Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote surprised all as he showed up in the evening of Sunday, November 17, 2013, at Ark Events Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, to honour the invitation of Paul Okoye (P-Square) as he was united in traditional marriage to the mother of his children, Lola Omotayo.
The billionaire, whose cousin Sayyu Dantata (billionaire owner of MRS Oil) was chairman of the occasion, happily joined one of the richest African women, Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija (Famfa Oil) at the star-studded ceremony which attracted many politicos.
Stars of music and comedy, television and movies and some of the nation’s most celebrated people witnessed the ceremony uniting the love birds who now have two children – Cameron and Fiona.
We counted the Governor of Rivers (Rotimi Amaechi), House of Reps.’ Abike Dabiri-Erewa, wife of Cross River’s governor, Obioma Liyel Imoke and Bayelsa strong man Timi Alaibe. Chief Demola Seriki (a former minister) was also at the reception with his wife, Wosilat.
Moguls were in the house, and we saw Sahara Energy’s Tonye Cole. There was Ayo Animashaun (Hip TV) and DJ Jimmy Jatt (Africa’s number one disc jockey).
The performances at the fabulous nuptials of Peter Okoye (33) and Lola Omotayo (36) were in Premier League. KCee, Flavour Na’bania, J.Martins, Iyanya, Tiwa Savage, Banky W, Lynxxx, Ice Prince and M.I raised the roof with heart thumping stage crafts. The groom himself was enchanting as he performed to the delight of the guests. His back-flip was extraordinary!
The superlative traditional engagement surpassed its billing. Music and movie stars splashed the atmosphere in bright tinctures as they shed their ‘egos’ and enjoyed themselves.
Anchorman Gbenga Adeyinka, the 1st, led entertainers in a rollicking odyssey with exciting twists and turns. And from Funke Akindele, Victor Osuagwu, Genevieve Nnaji, Susan Peters, Ejike and Oge Asiegbu, Osita Iheme, Chinedu Ihedieze and wife, Mike Ezuruonye, Klint da Drunk, Uti Nwachukwu, Kanayo O. Kanayo, KSB, Munachi Abii, Sasha, Bracket, Dr. Sid, Don Jazzy, Kaffy, MC Ice Water, May D, Eva Alordiah and Timaya,they all enjoyed the nuptials laced with conviviality.
Conspicuously absent were D’Banj, 2Face, Davido and Wizkid.
Nigeria’s Nwankwo Kanu, a soccer legend, was there with another football great, Togo’s Emmanuel Adebayor.
Adorning flamboyant top and trousers, two attires for the ceremonies (one maroon and the other white), pencil slim Peter smiled and laughed at intervals, and was beside himself with joy and happiness. And his twin brother, Paul, accompanied by his fiancé and child, never left him alone all through the ceremony.
But gaiety befriended Lola Omotayo, whose patience and good choice turned out to be a blessing in the end by sticking to the relatively unknown musician.
Her day was glorious, and she dazzled in two Yoruba traditional attires and a green shimmering gown – three different ensembles. She was a picture of contentment and elegance.
Friends of the beautiful damsel, with uncommon luck that is the envy of even the most blessed souls, were with her at every turn of the ceremony.
From early in the morning, at her home in Parkview, Ikoyi (Lagos), friends and family swarmed around the half-caste (her mother is German) –and made sure that she looked her best. Fawning over her, they ensured that every detail was painstakingly tackled. And by the time she left home in the afternoon in a convoy of luxury cars (she was in her white Range Rover Sport, a proposal gift that sealed their love), the journey was full of promise.
But Peter arrived well ahead of his bride. From his Omole, Ikeja (Lagos) home he shared with his twin brother (Paul) and elder brother, 38 year-old Jude who’s famously single, he arrived at the venue to see to last minute details, and welcome the woman that means the world to him.
Guests began arriving the venue around mid day, dressed to the nines in the colours of the rainbow and splashes of the aso ebi. In different designs, they looked regal and sophisticated. But the women led by kilometers in gorgeous gears which had hearts fluttering.
The business of the day began at exactly 3.15 p.m, when the marital rites took centre stage. Parents (Mr. Okoye and Mr. & Mrs. Omotayo) and their families were on the front row, and keenly watched as the rites played out.
When rings were exchanged, at 5.30 p.m, and the new couple kissed and hugged to the delight of all, the hall exploded in joy.
Congratulations, backslaps and pecks dominated for many minutes. And the anchor, Gbenga Adeyinka , the generously talented comedian who holds his head high, took control – and guided us on an enjoyable evening interspersed with performances.
The atmosphere at Ark Events Centre was gay and joyous that Sunday, November 17 evening.
From the red carpet where guests networked and took photographs, exchanging pleasantries and anecdotes, laughing loudly and blowing kisses in the air, to the main venue with a three-course dinner, the traditional engagement of Peter and Lola Okoye nestled on Level 1, on account of the attention to details and the assemblage of colourful guests.
For the six hours the ceremony lasted, bliss and ecstasy reigned and ruled.
Pictures by Godwin Onyemaechi