To start with, there is no autopsy report yet. NONE WHATSOEVER.
So where my father’s wife got her report of no violent death must be that she knows what even the Nigeria Police, Ghana Police and Interpol does not know yet. That in itself should be subject of an investigation. Even the notorious interloper, Dr Lawrence Adusie has not tried to voice a comment since after the abracadabra. If my late father’s wife has knowledge of any autopsy report as I write, it must be one she authored because I have not seen any report. And by the way, that a death was unnatural does not necessarily mean it was violent. Isn’t someone trying, as usual, to be smart here? All the parties agreed and it formed part of a High Court of Ghana Consent Order that seven months after the death was hidden from the police in Ghana and the mortal remains of my father was deposited in a morgue in Accra, only laboratory tests run from tissue samples taken from the body could reveal a conclusive outcome. As such, samples must be given to the police in Nigeria and Ghana investigating the matter and also to the parties in the matter.. Unfortunately, an interloper took over the entire exercise, sent out both the Ghana and Nigeria police pathologists, thereby precluding them from even observing the autopsy in an investigation by the police, and refuses to take samples for the police nor give samples to the parties yet someone is pretending to be jubilating.
Now cause of death is one issue, place and time of death is another? Did our father die in Accra or he died in Nigeria? If he died in Nigeria, who kidnapped the corpse to Ghana? If, as my father’s wife now claim that as they arrived Accra aboard the charter aircraft they suddenly discovered that our father was completely motionless, did she alert the police? How was she able to get an ambulance to take the dead body out of the Accra airport without a record to the police, immigration or airport authorities in Accra, Ghana? Did she breach the security in Ghana and Nigeria? These are some of the issues.
Calling Chief Dumo O.B.Lulu-Briggs a bad name is just a distraction that can never hide or trump the issues. They can continue to be smart but the 99days for the thief is running out, the one day for the owner is just around the corner. The owner here is the law and it has a long arm.
In the over 5 hours she kept him at the PH International airport, inside an aircraft with the charter aircraft doors locked so that no one could go in or come out, what were they doing inside? He had a tracheostomy tube inserted in his throat, he was 88years old, yet his wife had no pity on him, she had him holed up in an aircraft that was completely motionless, going no where for upwards of five hours yet claims to be surprised that our father too was completely motionless as they arrived Accra? What kind of inhuman treatment to a man that was kindness personified. In all of those hours, more than 6hours just to fly from Port Harcourt to Accra that is just an hour, no one attended to him, as they claimed he was sleeping all of that time. He made no sound. Of course only the living make sounds. So was he alive or already dead? The Law has a long arm. I wont stop asking questions because in addition to being a great Nigerian, he was my beloved father. You would do the same if you had on my shoes.
I was asking the questions quietly and privately but those who have murdered sleep and could therefore not find sleep thought it was best to malign me publicly. Now the public has opportunity of hearing the other side. The peace that cometh from justice SHALL PREVAIL.
SPECIAL GREETINGS TO MY FRIENDS IN THE MEDIA AS THE WORLD MARKS WORLD PRESS DAY
It was Thomas Jefferson who said that, “the only security of all is in a free press.”
Indeed, what meaning could we have made out of the concept of Public Accountability without the Press?
World Press Day is very significant for the basic reason of raising awareness about the importance of Press freedom everywhere in the world. Through such awareness, governments and relevant agencies will be reminded of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression as provided in Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in section 22 and 39 of the Nigeria Constitution which further gained strength by the establishment of the Freedom of Information Act, signed into law on 28th May, 2011 by the President Goodluck Jonathan administration..
For all citizens who appreciate their sacred right to freedom of speech and information, it is important to take advantage of this day in advancing the cause that free communication and expression through various media, is a right to be exercised freely. The world must know that such freedom implies the absence of interference from the state. Media managers must be aware of the relevant constitutional provisions that help to preserve and protect the right to Press freedom.
I therefore join all men and women of goodwill to congratulate the media industry and all her experts and practitioners for keeping us informed and demanding responsibility from governments and public servants.
While I commend the Nigerian state for its tangible efforts in recognizing and protecting the freedom of speech and information, it is my wish that the governments will keep improving in this crucial duty as we gradually move to take our place in a rapidly growing world of technology and human Civilization.
Happy World Press Freedom Day to all my media friends and workers!
DUMO LULU-BRIGGS OFFERS FANTASTIC PRIZES FOR RIVERS CHILDREN, AS DYF23, RHYTHM 93.7FM ROLLS OUT “RIVERS OF MY DREAM” ESSAY COMPETITION
Good times are coming back again for school children in Rivers state, as the young ones, aged between 14 – 19 years, have been promised fantastic prizes, including laptops, scholarships and special training abroad by Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, for their participation in the ‘Rivers of My Dream’ Essay competition, organized by the popular Silverbird Rhythy 93.7 Fm Radio station in partnership with the Dumo Lulu-Briggs Youth Foundation, DYF 23.
RIVERS OF MY DREAM is an essay writing series, aimed at engaging the minds and imaginative capacity of participants positively. Simply put, RIVERS OF MY DREAM is a platform for participants, aged 14 -19 years to express their dreams and desires for Rivers State.
Expressing the motivation behind his decision to be involved with the “Rivers of My Dream” Essay Competition, Chief Dumo Lulu- Briggs, who went down memory lane to recall those good old days when children were not only rewarded with exotic gifts for their academic excellence but also encouraged to put in greater effort with promises of more gifts, lamented the situation these days where money and the get rich quick syndrome has even filtered down to the level of children and the perception that violent conduct and bearing arms was more lucrative than academic pursuit.
