3rd March, 2021
Elder Statesman and renowned business mogul, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba has called on Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs in a three paged letter in which the Governor of Rivers State and the Amayanabo of Abonnema are copied, to work towards a very peaceful and successful burial in which all stakeholders will fully participate.
Similarly, the families of Chief Dodo West Elebike of Buguma and Daibisrama Iniikeiroari Young-Briggs of Abonnema also wrote a petition to the Acting Paramount Head, Oruwari Group of Houses, Abonnema, demanding that the family of High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs to do the right and proper thing with regards to his widow and his in-laws in respect of the burial plans.
The petition which was signed by Chief Alaiyi Tom-West and Chief Obrasua Ernest Francis Briggs stated that the families of the deceased’s widow have not received any formal message ‘oku’ regarding funeral arrangements in accordance with the culture and traditions of the Kalabari people, neither has the late High Chief’s daughter, Solate been incorporated by the elder sons to perform her traditional rites at the funeral.
In pursuant of a peaceful burial ceremony for the late Lulu-Briggs, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba urged Dumo to shelve plans to exclude his stepmother, Seinye and his Sister from the burial plans.
Alabraba in a letter he personally signed on the aforesaid subject matter said, “it is alleged that as a result of the anger over your father’s Will, you decided to exclude your dad’s widow and daughter from the burial plans, thus denying them the right to perform their customary roles to honour him in death.”
In the said letter, Chief Ferdinand Ngogo Alabraba, queried among others that “it is alleged that as a result of the anger over your father’s Will, you decided to exclude your dad’s widow and daughter from the burial plans, thus denying them the right to perform their customary roles to honour him in death. That time-honoured Kalabari culture cannot be ignored and must be respected, otherwise, the burial of our most respected High Chief will be incomplete.
In addition, he said “Please ensure that your dad’s widow and his first daughter are duly restored in the burial plans so that they can carry out their customary roles in line with Kalabari tradition.”
The full transcript of the letter read thus:
“Dear Dumo, My Son It is now less than three weeks to the burial of your late father and our brother, Chief (Dr.) O. B. Lulu-Briggs and seeing the way plans are unfolding, it has become necessary for some of us not just to sit and watch but give our honest advice “openly” so that outsiders will know that not all the Elders in the family kept quiet when things were not going well.
Recall that not too long ago, you were nominated as the leader of Young Briggs House and, only recently, installed on your personal Chieftaincy stood, thus making you leader of the Young Briggs and head of the Chief O. B. Lulu Briggs family. You are therefore uniquely placed to unite the Chief O B Lulu Briggs family, bringing everybody on board in the burial plans so that as a united family, you can give your dad the befitting burial you have promised the world which he truly deserves.
Unfortunately, the O B Lulu Briggs’ family still remains divided and as we move closer to the burial date people have started talking, insinuating things and blaming you for the lingering state of affairs, and rightly too because everybody knows and sees you as the face of the Lulu Briggs family.
My son, please know that your dad can only be buried once and if you allow anger to rule your emotions in working out the burial plans, you will be susceptible to serious mistakes which will remain a source of regret for the rest of your life. That will not be your portion by God’s grace, so kindly eschew bitterness and embrace all members of the family for a successful burial. There are some misconceptions being peddled against you and you must act to correct them:
(i) On your Chieftaincy titles, it is alleged that when you took custody of your father’s mortal remains you deliberately held it back not only to pursue chieftaincy titles for self-aggrandizement but also to challenge his Last Will and Testament in court and with the bitterness resulting from your failed court action you called the press conference to announce the burial date, just to play to the gallery and no real intent to give your father a befitting burial. I know that the Chieftaincies were intended to position you to lead the Lulu Briggs family in the burial arrangements and nothing more, so
please don’t leave room for anybody to doubt your sincerity in giving your father a most deserving burial.
(ii) It is further alleged that as a result of the anger over your father’s Will, you decided to exclude your dad’s widow and daughter from the burial plans, thus denying them the right to perform their customary roles to honour him in death. That time-honoured Kalabari culture cannot be ignored and must be respected, otherwise, the burial of our most respected High Chief will be incomplete. Please ensure that your dad’s widow and his first daughter are duly restored in the burial plans so that they can carry out their customary roles in line with Kalabari tradition.
(iii) Chief O B Lulu Briggs was a member of the Abonnema Council of Chiefs and he died as the revered Head of Young Briggs House of Abonnema but in your press conference announcing his burial date, you referred to him as the “paramount head of Oruwari Briggs House”. No doubt, he acted as paramount head of Oruwari Briggs House for a very brief period when the then incumbent was hospitalized for about two weeks but he was never installed by the Abonnema Council of Chiefs as the paramount head.
Why bring in this unnecessary controversy to reduce your father’s stature in death by decorating him with false/borrowed robes in spite of his robust profile and many accomplishments in life.
Please do not do anything to alienate the Abonnema Council of Chiefs from participating in the burial because the Council, headed by a learned first-class King, will not undermine its integrity by participating in the burial of the so-called “paramount head” who was not installed in his lifetime.
In conclusion, I wish to remind you that your late father was a global personality and people will come from all parts of the world for his burial.
Our dear Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has eloquently demonstrated his commitment to give him a State burial.
The Amayanabo of Abonnema, the Abonnema Divisional Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs and the entire Kalabari Kingdom are critical stakeholders in the burial. So, kindly work towards a very peaceful and successful burial in which all stakeholders will fully participate.”
A 3-man committee set up by the Abonnema Council of Chiefs to resolve pending issues raised by both parties regarding the burial is expected to submit its report to His Majesty King Disrael Bobmanuel, the Amayanabo of Abonnema before the scheduled date of burial of the elder statesman High Chief Dr O. B. Lulu-Briggs for March 13th 2021.