Saturdays, April 5 and 12, were indeed phenomenal days in Nigeria as President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s daughter had her traditional and white weddings. The first one was at the expansive country home of Jonathan in Otuoke, Ogbia local government area of Bayelsa State and the white wedding, at the National Ecumenical Centre, with a superlative reception, also in Abuja. YES INTERNATIONAL! GBENGA SHABA serves you snippets from the two events…
THE TRUTH ABOUT JONATHAN’S FIRST CHILD
Many Nigerians were aghast when the story about Jonathan’s first daughter getting married was broken. They wondered how come our President had a grown-up child like Faith that many didn’t know about. Well, Faith Sakwe, is the daughter of late Bayelsa PDP chieftain, Mr. Sakwe, from Otuoke, who died in an auto crash few years ago. After his death, the Jonathans decided to take full responsibility of Faith’s welfare. Up to her university education. It was while schooling at the University of Calabar that she met her hubby, Godswill Osim Edward, who is from Cross River State and they got engaged in 2013 and finally married in 2014.
HEAVY SECURITY EVERYWHERE
Heavy security was everywhere in Yenagoa and environs even two days before the wedding. Armed security operatives were stationed at strategic points along the major highways leading to the state capital as well as all the roads leading to Otuoke. Security men were seen frisking dignitaries and well-wishers before they were allowed into the private residence of the President where the wedding took place. Some of the roads leading to the Yenagoa home of the President were shut to traffic from the Isaac Boro expressway end. More policemen and officials of the FRSC were drafted to the major highways to help control the high volume of traffic. Some motorists coming from the Edepie axis of Yenagoa were forced to make a detour around Opolo to link the Elebele road before connecting the Sani Abacha expressway. Also, the Azikoro-Agbura road leading to Otuoke was filled with armed security operatives monitoring the movement of visitors.
POPULAR SATURDAY KPANSIA MARKET CLOSED
The popular Saturday Kpansia market, which attracts traders from neighbouring states, was closed due of heavy traffic, security and respect for the number one citizen, which many of the traders, although, frowned at.
GROOM’S ENTOURAGE LED BY GOV. LIYEL IMOKE
Dignitaries from all walks of life, including government functionaries, captains of industry and politicians from Cross River State accompanied Prince Osim Godswill Edward to Bayelsa to fetch his jewel. The entourage was led by the loving Governor of his state, Senator Liyel Imoke and his wife, Obioma.
N50,000 BRIDE PRICE PAID
The groom, who is now regarded as the first-in-law of Nigeria, paid N50,000 (about $300) as bride price. According to the tradition of the groom’s family, who are from Cross Rivers State, the bride price is a must for the bride’s family to accept, no matter how small or big it might be.
NOTABLE PEOPLE PRESENT
Notable dignitaries at the wedding included: Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu; Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; Governors Liyel Imoke and wife, Obioma (Cross River State); Martins Elechi (Ebonyi); Theodore Orji (Abia); Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta); Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa); Adams Oshiomhole (Edo); and PDP Board of Trustees Chairman, Chief Tony Anenih. Ministers, service chiefs and captains of industry were also there. Among them Hajia Bola Shagaya, a close friend of wife of the president and Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, the founder of Capital Oil and Gas.
APC GOVERNORS ABSENT
Members of the opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC), including Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi, who is one of the closest neighbours of the family, were conspicuously absent at traditional wedding. Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, was the only APC governor who attended. South South connection, perhaps.
IYANYA’S MMM GROUP, THE LUCKIEST OF THEM ALL
Rave crooner, Iyanya’s Made Men Music Group was the only notable band that performed at the traditional wedding. Iyanya, Emma Nyra, Teckno and Baci were present at the glamorous event and they didn’t disappoint.
TY BELLO HANDLED PHOTOGRAPHY
Popular musician cum photographer, TY Bello’s influence in the seat of power in Nigeria as the official photographer of the President is growing by the day. The slim and petit singer was in charge of the couple’s pre-wedding and engagement photographs.
THE 80-CAR GIFT TALE
Immediately the traditional wedding ended, social media became agog with a purported gift of about 80 cars for the President’s daughter and her husband. It was said that friends and associates, most especially contractors and politicians who are seeking recognition and favour, allegedly gave the new couple a gift of over 80 cars. That is besides the millions they also raked in as gifts.