“The main reasons for which i decided to sponsor the “Rivers of my Dream” Essay competition is first to help improve and add value to the standard of the education of our children which has fallen so badly over the years and to also encourage the young ones to understand and appreciate the fact that there is reward for academic work and they should.embrace the things that will build them up and help them grow intellectually and academically instead of beliving that they will become successful once they carry arms for one big man and perpetrate violence in the society.
Speaking further, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs said: “I still remember those good old days when our parents will encourage us to pass our exams by promising to buy us gifts, if we came out tops in our exams or performed very well in school and in studies. Today that culture is no more and that is why I got involved in this project, to help bring back that attitude and spirit of academic excellence in our young people and encourage them to believe that there is still reward for hard work.
“I did not hesitate when Mr. Gbenga James of the popular Silverbird Rhythm 93.7Fm Radio station came to me and solicited my involvement in this laudable project. Like you know, i am very passionate about youth empowerment and capacity building and we have our youth Foundation the DYF23, through which we have been delivering our youth oriented programmes, like the Google partnership Infotech project for youth empowerment and capacity building , our various youth training programmes including the fumigation training, our annual youth scholarship programme and other educational programmes, under which this Rivers of My Dream Essay Competition appropriately fits into. So immediately I heard about it, I promptly directed the organizers to liase with DYF23 team and inform me of the logistics so we can contribute and support this great project for our young people”, the renowned Youth mentor confirmed.
Chief Lulu-Briggs was however quick to stress the point that this programme was not monetary incentive based but would be sponsored on a reward system where the winners would not only appreciate the virtue of reward for hard work, but would be provided with educational aids and even scholarships to the highest levels of educational pursuit and the most productive educational, leadership and capacity building institutions anywhere in the world, in order to prepare, build and fully equip them with relevant skills to compete favourable with the best in the world and also be ready to take full control of the future the Rivers state of their dreams.
Explaining the vision behind the “Rivers of My Dream” Essay Competition, the Prime mover of the laudable project, Mr. Gbenga James, a popular On Air Personality with Silverbird Rhythm 93.7Fm Radio station in Port Harcourt, said that the objective was to engage the time and minds of the young children with a profitable and intellectually stimulating academic challenge, well as inculcate a sense of pride, involvement and identity with the Rivers state of their dreams.
“Our objective and motivation in organizing the Rivers of My Dreams essay is two pronged. The first is to engage, encourage and stimulate the intellectual capacity of the children aged between 14 -19 years in a profitable and challenging academic exercise which will not only help to occupy their minds positively as school children, but also help to build a bonding and a healthy competition amongst the teenagers as they cross fertilize ideas and even spur each other to be involved in a positive, knowledge based engagement, instead of being pre-occupied with negative thoughts. The second objective is to help the children develope and nurture a sense of pride, identity and ownership in the shaping the future of Rivers state, especially since the Essay competition will afford them the opportunity of really expressing their hopes, expectations, desires and sense of belonging in the Rivers of their Dreams. Our intention is to build a new future generation of Rivers children, who will inherit and shape the Rivers of their Dreams in the near future”, Gbenga James said with conviction.
Explaining the format for participation and submission, he said, “The first Season of the Rivers of My Dream Essay Competition started in December 2017 and will run for One Quarter, which is from December 2017 to February 2018. All the children have to do is submit an entry every week. The leading entries will be read out on a Special program already dedicated to the competition every Saturday by 11.30am on Silverbird Rhythm 93.7fm. At the end of the quarter, which is 13 weeks, the star Prize winner will emerge and will be announced on radio and all other state and national media”, he stressed.
Speaking on the sponsorship package provided by the sponsor for the star prize winner and other participants in the competition, Gbenga said: “We were extremely lucky and blessed to have got our sponsor, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs to support this laudable vision for our young children. Indeed he had no hesitations about sponsoring the “Rivers of My Dream” Essay competition from the very moment we approached him and he has fully endorsed the star prize which is to sponsor an all expense-paid scholarship for the star winner, to attend a Youth Leadership training conference, workshop or seminar in any part of the world. He also agreed to that every other finalist will be given attractive consolation prizes, including laptops and other modern and practical educational aids to assist them with their learning and studies.
Gbenga James, who stressed the important fact that a distinguished team of outstanding intellectuals, including Professors sourced from the leading tertiary institutions in Rivers state, have been selected to form the college of judges for the competition, equally emphasized that the “Rivers of my Dream” Essay Competition has already started since December 1st and entries have been pouring in from young Rivers children, even as he urged those who have still not entered the competiton to do so without delay and be in line to become winners of the wonderful prizes, including the star prize of going abroad to further their education, for the star winner, which Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs has graciously endorsed for the participants.
Concluding his explanation Gbenga James said: “Children, Please Send in your entry today with important details such as your name, age, address and occupation. Send your entry via email to email@example.com. The ball is now in your court. If you are within the required age group, send in your entry and you may be the star winner.
“You must also be resident in Rivers state.For enquires, and information, you can call Gbenga on 08030968199 or Barber on 09095500061,” he instructed.
Gbenga James also hailed the Dumo Lulu-Briggs Youth Foundation for embracing this very laudable project of educating and enhancing the academic and intellectual capacity of the young people of Rivers state.
