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 anniversary celebration held at the Chapel of Glory International Worship Centre, Port Harcourt, Rivers State
Activities to mark the birthday began with a Night of Adoration on the 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. It continued till 12.am when there was a display of fireworks to herald the birthday of the celebrant.
Early the next morning, the family held a thanksgiving service at the Chapel. Prominent Nigerians present at the services included the Deputy Governor of the State, Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, Justice Adolphos Karibi Whyte rtd, 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 rtd, Anikio Briggs, Julia Oku, Chief Frederick Bozimo, Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, Zaki Ahmed, Brig-Gen E.T Essien, Dr. Partick Dele Cole, OCJ Okocha SAN, Chief Abiola Ogundokun and a host of others.
In an emotion laden voice, the wife of the celebrant, Chief (Mrs.) Seinye Lulu Briggs, set the tone for the day with an account of events that almost shattered the family in the last six months.
â€œIt 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 how lifestyle and diet can contribute to it.
â€œWe 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 four thousand 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.
â€œIt 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 inquiry however confirmed my fear and I was proved right. After a period of treatment, the reality dawned on me when we went back to the hospital
â€œWe 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 couldnâ€™t give me any assurance that he would get well and, that, I should just go home and bring his family the next morning at 10am, and I looked beyond the doctor who obviously had no good news for me and I talked to God.
â€œWe 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 breath for six hours. He breathed for six good hours, and, eventually for a longer period and, then, the ventilator was removed.
â€œMy 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 recognises everyone and during the ceremony of thanksgiving and the night of adoration, he saw his old friends and they bantered and exchanged pleasantries.
â€œl am a happy woman, I love my husband and I will rather stay with him no matter what it cost and no matter what I have to do to keep him here with me, because I believe the day God will call him, he will tell me first, there will be no struggle or stress. It will be peacefulâ€.
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, further described the celebrantâ€™s wife as the â€œsecret weaponâ€ of the revered Kalabari business man
â€œMrs Seinye Lulu Briggs has shouldered an enormous burden and privilege with dignity, iron heart, and strength. She is the right hand of OB Lulu Briggs and, in fact, his secret weapon.
In his remarks. Venerable Amaechi Dubem Okwuosa, a Special Adviser on Agriculture, Tourism, Training and Methodology to the Anambra State Governor, Mr Willie Obiano, noted that the celebrant had made an enduring impact on his people, hence, the zeal and determination to have him â€œlive at all cost
â€œHe has assisted quite a lot of people and there is no one that comes close to him that he never assisted. I learnt from him to put smiles on the faces of people at the earliest opportunity. I am a testimony of his goodnes. He has been somebody in my life that there will not be two of themâ€.
Okwuosa also showered encomiums on the celebrantâ€™s wife, Seinye, describing her as transparent, honest, and highly intelligent
â€œIn every situation, she waited upon the lord for direction and her courage has never failed her. She is equally a great philanthropist. Her care and love for her husband is only second to her love for Godâ€
General Alani Akinrinade, rtd, also noted that the celebrant is an upright man whose act of kindness to humanity is worthy of emulation.
â€œGod 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.â€