The President, while pronouncing his fatherly blessings said, “With what has happened now, you are now my son. My wife and I bless you. Congratulations, my son. We pray the marriage will succeed. You have now become my son by reason of marriage”.
THURSDAY’S BRIDAL SHOWER
Before the Saturday, April 12, 2014 show-stopping nuptial, Faith and her friends, on Thursday, April 10, organised a colourful bridal shower. This was at House 7, Aso Rock Villa, Abuja. The event which kicked off around 7 p.m. was well-attended by the bride’s close friends, family and well-wishers who came to celebrate with her. Like the traditional bridal showers, there were lots of ribbons, tissue papers and gloves in bright and bold colours. It was indeed a fun filled night for the ladies, as they danced, played fun games, took turns to snap pictures, sip choice wines and canapés. They also ate before the shower came to close around 9 p. m.
THE CARNIVAL-LIKE WHITE WEDDING
The white wedding of President Jonathan’s foster daughter, at the National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja, won at all fronts. In fact, our Presido literally shut down the Federal Capital Territory for the girl. With a superlative reception that attracted the high and mighty from the religious, entertainment, political and economic sectors, it was indeed a day to remember as the Nation’s number one citizen later treated all to an unforgettable reception at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
WHAT THEY WORE
The bride chose a breathtaking crystal-encrusted dress, with a cathedral train, a white and light green bouquet, golden bangles on the right hand and a gray one on the left. She accentuated it with her silver earrings. The groom wore a black suit, white shirt, light green bow tie and black shoes to match.
WHAT JONATHAN AND PATIENCE ADORNED
Visibly happy, the first citizen and his wife were at their best. President Jonathan wore a white lace with a blue Niger Delta attire, black shoes and his now famous hat while his wife, Patience, opted for a blue iro and white buba with a silver head gear.
THE BEST MAN AND THE CHIEF BRIDE’S MAID
The chief bride’s maid wore a turquoise gown with light green studs. And the best man, a black suit with a light green bow tie and black shoes, just like the groom.
SECURITY VERY TIGHT INSIDE CHURCH
It was indeed a no go area for all the amateur paparazzi and even the professionals who were hoping to capture the event with their phones. Getting photos was impossible due to the heavy security and instructions given, until much, much later.
LCD SCREENS EVERYWHERE
Everywhere – including the car pack – was littered with LCD screens. And as such, those who could not make into the jam-packed venue were busy monitoring and enjoying the proceedings on the LCD screens positioned everywhere.
ADEBOYE IN THE HOUSE
General Overseer of The Redeemed Christian Church Of God, Pastor E.A Adeboye and so many top ministers of the gospel were present at the church service. In fact, The National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja venue of the Holy Matrimony was filled to the brim. And while handling the mic, Adeboye advised the bride to be submissive to her husband.
ONLY NTA BEAMED IT LIVE
Many thought the wedding would have gone live on all our TV stations, but it was quite surprising and unusual that only the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) was allowed to beam the wedding live.
HOTELS FULLY BOOKED
The whole of the FCT was agog. Hoteliers, especially, had filled pockets as dignitaries from all walks of life, celebrities and socialites, trooped in from different states and countries to witness the epoch event. All the major hotels, thus, were fully booked for the wedding which has been tagged ‘Wedding of the Year’, by nearly everybody.
BANKE MASHIDA-LAWAL OF BM|PRO DID HER MAKE UP
The bride looked flawless after her bridal makeup, and in her beautiful wedding gown. Makeup artist, Banke Mashida-Lawal, arguably the best in the country, made that happen.
The wedding reception started at exactly 1pm. But there was a serious gridlock from the National Ecumenical Centre, venue of the Church service, to all the adjourning streets leading to the International Conference Centre, Abuja. However, none of the guests was bothered. They were there to have fun and so much fun did they have eventually.
OVER 100 MILLION SPENT
Those who should know confided in us that over N100 million must have been spent by the Jonathans and their guests on the wedding. The choice venues, accommodation, foods, drinks, clothes, accessories, special services and so on gulped the bulk of the money – which those involved are obviously not complaining about. Like one of our sources put it: “It was money well spent; so, no problems”.