How Lulu Brigg’s burial brought S/west traditional rulers to Ghana
In what was described as the best of Yoruba cultural display in Ghana, select traditional rulers recently attended a function in the country and demonstrated why Yoruba culture is ranked among the best. TUNDE BUSARI reports the relevance of the trip.
The arrival of a group of Yoruba traditional rulers in the East Legon Province of Ghana was an exhibition of Yoruba cultural heritage as the traditional rulers, selected from Ekiti, Osun and Kwara states, appeared in colourful traditional attires.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that the costume turned the royal fathers to object of attraction not only to their hosts but also to other guests that attended the function.
In company of their aides, the traditional rulers’ dressing was complemented with their crowns and horsetails, the paraphernalia which distinguishes Yoruba rulers from their counterparts in other regions.
Specifically, the Ajero of Ijero, Oba Joseph Adebayo Adewole; Olojudo of Ido-Ekiti, Oba Augustin Obaleye; the Alayegun of Ayegun-Ekiti, Oba Aderiye Folorunso Johnson; the Oluwo of Iwo-Oke, Oba Lamidi Abulkadir Olatunde; the Oluwo of Iwo-Ate, Oba Ogunmola Isiaka Ayoade; the Ologburo of Ogburo, Oba Oba Asimiyu Agboluaje; the Olu of Ile Ogbo, Oba Adetoyese Agbaje, the Obajisun of Ayede, Oba Abayomi Rotimi Olusegun and chiefs form the delegation including the Obanla of Iwo, Chief Abiola Ogundokun.
The Oloburo of Oburo said that he would always be proud of his Yoruba culture even if he were not a royal father, adding that Yoruba culture ranks among the best in the world and commending his fellow traditional rulers on the trip for their comportment throughout the journey.
“I could see satisfaction in the faces of our hosts as we walked to the venue of the event. There is no doubting the fact that God has blessed us with rich culture which encompasses what we eat and what we wear and other ways of our lives. It is this our culture that distinguishes us from other ethnic groups in Nigeria, Ghana and other countries,” he said.
Chief Ogundokun also spoke in the same tone and urged Yoruba traditional rulers to always uphold Yoruba culture home and abroad, commending them on that trip for being good ambassadors of Yoruba race in Ghana.
He averred that despite the pervading influence of western civilization in all facets of an average Yoruba life, he still stuck with propagation of Yoruba culture. He stated that it was a thing of joy for him watching foreigners at shopping malls buying traditional fabrics.
“This is saying that our culture is being appreciated by foreigners. Our journey to Ghana is another eye opener, particularly to me, seeing kabiyesis in their good numbers doing Yoruba culture proud,” he said.
What brought the royal fathers to Ghana, it was learnt, was the final rites of passage for the late Nigeria’s foremost businessman and philanthropist, Chief (Dr.) Olu Benson Lulu Briggs, who passed on in Ghana on December 27, 2018 at the age of 88.
The funeral, put together by his long standing associate and very good friend, Nana Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, King of Ashanti, Ghana, witnessed reunion of old friends from Nigeria and Ghana and other countries who came to bid him farewell.
Also in attendance at the carnival-like burial were traditional rulers from Kalabari kingdom among who were, King Diamond Tobin West, the Amayanabo of Okpo, Iwari Bala, the Amanayabo of Krakrama, Chief Obrasua Ernest Briggs, Secretary, Oruwari Briggs Council of Chiefs, Abonnema and many other chiefs from Rivers State.
From the Igbo community in Ghana came the Eze Ndigbo of Ghana, Igwe Chukwudi Ihenetu, who led his people from the South East to the occasion.
King of Ashante described the late Briggs as “my friend in whom I am well pleased,” noting that death had robbed him of a great friend, brother and compatriot, with whom he did memorable things in life.
Aside sumptuous meals and variety of drinks, the reception for the guests was characterised by outpouring of tributes. Top on the list of speakers was a friend of the deceased, Dr. Patrick Dele Cole, who stated that most of the guests present owe it a duty to say that knowing the late Briggs was both a privilege and pleasure.
“It is the magnificence of his presence that matters. If chief is here, everybody will know he is here because his presence will suffuse this place. We were given the privilege of his particular presence.
“Please, remember that we will all leave here some day but that may not be too important. What is very important is knowing that we found love in OB Lulu Briggs. I am grateful for my association with him. I want all of you to contemplate how lucky you have been to have known OB Lulu Briggs,” he said.
Chief Ogundokun also spoke glowingly about the deceased, going down memory lane to their days as political associates. He added that he knew him at close quarters as a very humane, kindhearted, trustworthy and brilliant man who contributed to human development.
“He was very well respected by politicians in this country because he was loyal, trustworthy and patriotic. Once you are his friend, you can go to sleep, knowing he would always watch your back,” he said.
An in-law to the late Briggs, King Diamond Tobin West, was full of gratitude to the Ghana traditional ruler for the honour done on his in-law.
He said, “We thought we owned Chief OB Lulu Briggs but we didn’t reckon Ghana owned him. We thank you for your friendship. We are very grateful to you. We, the family of West in Buguma, Kalabari kingdom, from where his wife, Seinye, hails from, will miss him.”
After the praise moment, the scripture reading of Matthew 25:31-46 was taken by the daughter of the departed, Rachael. The hymn followed also to be followed by citation moment which drew tears from the eyes of some members of the family.
For a brief moment, the hall witnessed an unusual silence when Pastor Peter Bawo, a nephew of the late Briggs, read his biography.
In his homily, the pastor noted that those close to the late OB Lulu Briggs would struggle with tears whenever the reality dawned on them that “ the great Opuda was no more.”
Church service held at The Chapel, Transition Place, in Haatso, Accra at about 11:25am with families, friends, well-wishers, top government functionaries from various countries, diplomatic corps and foremost traditional rulers from Nigeria and Ghana in attendance.
With venue decorated in beautiful flowers, the service started on a joyous note as the choir groups from both Nigeria and Ghana rendered hymns that lighted the solemn ceremony.
From Nigeria was the Port Harcourt-based Royal Male Choir and the Ghana ensemble was an all-star group of the Accra Youth Choir. Both groups thrilled the audience with tunes that kept the congregation singing and dancing.
In the opening prayer, another friend of the family and cleric, Venerable Dubem Okwuosa, said it was noteworthy that Briggs ,” left something to celebrate about”, adding “Our late daddy was a great man who inspired so many of us. This was a man who created a place of worship for winning souls for Christ.
“We thank God for celebrating the life of a great sage God gave us. Let it be known that on a day like this, Chief OB Lulu Briggs made an impact on this part of the world (Ghana) and today, a grateful people are celebrating him.”
Taking a cue from Venerable Okwuosa, Reverend Eric Bosu of the Ghana Methodist Church who coordinated the service, also noted that the late Briggs “was a friend of Ghana” and as such, the Ghana people were not at the service to mourn the departed, but to celebrate a life well lived.
With his admonition coming to a close, the song, “It is well with my soul” started the praise and worship that made the hall erupt in praises and the well-wishers and family had a field day singing and dancing.