By Kolawole Igandan
These are not the best of times in the home of the late billionaire businessman and founder of Monipulo Oil Limited, High Chief Olu Benson Lulu Briggs. Indeed, the last few months have been tumultuous for the family of the late politician who was the Deputy Chairman of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN).
OB Lulu Briggs died on the 27th of December 2018 in Ghana while on his annual vacation at the ripe age of 89 years.
At the moment, the widow and Vice Chairman of his conglomerate, Pastor (Dr.) Mrs. Seinye OB Lulu Briggs, is a sad woman and the reason is not far- fetched. Since the demise of her husband, she had had to contend with some of her late husband’s children and the bone of contention is primarily over the late billionaires’ estate and huge amount of money left behind by the late OB Lulu Briggs.
In his life time, Olu Benson Lulu Briggs was a man given to peace. As a foremost traditional ruler in his Kalabari enclave, he was renowned for his peaceful resolution of matters. In death, the reverse seems the case as some protagonists are bent on ensuring that peace eludes the great chief in death.
Since his demise last year, all attempts to ensure that he is given a befitting burial has been thwarted by some family members who seem to want to “bully” and box the widow of the revered High Chief into submission and coerce her to agree to their terms.
Those who know Seinye would attest to her sincerity, tenacity and loyalty to her husband till he breathed his last. What is causing her pains at the moment is the fact that the rift is delaying a proper burial to herald his final rest.
A close member of the family said: “Seinye is deeply bitter that the allure of self-aggrandizement is at the core of the disagreement between her and some family members.
“Seinye is a very peaceful woman and she would quickly drop whatever would disturb her peace. What have they not done to try this woman’s patience? They have humiliated her and done much more just because of her husband’s property.
“She first drew their ire when she insisted that Opuda’s (Chief OB Lulu Briggs) wish of an early burial whenever God called him home should be respected. She has suggested a most convenient time for the burial but this was ignored
“It was shifted for administrative convenience because one of the family members was contesting election.
“After the election, the issue now is the circumstances surrounding the death of the late OB Lulu Briggs.
“The latest in the twist of events is the court action against the widow to stop the probate from reading the late billionaire’s will.
“But the judge ruled in favour of the probate. The judge ordered that the will be read.
“Now the claim is that Seinye was responsible for the death of her husband”.
According to a report, investigation has been launched into the matter following a petition by Dumo Lulu Briggs, the second son of the deceased, to the Inspector General of Police accusing Seinye, his step mother, of killing his father among other complaints.
Some family members, however, disagree with the allegation.
A senior member of the family who didn’t want his name in print because of nature of the allegation noted: “I don’t know the basis for the allegation but even Dumo has stated in the past that his step mum, Seinye, was the best thing that happened to his father. He said it in the full glare of the public. Go and check his comment about Seinye during OB Lulu Briggs 87th birthday held at the chapel.
“How could anyone suggest that an 89-year-old man battling a terminal disease for about 10 years was killed?
“How could a man like Dumo, who, Seinye immediately called after OB Lulu Briggs passed on in Ghana and who flew in and saw the remains of his father and even sent messages to his father’s associates and friends that he had the instruction of his step mother to convey the unfortunate incident to close members of the family and friends now turn around to talk of murder?
“How did a seemingly harmless woman who they all agreed nurtured her husband till he breathed his last become a problem now? She didn’t kill him during the several emergencies that saw her and some family members flying him out of the country in air ambulance.
“That the woman has preferred to remain silent to honour the memory of her husband should not be misconstrued at all. If you know Seinye very well, she is not one to join issues with anyone. Even when she was provoked to an elastic limit, she was still calm and even begged her traducers to sheathe their swords and see reasons why OB Lulu Briggs must be respected and honoured in death”.
Prodding further on how things degenerated to a level where a once united family is in tatters, our source described the ongoing tussle as one that was premeditated.
He said: “Look my brother, OB Lulu Briggs knew this could happen when he passes on and so he ensured he gave everyone his entitlements.
“They do not know that Seinye is a long distance runner that would always stop at every point to ensure that tact, diplomacy dictate her next moves.
“To be honest with you, I am even closer to Dumo than to Seinye, but I am not happy with what is happening”.
No matter what time brings, Seinye sure has her eyes on a glorious future that would continue to place the memory of OB Lulu Briggs in the fore front of development.
Her husband was sensible; he knew how he wanted his legacies to be sustained and also knew who can steer the ship. Seinye has taken the role with fiery enthusiasm.