OUR GRAND BENEFACTOR
HIGH CHIEF (DR.) O. B. LULU-BRIGGS, OON, DCF, DSRSS (1930 – 2018)
STATESMAN, BUSINESS MAGNATE, PHILANTHROPIST, INDUSTRIALIST
High Chief Lulu-Briggs was born on May 22, 1930 in Abonnema, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria into two illustrious Kalabari families. His father, the late Benson Lulu-Briggs of the Oruwari Briggs War-Canoe House of Abonnema, was the grandson of the legendary Chief Iniikeiroari Young Briggs(Oruwari II) , the legendary merchant prince, founder, and sole defender of Abonnema. His mother, the late Rachael Kioba Harrison Kio Lawson of the Atonaye Pakaa (Pepple) of King Amachree Royal House, was the first daughter of the late Chief Harrison Kio Lawson. Her paternal great grandmother was the daughter of Agama, the founder of Krakrama.
He came from a long line of rich merchants and traders and had grown up being regaled with stories about their adventures and immense successes in international transatlantic trade with western merchants, as equals. Naturally, he went into business eventually, but life was not initially easy.
At an early age, under the care of his paternal grandmother, he became acquainted with Jesus Christ. He would remain a committed Christian throughout his life. Indeed, he would often talk about how it was his unwavering belief in Christ’s promise that stood as the constant in his life. These experiences would later result in his desire to help as many people as he could when he became able to do so. Despite the loss of fatherly support, even as a young businessman, he educated himself and actively sought formal employment. His tenacity, hard work, fearless attitude, and good nature paid off as he rose above his tribulations to become one of the wealthiest Nigerians with a career that took him from a clerk, civil servant, trade unionist and politician to a businessman.
He gained national recognition for his progressive role as the National Deputy Chairman of the now-defunct National Party of Nigeria, the dominant political party in Nigeria from 1979 to 1983. In this position, he was able to contribute to development in Nigeria. His was a respected voice, which he used to push for recognition of issues such as services for the country’s large populace and environmental challenges and inadequate funding for the Niger Delta region that provides most of Nigeria’s revenue.
He remained a supporter of progressive politics in Nigeria through involvement in the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), the pro-democracy group that fought for the return of democracy to Nigeria. He also played key roles in the formation of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) alongside progressive politicians such as Bola Ige, Abraham Adesanya, and Emeka Ezeife in the fourth republic.
He was also widely applauded for his business acumen in his role as Chairman and Chief Executive of Moni Pulo Limited, a pioneering indigenous oil and gas company in the upstream sector which he founded in 1992. Today, it is greatly admired across the sector.