By Pastor Selema Wokoma
In our immediate past edition, we looked at the various battles going on in the O. B. Lulu-Briggs family since the death of their patriarch, High Chief Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs OON, DCF, DSSRS and the resultant accusations, allegations, suspicious, plots, desperations, intrigues and more. Given the various publications flying in both the online, electronic and print media, and what many began to see as campaigns of calumny and the gradual harm being done to the highly revered image, and reputation of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs, his family and by extension the entire Kalabari kingdom – which of course remains the prime focus and catchment area of Kalabari Times Magazine – we decided to dive head-on into the depths of the murky waters of the controversy to unearth the basics, the cruxes, the trivials, the facts, the fictions et al in order to set the records straight and save the innocent but gullible reading public from the possible error of thinking that High Chief O. B. Lulu Briggs, a respected War Canoe House-heading Kalabari Chief, a former presidential aspirant and one of Nigeria’s foremost elder statesmen, was not able to put his house in order despite his immense wealth, before his death. Thus, that immediate past edition of K-Times could be described as a child of necessity.
But having delved into the controversy – though with the genuine intention of helping to sustain the legacies of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs and his famous dynasty and that of the entire Kalabari kingdom with ‘the truth and nothing but the truth’ which remains the healing balm for the conscience that remains an open wound, we feel obliged to keep our readers and the general public abreast of latest developments in the matter while we all continue to pray and wait for a permanent resolution of the whole crises which will finally pave way for our respected Opuda, High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs, to be buried.
Thus, this current edition is a child of circumstance. In this edition, we looked at two major issues that seem to be at the center of the controversy: the autopsy conducted in Ghana to ascertain the true cause of the death of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs and his Will that was recently read and how both parties are reacting to these developments. While we gathered that Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs and his brothers are yet to give up, insisting on a second autopsy, we learned that Dr. Mrs. (Pst) Seinye O. B. Lulu-Briggs, accused by the other camp of masterminding the death of her husband, feels the autopsy result has exonerated and vindicated her. However, beyond this controversy, one paramount issue that requires urgent consideration by all the parties is what appears to be High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs’ last request.
In Chief Dumo’s account of what transpired at the annual thanksgiving service held at the instance of his father in their compound at Abonnema on 26th December 2018, which is allegedly contained in the petition he wrote to the Inspector-General of Police through his lawyers – Abu Samson & Co., Attorneys & Solicitors of Law- he (Chief Dumo) narrated that when he went into the house to see his father who left the thanksgiving service midway, he saw that his father was looking Exhausted and Tired, as a result of which he queried his father’s domestic staff who told him that it was because the High Chief had just finished eating, coupled with stress of the thanksgiving ceremony.
Chief Dumo further narrated that about fifteen minutes later, his father told him to tell his wife and Chief Dumo’s stepmother – Mrs. Seinye O. B. Lulu-Briggs – to round off the thanksgiving ceremonies and come and take him back to Port Harcourt to ‘REST’. Chief Dumo, in the petition, narrated that he told his father that he would be going back to Port Harcourt as well after delivering the message to his stepmother and will see him the next day in Port Harcourt. He further narrated that he said goodbye to his father and others and left. That was the last time he saw his father alive as what he heard the next day was that his father had gone home to REST in the bosom of his Lord. Analysts believe that when High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs was telling his second son, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs to go and tell his stepmother to round off and come and take him to his house in Port Harcourt to rest, he was indirectly telling him that it was time for him to go home to be with his heavenly father, which Chief Dumo appeared not to understand.
According to analysts, the word ‘REST’ was metaphoric and showed how the High Chief perceived his transition to glory. Should there be a modicum of truth in this, then it behooves on Chief Dumo in particular and all other members of the O. B. Lulu-Briggs family to do the needful, which is to eschew their differences and come together as one united family to give their patriarch and big father a befitting burial as soon as possible. The warring parties should sheathe their swords and begin to work together now. This is because, in Africa, the last words and wishes of parents are treated with the utmost urgency to avoid provoking them. Opuda’s children should rally round his wife and the only living matriarch of the O. B. Lulu-Briggs family, Mrs. Seinye, to give their father a most befitting burial so that he can truly REST as he had wished.
The fact that his last instruction/request to Chief Dumo – his seeming closest , most popular, most influential, wealthiest son and chairman of Platform Petroleum as well as the only living chief now in the O. B. Lulu-Briggs family, described by some in legal terms as Opuda’s first able – was to go and tell his stepmother (Seinye) to round off the thanksgiving ceremonies and come and take him home to rest could simply mean that he was instructing his children to give their stepmother all the needed support to enable her to give him the type of burial (REST) he deserves and desires – as a Chief and a Christian – so that he can truly REST. The fact that Mrs. Seinye is a pastor and well-groomed Kalabari daughter of the soil and the only woman who has lived with Opuda as the wife in the past twenty years makes it more imperative for Opuda’s older sons to work with her to give their father befitting burial. It is our view that High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs’ personal interest should be pursued first if his legacies are to be sustained.
Moreover, Dr (Pastor) Seinye, the matriarch of the O, B. Lulu-Briggs, should irrespective of what has happened, consider everybody as her children as she has always done. In the first instance, it was the patriarch himself who told Chief Dumo to go to her, so that he (the Patriarch) could rest. If Chief Dumo has not rounded off with his activity, she should, as a mother, call on Chief Dumo to immediately round off his activities, as there is no victor or vanquished in this matter. The man at the center remains the beloved of all concerned. Please flow on with us….