“Many thanks to DYF23 who have provided this unique platform to engage our young ones intellectually and positively. Posterity will record this kind gesture as a noble deed. You can join the DYF 23 Foundation and be a part of this wonderful project. To do this, just like or follow RIVERS OF MY DREAM on Facebook. Look up RIVERS OF MY DREAM on Facebook”, he informed.
DYF 23 is one of the leading youth based groups in Rivers state. The Dumo Youth Federation 23, popularly known as DYF 23. DYF 23 has branches in all the 23 local govt areas of Rivers state. The Youth Foundation is fully committed to moral and character building, society building, engaging youths for quality contribution to development and preparing youths for responsible citizenry. The group’s patron and mentor is chief Dumo Lulu Briggs, affectionately called, DLB, is the sponsor of the Rivers of My Dream Essay Competition.
Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs through the DYF 23 platform, also gives annual scholarship to undergrad
Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs through the DYF 23 platform, also gives annual scholarship to undergrauates in the country and annually help candidates register for Jamb. Over 500 persons benefit from the free JAMB registration across the 23 LGAs of Rivers state every year.
By David Diai
THE COMPLETE SPEECH DELIVERED BY CHIEF DUMO LULU-BRIGGS AT THE GENERATION NOW SUMMIT 4.0, WHICH HELD ON THURSDAY 30TH NOVEMBER 2017, AT THE ARENA EVENT PLACE, PORT HARCOURT
“HOW YOUTHS CAN CREATE A BETTER NIGERIA”
All protocols dully observe. Ladies and gentlemen, I greet you all.
When I was asked to address this gathering, I wondered what I was going to say, since as young Nigerians, I know you have been equipped to succeed. Before now, I would have concluded, like a lot of others that your success is the success of Nigeria. But as I thought about it, I realized that a better Nigeria did not mean a successful Nigeria. So, what do we mean by a better Nigeria, and what can you, as a youth, do to bring a better Nigeria?
I will define a better Nigeria as an environment conducive to success. One where everybody can actualize their dreams without let or hinderance. Since we are all products of our environment, a better Nigeria to my mind is creating a better environment for us to live and operate in.
Environment is everything that is around us. Living things live in their environment, constantly interacting with it and changing in response to conditions in their environment. Since, everything is part of the environment of something else, the word ‘environment’ is used to talk about many things. In psychology and medicine, a person’s environment is the people, things, and places surrounding a person. One definition of environment is “the aggregate of social and cultural conditions that influence the life of an individual or community”. In history, a person’s environment is the events and culture that the person lived in. Taken together, we see that the environment affects the growth and development of the person. It affects the person’s behaviour, body, mind and heart. To that extent, we see that the environment shapes a person’s beliefs and actions. In its broadest sense therefore, environment is both the physical environment and the value system we operate with. Values are deep seated beliefs that influence people’s actions and the rules by which they make decisions within their society. Values determine attitudes which in turn influence behaviour. Every society defines its values and engages in activities that will sustain those set of values.
We see therefore, that societal development is driven by how man engages with his environment. This engagement plays a major role in energizing, motivating and mobilizing a people or nation towards a common goal. For the purpose of this meeting, the common goal is a “better Nigeria”. Much more than the physical environment, the “value system shapes perception and beliefs”. This is why it is said that, a society with strong value system will experience high development, as against a society with weak value system, which will experience chaos and underdevelopment”. “The strength of a nation,” says Samuel Smiles “depends on the character of the people. Individual development is national development.”
But who is a youth? Because there is no universally accepted definition of a youth, you will find this stated as some age bracket or interval, most commonly for use in employment or other statistics. This age bracket is defined differently by different institutions and nations. The United Nations defines the youth as those within the ages of 15-24 years. In much of sub-Saharan Africa, the term “youth” is associated with young men from 15 to 30 or 35 years of age. The NYSC puts its age bracket as from 18-30 years. But the National Youth Policy (2009), defines the youth as all young persons between the ages of 18-35 years.
But youth is a more fluid category than a fixed age-group. As such, I will use the definition of youth as “the quality or state of being youthful”. Robert Kennedy says, “This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease”. The distinguishing characteristic of the youth includes, impatience for and with change, zealousness, radicalism, rebellion or revolt against authority, curiosity, hard work, ego or pride and ambition etc. Some of these, like zeal, radicalism, hard work and ambition, can positively, and indeed are critical to national development, the general improvement in the lives of members of a society. We can safely say that youths can be the engine of national development, if their mindsets are channels in the right direction.
Youth have, historically, been notable change agents and drivers of societal transformation. That the youth “youth constitutes the backbone and future of any nation” is not in doubt. The tragedy is that, in most countries of the world, the youth are marginalized and excluded from governance and the development process. Truth is that this unfortunate condition is not peculiar to Nigeria. In 2012, the National Population Commission’s (NpopC) projected Nigeria’s population as 167 million. Half or 50% of these were said to be youth in the age category of 15 – 34 years, with 11 million of these unemployed (Akande, 2014). Nigeria’s total population in 2016 was projected to be 193,392,517 (NpopC July 2017). Youth population was estimated at 61,306,413 or 31.7% of the total population. Nigeria is said to have the largest youth population in the world within the framework of this definition, with a figure of 33.652 million.
