ms Joi Nunieh.
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