Posted by KOLA ADEPOJU on
The Ota Farm home of President Olusegun Obasanjo is used to hosting high-brow guests from within and outside the country, but the atmosphere was remarkably convivial last weekend when the First Family gave out one of their daughters to the Adeleyes during a traditional marriage ceremony.
The Ota Farm home of President Olusegun Obasanjo is used to hosting high-brow guests from within and outside the country, but the atmosphere was remarkably convivial last weekend when the First Family gave out one of their daughters to the Adeleyes during a traditional marriage ceremony. Correspondent KOLA ADEPOJU witnessed the event that attracted a long list of very important personalities.
On Saturday, January 28, 2006 President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Ota Farms private residence, Ogun State which in recent times has assumed a political centre point of sorts, played host to an unprecedented gathering of "Who is who" in the country.
Indeed, it was a moment of relief and joy for the Obasanjos who only in the last three months have had course to mourn successively the death of the former First Lady, Chief (Mrs.) Stella Obasanjo and thereafter the colossal loss of many Nigerians in the Bellview and Sosoliso plane crashes in Ogun State and Rivers State, respectively.
The traditional wedding of Obasanjo’s daughter, Adebola Enitan (who is the younger sister to Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Dr. (Mrs.) Iyabo Obasanjo Bello) and Gbenga who has been in the news in the last couple of weeks, provided the platform for the President and members of his family to shed the toga of mourning and put on their dancing shoes.
The ceremony would for long be the talk of the town given its uniqueness by every standard as well as the high standing of the strictly invited guests that were in attendance in a way that reminded one of the celebrated wedding of the daughter of former President Ibrahim Babangida’s daughter at his Minna palatial home.
Though it was a traditional wedding, one wondered whether the Holy Solemnization at an Abuja church this weekend could boast of array of dignitaries that stormed Ota Farm and equally re-enact the attendant razzmatazz.
The unusual traffic jam at Sango Ota junction down to the junction of Obasanjo Farms confirmed that all roads actually led to Enitan’s wedding, but not all guests and well wishers were given access. It was strictly by invitation and clearance by security men. In fact, at a point invitation did not count anymore as they became "Illegal tender".
Entering the venue of the ceremony was tougher than a camel passing through the biblical eye of a needle. If you were fortunate to pass through the security barricade cum screening by eagle-eyed mobile policemen and the state security service personnel at the first gate which was the main junction, the Ota Farm main entrance proved more difficult, and for some guests, the last ‘bus stop’.
This was the experience of most visitors and well wishers. It was a day that posh cars, security aides, expensive attires, were not impressive or convincing enough to guarantee access to a wedding venue.
Many bigwigs were forced to get down from their expensive vehicles for security clearance at the junction of Ota Farm. Even after they were cleared, they were denied the right of riding on their cars to the venue. Such cars were forced to park in front of the Police Station nearby or a place called Honda while their owners and other visitors were taken to the venue through the Ogun State owned luxurious buses nicknamed "OGD Carry Go" which were accredited for that purpose.
As a result, many newsmen, especially photo journalists, were stranded while only few lucky ones including this reporter, gained access easily based on their attachment to the Obasanjo’s family or the protocols.
Despite the restriction, dignitaries had fully occupied the mega canopies sheltering the seats before the arrival of President Obasanjo who was flanked by his wife, the bride’s mother at exactly 12:02 pm.
As a result, scores of late comers sat under the other mega canopy reserved for the reception programme thereby watching the ceremony from a distance.
Notable among the dignitaries at the occasion were the Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani, his deputy, Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu, serving ministers, Chief Adeseye Ogunlewe and Chief (Mrs.) Funke Adedoyin.
Others were the governor of Ogun State, his wife and deputy, his colleagues from Imo, Rivers, Cross River, Kaduna, Benue, Borno, Kogi, Osun, Ondo, Nassarawa, Akwa Ibom, Gombe and Delta states.
Chieftains of Obasanjo’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) equally witnessed the ceremony. They included the National Chairman, Alhaji Ahmadu Ali, Chief Tony Anenih, Chief Bode George, Chief Tunde Oshunrinde, Alhaji Sule Onabiyi and Chief Joju Fadairo.
Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Otunba Mike Adenuga, Chief Festus Odimegwu, Mr. Femi Otedola and Owelle Rochas Okorocha led captains of industries and money bags to the ceremony.
Others were the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero; the Comptroller General of Customs, Elder Buba Gyang; NAFDAC boss, Prof. (Mrs.) Dora Akunyili; Chief (Mrs.) Titi Ajanaku; the Oluwo of Owu and the Olota of Ota just to mention a few.
The Obasanjos, especially the President and his daughter, Dr. (Mrs.) Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello and their in-laws, the Adeleyes who sat facing one another, were a beautiful sight to behold.
They were clad in peach and mint green silk lace uniform better known as Aso-Ebi. Imposing at the open space between the two families were wedding cakes and gifts that Yoruba tradition demands that a groom’s family presents to the bride!
At 12:12 pm, the traditional wedding ceremony began with formal entry of the Adeleyes family. According to custom, they were initially denied entrance and introduction to the Obasanjo’s family until they paid the entrance traditional fee to the wives of the Obasanjos’.
Thereafter, the traditional wedding moved on in conversational style which was characterized with Yoruba folk songs from the formal salutation of the Obasanjos by the Adeleye’s to declaration of their intent to take Enitan as wife and presentation of the wife and husband to be.
At 3:28 p.m. Chief Obasanjo, ably assisted by his wife, Oluremi (the bride’s mother) handed over his daughter, Enitan Adebola to the groom’s parents, Apostle and Mrs. Gabriel Adeleye.
He, thereafter, delved into a long traditional prayer for the fruitfulness, prosperity and peaceful marital relationship for Enitan and her husband, Terrence Afolabi Adeleye. The elated Obasanjo was apparently at his best. He danced, smiled and laughed severally while savouring the joy of the ceremony as it progressed.
Speaking with Daily Champion on the wedding, the bride’s elder sister and Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Dr. (Mrs.) Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello said, "My father (Obasanjo) always says, it is the traditional part of the wedding that he appreciates most for all his children. He’s a traditional man; he really believes in traditional marriage".
Governor Udenwa of Imo State counselled the couple thus, "They must get to trust each other, they must love each other, they must learn to keep others out of their marriage".
According to Chief Bode George, "The only thing you can wish them is peaceful wedding. I also pray God to guide them such that in the long run they will not only live as husband and wife but live like brother and sister".
Former National Chairman of PDP and Presidential aspirant, Chief Barnabas Gemade said "The ceremony has portrayed our President as a family man. I think Enitan will be highly impressed by his father’s prescence because leaving the Presidency to seat down for four hours at her wedding is impressive".
NUJ President, Mr. Smart Adeyemi said, "This traditional wedding in Yoruba race has proved that President Obasanjo is a successful father and family head".
Lagos State PDP chieftain, Mr. Funsho Williams said "This is our President’s own exemplary way of preserving our tradition and style of telling others especially in his class to follow suit".
Responding to their wedding, the bride, Enitan said "I am very very excited and happy. This is my first experience of traditional wedding and I really enjoyed it. It’s been wonderfully"
The bridegroom Terence a.k.a Terry said "I am the happiest man. We’ve tidied up for this occasion. I am now fulfilled. We thank God".
Enitan Adebola Obasanjo would drop her maiden name on Sunday in Abuja where she will get hooked to Terry at the church wedding and become Mrs. Adeleye. She’s an engineer with PhD from the United Kingdom (UK).
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