The prospect of Nigerian youths will appear bleak given the abysmal statistics you read in the press. The news seems to be dominated by stories of insecurity, physical and sexual violence, corruption, examination and other forms of malpractices, poverty, looting of public funds, money laundering etc. It may be true that youths have been neglected and government has so far been unsuccessful in designing and implementing policies targeting youths in our national development. It may also be true that this failure may have left the youths in despair from poverty and unemployment. I am not here to talk about the challenges facing the youths. The organization of the program is in recognition of that. I will want to focus on what you, as youths, can do to make Nigeria better.
However, what you have is mostly formal education. Important though this is, what you need now is self-development, the investment you must make both to upgrade and make yourself relevant. This you will find will be continuous, and indeed lifelong.
What Youths Can Do
Edward L. Kramer says, “no matter who you are or where you may be, you can do something to change the world for the better”. I will rephrase this to say, “No matter who you are or where you may be, you can do something to change Nigeria for the better”. I agree with Rotimi Olawale (2011) that “creating a better Nigeria is an everyday effort best lived in my personal contribution on a daily basis”. And some like Emeh Alexander Obinna (2015), would say that “building a better Nigeria simply means building a better you”. I agree with him that “this is the first and greatest of steps toward building a better Nigeria”.
I believe the greatest impediment to the contributions of youths in making Nigeria better is attitudinal. While a lot of youths are not sure of what they can do in their personal capacity, others think that they do not have the power to cause any difference, and still others think they are not important. So, I can understand the attitude I now observe amongst the majority of young Nigerian I interact with. Most, in the discussion of changing Nigeria, appear resigned, and think that change is the duty of our leaders alone. Worse still, they appear to be expecting a “big bang” change. The general perception is that the future is some far-off time horizon, building of which can be postponed to tomorrow. Truth is that the future begins today, and we must start building it today, and, day by day. To be able to do this, we must be able to set aside certain beliefs, assumptions, and practices created in and by the past that would otherwise become a wall between our today and the potential tomorrow holds.
Let me however say that the change that we desire for Nigeria can, as a first step, only come from those of us present here. In that sense, the change that we desire is the sum total of changes in our individual attitudes and behaviour. Therefore, my one sentence proposition of “how youths can create a better Nigeria” is, “change yourselves”. I am in total agreement with Marcus Aurelius, “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one”. Waste no time arguing about change, be the change agent. The change that begins with us, will extend to our families, communities, states and country. There is the saying that, “thoughts manifest as the words, words manifest as deeds, and deeds develop into habits. And the habit hardens into character”. So, as a first step, change your thoughts about, and the way you view Nigeria from the negative to the positive.
While the general suggestions of what need to happen for Nigeria to better, is what other can do for youths, like engaging them in the political, legislative, policy and governance processes. However, I should point out that this gathering is meant to shift our focus away: “from others to us” to “from us to others”. This shift in focus is important because it is unlikely that leadership will be handed to the youths. Like Attahiru Jega (2017) said, “young people cannot afford to be apolitical, apathetic and indifferent to what is happening in governance and in the larger political economy. They need to get engaged and involved”. Youths have to take over leadership by acting. So, how can the youths act, or what should the youths do to make things better for us all?
In the light of this, let me make some suggestions as to what you can do to make Nigeria better.
First, is the tiny, but probably the most important, and yet the most neglected bit, of what youths can do to make Nigeria better. This is the issue of the questions youths seek answers to. The kinds of questions you try to answer will define you as a person. If all you ever ask is of the kind, “what is happening to my life?” or “why is my life like this?” you are not likely to progress, because you are not likely to use your potential since you will not recognize you have one any way! If, on the other hand, the questions you ask are of the nature, “what can I do to change this for the better?” or “what are the opportunities here?” you are likely to make Nigeria a better place.
This parallels the perspective of whether the glass is half full or half empty. This same glass is seen by different people from different perspective. While some see it as half full, some others see it as half empty. Though both are correct, but one perspective reflects optimism and the other pessimism. So, let me challenge us today, to change our mind set, by changing the kinds of questions we ask. Those seeking opportunities are those who will find them.
Having changed our perspective or attitude, the next thing the youths should do to make Nigeria better is to get involved or engage with the system and processes, political and all. There are several ways this can be done. I will only mention a few, as it is impossible to produce a comprehensive list. My hope here is that you will find one that fits your circumstance. Failing which, I hope to set you on the path to finding the best way for you to engage with the system. This is what I have referred to earlier as engaging with the environment. These, as you will notice, are all just facets of engagement with your environment. They are not different, but rather complementary activities.
Volunteer – this first means of engagement is by volunteering. Some consider this the highest form of service you can give to your country. And rightly so, since volunteering means you offer your competencies for free. I won’t be surprised if some of you scorn at this prospect. But while we find it easy to accuse politicians of embezzlement, have we wondered about the implication of his paying for our involvement in the campaign efforts? If he paid for your services, on what grounds do you condemn him for trying to recover the money has spent? If you volunteered your services, you would have significantly reduced the cost of the campaign project and therefore established the moral grounds to question him if he goes to misappropriate public funds. Please Volunteer! There are so many good causes around you, striving to improve the lots of Nigerians for you not to find one to volunteer with. With volunteering, you are taking a higher step in that you are helping to making things right and better rather than just talking about what is wrong.
Join – as a volunteer you only offer your competencies. But when you join a group or cause, you are not just giving your time and or resources. You become a part of something. You take ownership for something. If you have not, please join a political party. Do just register to vote. You cannot assume political leadership by being a voter. Only by being a member of a political party are you likely to end up in political leadership. At the moral level, do just go to church if you are a Christian. Join the work force of your church. It is a good place, not only for moral training, but also a place to acquire leadership, mobilization, speaking and teaching skills. Join people, a group or cause, you will have the opportunity to make Nigeria better for all of us! Remember, joining others will expand your sphere of influence and skills set.
