…His generosity gave him chance to live again — Gen Akinrinade
By Kolawole Igandan
Chief Olu Benson Lulu Briggs, the consummate business man who chairs Moni Pulo petroleum Development Company, may not have envisaged the avalanche of encomiums that came his way at his 87th birthday held at the Chapel of Glory International Worship Centre, Port Harcourt, Rivers State
The activities to mark the birthday began with a Night of Adoration on May 21, 2017. At the event, guests were treated to a praise worship session; followed by prayers for the good health, and continued prosperity of the celebrant. The program continued till 12 am when there was a display of fireworks to herald the birthday of the celebrant.
Later that day, the family held a thanksgiving service at the Chapel. Prominent Nigerians present at the service include the Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo; Justice Adolphos Karibi Whyte (retd); the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Abasi Otu; Amanyabo of Opobo Kingdom; Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu of Ashanti Kingdom, Amayanabo of Kalabari, King Amachree; General Alani Akinrinade (retd); Anikio Briggs; Dr. Patrick Dele Cole; OCJ Okocha SAN; and Chief Abiola Ogundokun.
In an emotion-laden voice, the wife of the celebrator, Chief (Mrs.) Seinye Lulu Briggs, set the tone for the day when she narrated how the patriarch of the family had cancer scare.
“It all began when the OB Lulu Briggs Foundation decided to hold an awareness campaign against prostate cancer and we decided not just to talk about it, but also how lifestyle and diet can contribute to it”, she stated.
“We went a step ahead by providing an avenue where men could come and be tested free of charge, so we engaged doctors in different hospitals. Over 4,000 men in Rivers State came out and were tested. The ones that had serious issues were assisted. Men became aware of the dangers of prostate cancer and how to detect it at a very early stage.
“It was after that exercise that we suddenly discovered that my own husband was having the same issue and that was how we traveled to London. I thank God, there was nothing cancerous about it and it was just an obstruction and the procedure was done immediately and we were happy he was healed. He was fine, and we got ready to go back home. Before then, I noticed he was losing weight rapidly and was not looking as bright as he used to. So, I communicated with his doctors and they were in doubt, they did not believe that something was wrong with him. Further investigation however confirmed my fear. After a period of treatment, the reality dawned on me when we went back to the hospital.
“We went to the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital and I was told to gather my family together, I was told that there was nothing they could do. They told me that they couldn’t give me any assurance that he would get well and, that, I should just go home and bring his family the next morning and I looked beyond the doctor who obviously had no good news for me and I talked to God.
“We spent about four months in the hospital. There was heavy rejoicing the day they removed the ventilator from him and allowed him to breath by himself. That was when a test run was carried out by the doctors to see if he could breathe for six hours. He breathed for six good hours, and, eventually for a longer period and, then, the ventilator was removed.
“My husband kept improving until the day he was discharged, then we came home. I discovered that my husband lost absolutely nothing; his stubbornness is still there, his weight is still there, he never forgot how to shake hands and to snap his fingers at it and he does it till today .Of course, he recognizes everyone and during the ceremony of thanksgiving and the night of adoration, he saw his old friends and they bantered and exchanged pleasantries”.
Her speech drew thunderous applause from the guests who were enthralled by her confidence and loyalty. A legal practitioner who doubles as the Director of Pro of the OB Lulu Briggs Foundation, Mr Miebaka Nabiebu described the celebrant’s wife as the “secret weapon” of the revered Kalabari business man
In his remarks. Venerable (Barr.) Amaechi Dubem Okwuosa, a Special Adviser on Agriculture, Tourism, Training and Methodology to the Anambra State Governor, Mr Willie Obiano, noted that the celebrant has made an enduring impact on his people; hence, the zeal and determination to have him “live at all costs”.
Okwuosa also showered encomiums on the celebrant’s wife, Seinye, describing her as transparent, honest, and highly intelligent
General Akinrinade said Lulu Briggs is an upright man whose kindness to humanity is worthy of emulation.
“God must have listened to the voice of the people whose lives he has affected positively and gave him a chance to live again. I have known him for several years, so when I got this invitation to honor him, I seized it because he is a man that is worthy to be celebrated. His wife must be commended for her resilience, loyalty and diligence during their travails.”