In a befitting ceremony, that shows public display of affection, a Niger Delta Businessman, Philanthropist and the Executive Director of FENOG Nigeria Limited, Mr. Matthew Tonlagha, was on Thursday, February 8, 2018, toasted and feted by friends and family.
It was at a brief reception held to mark his birthday, by his well wishers.
The private reception which held at his residence in Warri had a couple of special guests in attendance, while a popular Nigerian hip hop singer, Harrysong, together with Warri’s top popular comedian, ‘I Go Laugh’ provided entertainment at the highly celebrated occasion.
Initially billed as a small party among few friends and family members, the popularity of the celebrant attracted a large crowd, as it turned out to be a carnival of sort.
There was a deluge of uninvited guests, but who have been beneficiaries of the generous disposition of the oil and gas entrepreneur, who have genuine affection for him and were bent on celebrating with their benefactor.
“He has touched and transformed the lives of so many of us gate crashers. Somebody we just want to bless with our prayers. It is not the food or choice drinks that is the attraction,” a middle-aged man who simply identifies himself as Francis told GbaramatuVoice.
Comedian ‘I Go Laff’ who was at his best as the MC of the ceremony, described Mr. Matthew Tonlagha as a God-sent and the nicest person he has ever met.
“He is a man who has impacted positively in the lives of many and therefore worthy of the honour,” he told the crowd.
Harrysong on his own, described Mr. Matthew Tonlagha as his brother and a good man and said he was amazed by what he had heard about the celebrant’s generosity, in what he said was “something that is beyond the flesh”.
He further stressed that his presence at the reception was to surprise the celebrant on his birthday for being a wonderful man to many.
Various guests present at the celebration, congratulated the celebrant, with all describing him as a philanthropist to humanity.
Chief Godspower Gbenekama, the Benemowei of Gbaramatu Kingdom on behalf of the Traditional Council of Chiefs congratulated Mr. Matthew Tonlagha, stressing that his contributions towards human capital empowerment and his efforts in attracting development to the kingdom are overwhelming.
Chief Dennis Otuaro, the Ibe-Uyadonwei of Gbaramatu Kingdom, narrated the exploits of Mr. Tonlagha as someone who gives whole heartedly and unconditionally.
While congratulating him he prayed for God’s unending favour and blessings in his life.
KFT Place Boss, Chief Ekomieyefa Uduboh, on his part said Mr. Matthew Tonlagha is a rare breed of gentleman whose contributions to humanity is beyond what words could describe, adding that he is someone who is worthy of emulation by all.
Chief Favour Izoukumor, Commissioner representing Ijaw Ethnic Nationality in the Board of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) said, “I extol his disciplined attention, Mr. Matthew has given to the development of education, and his penchant for always advocating advancement of the human character with the right values, leaving an indelible mark and legacy for society is remarkable.”
Former chairman of Benikrukru community, Mr. Joseph Wuruyai, has this to say about the host; “Gbaramatu is blessed to have a born-philanthropist in you. Your contributions and impact are so glaring that even the blind can attest to them. The cap of wealth looks better on you than anyone else.”
Comr. Solomon Odu, former Public Relations Officer, Benikrukru community said, “You are indeed a leader with purpose and vision. Gbaramatu Kingdom is better because of your commitment to development on all fronts. May God continue to bless and enrich you in Jesus name.”
A brother to the celebrant, Mr. Victor Tonlagha, “You have been a wonderful source of joy to the people of Ijaw nation, especially the TONLAGHA family and the people of Gbaramatu Kingdom. May this your special Birthday bring you an extra share of everything that makes you the happiest in the world. Happy Birthday our loving, caring and development-oriented brother.”
Comrade Ozobo Austin, National President of Ijaw People’s Development Initiative, IPDI, on behalf of the body said, “We eulogise an erudite, astute and charismatic leader. He was said to have empowered many and influenced several developmental opportunities in Gbaramatu Kingdom. Thank you for your good works. We wish you all the best blessings in this world.”
The highlight of the ceremony was the cutting of the majestic birthday cake by the celebrant, flanked by his wife and other well-wishers.
Present during the reception ceremony are; Mrs Esther Tonlagha, wife of the celebrant; Chief Dennis Otuaro; Chief Ekomieyefa Uduboh, the GMD of KFT Place; Chief Moses Bebenimibo.
Others are Mr. Michael Tonlagha, Mr. Victor Tonlagha; Mr. Sunday Omuze; Mr. Solomon Odu; Mr. Joseph Wuruyai; Mr. Jimoh Keniye; Mr. Godwin Olufemi; Hon. Simeon Bebenimibo; Harrysong; Comedian ‘I Go Laugh’ among other special dignitaries.