Collaborate – finally, never work alone. Collaborate. This is the most important activity to focus on. Remember, the key lesson about synergy that comes from collaboration, is that the whole will become greater than the sum of its parts. No individual can produce a better result alone than a group, no matter how good and efficient they may be! Some of you may be saying you work better alone. You need to collaborate. Start now! In addition, it makes you relevant in the solution process. Oprah Winfrey once said that ‚ “the key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but significance and then even the steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning”.
Complementing these facets of activities is reading. Charles Scribner once said, “Reading is a means of thinking with another person’s mind; it forces you to stretch your own”. Knowledge gotten from reading sensitizes the brain to buzz with new ideas and creativity.
In conclusion, I will leave you with the perspective of Olawale as my recommendation of how you should face the onerous task of working to make a better Nigeria. He has this to say: “my role in building a better Nigeria involves a conscious effort to being a better person, continuous advocacy for policy reforms especially ones affecting youth, involvement in on-the-ground project to show examples of what can be done to improve and empower youth in Nigeria and lastly, living a life that can be emulated as an example of an ideal Nigerian”.
Thank you for listening. God bless you. Long live Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari has been commended for his continued commitment to the overall development of the Niger Delta Region in spite of the current economic crunch facing the country.
The commendation was contained in a statement issued in Port Harcourt by a top member of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs.
Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs who was reacting to the 2018 budget estimates presented by President Buhari to the joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja on Tuesday, as it affects the Niger Delta Region, expressed happiness over budgetary allocations of more than N17 Billion for the completion of the East/West Road in 2018 as well as the Federal Government Amnesty programme which would gulp over N65 Billion in the coming fiscal year.
He was full of praises for the President Buhari led administration for its promise to pursue with vigour the full implementation the Ogoni clean-up exercise and the execution of the Multi-Billion Naira Bomu-Bonny road project which according to the President, when completed would open up the economic potentials of the Niger Delta Region beyond the shores of Nigeria.
Other highpoints of the 2018 budget estimates as it relates to the Niger Delta Region include the extension of Rail line to Warri in Delta State and the increase in the budgetary allocation of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to the tune of over N57 Billion.
Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs noted with optimism that all the projects that were earmarked for the Niger Delta Region as captured in the 2018 budget estimates would no doubt go a long way in fast tracking the hitherto infrastructural decay that had bedeviled the region in the past.
The APC party stalwart called on all warring communities in the region to sheathe their sword and support the President who he said demonstrated high level of sincerity towards the development of the Niger Delta.
Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs attributed the current peace being witnessed in the region to the combined efforts of the security agencies, traditional rulers, elders, opinion leaders, religious leaders, stakeholders and the youths who laid down their arms to embrace the Federal Government Amnesty programme.
He added that there was no alternative to peaceful coexistence among the various ethnic nationalities in the South-South geo-political zone and urged all and sundry to give peace a chance.
THE LAST SUPPER PAINTING:
We thank God for keeping us to this day. I feel very particularly honoured that this church, the St. Cyprian’s church, would honour me and make me the Grand Harvester for this year’s harvest.
Well, this is to harvest a crop; what is more important for me is to harvest souls. It said in the Bible that when you harvest souls the heaven rejoices. And the only way to harvest souls properly is by showing love. When you show love you harvest souls.
There is a story I like to tell whenever I have the opportunity to do something such as this. I like to talk about the last supper painting, which is a true life story.
The LAST SUPPER PAINTING as you all know was done by Leonardo da Vinci. Now, when the artist was called upon to do the painting, he had to depict Good – in the person of Jesus Christ, and to depict Evil – in the image of Judas, the friend and disciple who decided to betray Jesus Christ.
Now one day, while listening to the choir, he found in one of the boys the perfect image for Christ; and so He invited the young man to his studio and made studies and sketches of the young man.
Three years had gone by. The Last Supper painting was almost complete, but Leonardo the artist had still not found the perfect image for Judas. But of course, the cardinal of the church had started putting him under pressure, time was running, the painting had to be finished.
After several other days spent vainly searching, the artist came across a prematurely aged young man, in rags and lying drunk in the gutter. With some difficulty, he persuaded his assistants to bring the young man straight to the church. He didn’t have much more time left; and then he propped the young man up a little bit and the artist was able to copy the lines of impiety, the lines of sin and the lines of egotism all clearly etched on the features of this young man.
Just as he was done, the young man had sobered up a little bit, and opened his eyes and saw the painting before him; and he said:
“Oh, I have seen this painting before!” he exclaimed. And Leonardo the artist was surprised and asked
He said “three years ago, when I was a young man singing in the choir and my whole life was ahead of me, full of dreams, the artist had invited me to pose as the perfect image of Jesus Christ”
So you find that the same person who three year ago the artist had used as the face of Christ was the young man he found in the gutter three years after and then tried to use that same young man as the face of evil.
It tells you that when we do not show love that is what can happen to our own. When the young man was full of life, when society cared about him, he was wonderful singing in the choir. when life was out of him, he was found drunk in the gutter. It tells us that we always should care.
On this note I make my harvest.
ADVERTISING JESUS (PT.3): ASE OBUNGE – DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER AND GIVEN ONLY 3 MONTHS TO LIVE BUT STILL ALIVE 34 YEARS LATER ADVERTISING THE GLORY OF GOD.
“Before I came (River State, Nigeria), I asked God a simple question, why am I here?.. I said God why? Cos I reside in the UK. Why did I receive an invitation to attend this meeting (Soteria Prayer and Worship Breakfast meeting)? The Holy Spirit said because there’s somebody that needs encouragement. There’s somebody that needs to stand on, somebody that needs to hold on and not give up.
And for others, you need the God that I serve; you need to understand His ways. You need to know He is not a fast food God. He’s a God of process, and my testimony is a journey… sometimes you’ve heard something happened and miraculously things changed. Mine is not that way. Mine is a journey.
Who am I? Some of you know Pastor Nims Obunge. Some of you know my elder brother Professor Obunge. Some of you may know my twin brother, Belemina Obunge that is the regional pastor for Redeemed and Special Assistant to GO. My late father, Ambassador Obunge, represented Nigeria in many countries, so I grew up in Sweden, Rome, Ireland, England, Republic of Benin, etc. I’ve attended in excess of 18 schools; and I ended up at the London School of Economics after 5 A’levels. So, after working very hard, I got into the LSC and those of you that knows about the LSC knows it’s a very competitive place. But I got into the LSC as a Law undergraduate; and started working hard the way I’m meant to work hard.
Easter, I was getting ready for my exams and I thought I had a toothache, and I went to the dentist but they couldn’t figure out what was wrong and sent me to the hospital; and I had a biopsy where I lost a lot of blood. They couldn’t still figure out what was wrong with me. Later on the doctor said to me ‘Mr Obunge can we have a word with you?’ And I said of course! Let’s talk. And he said ‘I don’t know how to tell you this but you have cancer.’ I looked at him and said cancer? And he said yes! And I said, ok! Apart from dying what’s the worst thing that could happen to me? ‘He said well, you may lose your jaw.’ So again I looked at him and decided to go back and study some textbooks. Now because of the rapid type of cancer I had, I immediately started on chemotherapy and radiotherapy. That wasn’t getting any better. This was in April 1983. Today is a special day because today (30th September 2017, coincidentally the same day that the Soteria 2nd edition is holding) is my birthday, and it been 34years since I’ve been diagnosed with cancer. So… I had chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I lost a lot of weight (from weighing 60kg, I went down to 40kg), I could hardly talk and walk. Then, my parents were told in around September 1983 that if I am lucky, I have three more months to live. And they said, we don’t think he will last that long but if he is lucky maybe 3months.
Redeemed Christian church of God had recently just started becoming active. Pastor Adeboye had just taken over. The first prayer meeting redeemed held in the UK was in my house. Pastor Adeboye would come to London to come and visit me. I couldn’t sleep so he would put my head on his lap and just pray with me until I’ve slept then he would go back again.
To rewind forward, chemotherapy radiotherapy no way! Things weren’t good; and no one told me that I was expected to die. One day I took my hospital file, (usually I was in wheel chair) they said go for a CT scan. They didn’t know who I was. So I took the file to the hospital basement and read my file and they wrote there – ‘terminal’. So I said, ok this people expect me to die. So, I asked myself two questions – one, do I really believe in God? Though I was brought up as a Christian, but did I really believe in God? And I thought about it. Yes I did! The second question I had to ask myself is that, did God perform miracles? I’ve heard people talk of headaches, that they had headache, they prayed, it went, but I’ve never met anyone who have been healed of cancer. And so I said, God, do you really perform miracles? And it’s a hard question because in the hospital anyone that knows about oncology, you are surrounded by ill people and I look at them as ill, for me I was just there for a season. I thought about it and I said ok! God that reigns in the affairs of men, God that says call upon me and I will answer you, the God that says He’s our ever present need, ok I shall believe Him. I said ok, God I do believe in miracles… but things were tough.
I woke up one morning and told my sister who was with me that look, I need to come back to Nigeria (because I was going to die that weekend) I just knew I was going to die. So we called the airline. They said if I was that ill I can’t fly (Nigerian Airways in those days). And so we pretended that I wasn’t ill. Meanwhile I hadn’t walked for ages. The day I was to travel to Nigeria, we wrapped up my head (I had lost all my hair because of chemotherapy), wrapped up my face, I wore sunglasses. For the first time in months I walked unaided from the car park to the checking-in desk, nobody said anything; because we didn’t want them to know I was ill. Then unaided I walked to the departure lounge, nobody said anything. Meanwhile you can imagine how my heart was beating in case they stopped us. No one said anything. As soon as I sat down in the plane my weakness returned. And I just knew, God has given me the strength to walk from the car park into the plane.
We got back to Nigeria and Redeemed Christian Church of God used to have their headquarter in Ebute-Meta, and since I got there, the GO looked at me and in his characteristics manner laughed. He just looked at me and said ok! Let us see. I went to redemption camp and I stayed there for quite some time; and what did they do? Every 4hours we prayed, 24 hours a day. No medicine. GO would pray over hot water and olive oil, they would use it to clean my wounds. From 1983 – 1985 puss was coming out of my face and the tumour just sticking out. For two years, until my face completely disintegrated. And this thing I tell you is a journey. My testimony isn’t instantaneous.
I had one challenge – I needed to go back to the university and no one could understand this. I had entered the LSC and this thing (ailment) was wasting my time. So after two years, I persuaded my father, look, let me to go back to England. My father eventually let me come back and I got back to the hospital, and they looked at me and said “why are you alive?” And I said because we prayed. They said “no no no! What African medicine did you use?” I said Arh arh! We prayed. I called up on God and He healed me. And they said ok! YOU NO LONGER HAVE CANCER but your face has been destroyed completely.
When you look at my face what I call it are scars of battles. To have a testimony you have to have a test. To have a testimony there has to be a challenge; and that is what the testimony is. The testimony is when you’ve gone through challenge and you come through, and my testimony is the fact that I’m here today. My testimony is that I have surgeries and that’s an interesting thing. They cut my chest in half and sewed it on to my face. And yet all through that process God kept me.”
However, I still had another problem – I needed to go back to university. And I said to my consultant, look, can you kind of and hurry up because LSC has kept my door open and I want to go back to study. They looked at me and said this man doesn’t understand what he is going through. For psychology reasons you can’t go back. So they called my father and explained everything to him; and my father came to me and said “Ase, look, the doctors are saying how can you talk about university when you are so ill.” And I smiled to my father and said, tell them to do whatever they need to do because I have to go back to university. So my father said to my consultant, you know what he told me, I told him but this is what he has said…. The consultant said ok, let us work with him. To the glory of God, I think I have an excess of 9, 10, 11 operations. I’ve lost count. But all through my process, that is how I did my law degree and my last test at one of the most challenging universities in the UK.
Another testimony is that, when it was time for my final exams, I said to God pls, you know I’ve gone through a lot and even if I get a 3rd class you know we’ll understand, let me just pass. I missed a 2:1 by a few marks, and then I said to God, God you should have known that I was joking, you should have given me a 2:1. Though I said 3rd class but sometimes don’t take me seriously. That again is another testimony.
The last bit to my testimony is that, my doctor said ok, “Ase, do you want to have children?”And I looked at him, I knew what he was talking about; because when you have chemotherapy, chemotherapy destroys the good cells. Nowadays, if you are going to have chemotherapy as a woman, they would take your eggs and freeze it, as a man, they will take your sperm and freeze it. In my days because of how fast everything happened and because I had 3 months to live, the last thing I was thinking of is having children. The doctor said “Ase, do you want to have children?” and I knew what he was up to. So I said ok… if I want to have children, when I’m ready I will have children, and I left it that way. At the moment I have two children – a 10yr old and a 7yr old.
Apart from the fact that there’s no logical reason why I’m alive today, apart from the fact that inspite of everything I did my law degree, I did my masters, inspite of the fact that I shouldn’t have children, God that I serve, the God that I know, the God that said with Him all things are possible, and that is the God that I want you to know. The Holy Spirit has said someone in here needs to be reminded about who He is. Those of you that do know Him, He’s the God who reigns in the affairs of men. There is a God who said I will never leave you nor forsake you. There’s a God that you should call upon, I don’t care how long it is. Some miracles just happen like this. Some miracles take time; and If ever you are thinking that God takes too long, think about me.
My brothers and sisters, in the testimony I’m giving you today, I’m not telling you that it was easy. I’m not telling you that when you call up on God immediately He’s going to answer you. I’m not telling you that there won’t be anguish, there won’t be pain, there won’t be difficulty, I’m not telling you that there won’t be times of loneliness because I have experienced all that; but yet I know one thing, even on my worst day, even when I don’t feel like praying, even when I don’t feel like singing, I know that there’s a God who reigns in the affairs of men.
APC WOMEN LEADERS FAMILIARISATION MEETING WITH CHIEF DUMO LULU-BRIGGS ON THE NEED FOR MEMBERS TO REMAIN LOYAL, SUPPORTIVE AND FAITHFUL TO THE ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS AND HER LEADERSHIP IN THE STATE
APC women leaders of the 23 local government Areas of Rivers State, as well as women members of the state party executive and other prominent women stakeholders of the party, led by the state women leader, Evangelist Caroline Nagbo and her Deputy, Princess Urie, had an interface with Chief (Barr.) Dumo Lulu-Briggs on Thursday the 21 September 2017, to further consolidate the unity of the party in the State and pledge full support and loyalty to the leadership of the APC in Rivers State.
The parley, convened solely by the women leaders, as part of their dedicated effort towards mobilizing women for the collective objective of building the party and strengthening the structures and resolve of members to be fully focused ahead of the 2019 electioneering season, equally served as an opportunity for them to highlight the core value of respect, which they described as a virtue that the women of APC hold sacred and which had prompted the interface with a well-respected personality like Chief (Barr.) Dumo Lulu Briggs, in order to promote a sense of unity and belonging and to share ideas on the need to strengthen the party through membership support and loyalty to the leadership in the state.
Addressing the women, after the preliminary official formalities had been dispensed with, Chief (Barr.) Dumo Lulu Briggs expressed his heartfelt appreciation to the women for deeming him worthy of the auspicious invitation to interface with them at such a high level gathering and pledged his unalloyed loyalty to the leadership of the party in the state, even as he applauded them for their dedication and commitment to embrace the challenging but achievable quest to strengthen and unite the APC in Rivers State.
He further commended their zeal, courage and faithfulness to the party over the years and while urging them not to hesitate to call on him whenever the need arises, assured them of his support to their positive efforts and activities in promoting party unity and harmony amongst member at all times.
“Let me start by thanking all of us for our commitment to the APC cause and for finding me worthy of your presence. I am one of you today because you have made appealing impacts as the frontrunners of the party. I am thankful because you kept on with the struggle and even when it looked like the road was very difficult, you kept the APC alive. And today, the APC has become the conscience of Rivers State and it is because of the foresightedness of all of you who are here,” Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs addressed them.
Speaking further, the distinguished legal luminary went down memory lane and extolled the virtues of women and their important role in society, even under very harsh and challenging circumstances and while recalling the brave and courageous initiatives the APC women have undertaken to ensure the continued sustenance of the party in the state, emphasized the need for them and indeed all party members to recognize and respect the leadership of the party always.
He said: “Growing up, life was rough but my mother was always there for me, so I know that I will not be a man today if not for the woman that God gave me as a mother. So, no matter what happens, I value women, I respect them because they remind me every day of the sufferings that my mother went through to raise me. There is enormous responsibility that the women carry, and if not for you, this party will not be anywhere. I thank all of you for holding firm, for agreeing that what we have in Rivers State is one God, one state, one party (The All Progressives Congress) and one leader, the Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. Now, when you have all of that, it means that your victories are guaranteed,” he assured them.
Encouraging the APC Women and other party members to be firm and committed in their resolve to put the party first and ensure total victory for the APC in the 2019 elections, Chief Lulu-Briggs said, “I want to tell us that 2019 is a defining moment for all of us and nobody appreciates that better than the leader of the party. It means a lot more for him that we win the 2019 election, than it means to almost all of us who are also members of this party and who have all kinds of aspirations. It will be wrong of me or anybody to input wrong motives in his actions, because frankly, it will be more costly to him if we make any mistake in 2019 than it will be to all of us who are aspiring. Therefore, it is important that we give him the benefit of the doubt.
“The leader of the party Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi believes that we must build a Rivers State that will not be hostile to our children, a state that will love them and provide opportunities for them to realize their full potentials. It is important for him to ensure that the state begins to work for every man, woman and child. Today, Rivers State is struggling to find her feet while Lagos State has moved on,” he informed them.
Rounding up his brief remarks to the APC Women, the humble business mogul and loyal party chieftain told them that, “It has to be about you and not about the person contesting elections; it has to be about all of us. So we need to have people who are capable and are willing to expand the economy to accommodate all Rivers people. For whatever opportunity God gives to us, He expects us to use it to enrich the lives of the people. Nothing means more to us than the love that we show to one another, so we should pray to get people who will get into positions and remember that it was never about them, that it is just a position they hold in trust in order to explore resources in a manner that will make provisions for every Rivers man, woman and child,” he enjoined them.
“There are two important moments in the life of everybody; the day you were born and the day you realized why you were born. I have realized that I was born to serve; I was born to share my life with people. I hope that in 2019, we will be able to bring back that Rivers State that cared for all of us. We have to begin to love again, the money we store in the banks for our children won’t give them happiness; what will give them joy is that they have a society that cares for them,” he concluded.
In her own remarks, the Rivers State APC women leader, Evangelist Caroline Nagbo, thanked Chief (Barr.) Dumo Lulu Briggs for honouring their invitation, as well as recognizing and also deeming it fit to interface with the women of APC in Rivers State, even as she lauded the humility and altruism displayed by the frontline politician and expressed deep gratitude to him for understanding the plight of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, and appreciating the fact that he has made great sacrifices for the growth and development of Rivers State.
The woman leader who spoke deeply about the sufferings of Rt. Hon. Amaechi at the hands of detractors whose trade was to cast down rather than lift up, declared that the leader of the party believes in development and the raising of Rivers people, adding that Amaechi’s resolve to channel resources towards the cause of development, among other things, brought him so much persecution and sufferings.
She then recounted the sufferings that APC women had gone through simply because they stood by their convictions in 2015 and beyond and stated with all sense of pride that despite the obvious challenges and temptations, no APC woman jumped ship as they remained intact and solidly behind Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
Describing Rt. Hon. Amaechi as one with great vision for women, the APC Woman leader affirmed that the vision came to a manifestation through the invaluable support of Dame Judith Amaechi, wife of the former Rivers Governor and now the current minister of transportation and the leader of the All Progressive Congress, APC Rivers State Chapter.
Evangelist Caroline Nagbo said: “Dame Judith ensured that there was an adequate representation of women in all aspects of governance. Her husband granted those wishes and positioned women strategically. The women of APC are solidly behind Rotimi for being a good leader and for recognizing the sufferings of women. The leader himself has suffered so much persecution in the hands of detractors but he is God’s anointed; he shall always emerge victorious,” she posited confidently.
Extolling Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs for his humility and the respectful decision to follow the proper channels and the recognized due process defined by the rules and guidelines when he joined the APC, she said, “We are happy with you because your coming into APC didn’t bring sorrow and confusion. Your method of entrance; recognizing the grassroots, the ward executive and units officers, prove that indeed, you are a true politician. Your membership in APC has added value to the party. What is more exciting to us is that you are supportive of our leader, you are loyal and obedient to him, praying with him and committed to the objective of building and strengthening the party. We appreciate your good role sir. God will bless you for recognizing the pains that we have all gone through. We believe in the vision of Rotimi, and will follow him all the way,” she enthused.
Exhorting Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, the Rivers APC top Woman admonished that, “It is written that when a man humbles himself, God lifts him up. We are touched by your level of humility. Humility is the way of our leader, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. Our leader is a very compassionate man and your remarks about him today tells us that you are that proverbial child that sits at the feet of his father and learns wisdom. You are loyal, obedient and supportive, God will reward you equally,” she prayed for him.