Thursday, 25 January 2024 04:52

‘We shut down Grenada and citizens of that country knew Nigerians were in town’, report says of the birthday party secretly attended by Sanwo-Olu

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The celebrant, Aisha Achimugu The celebrant, Aisha Achimugu

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos returned to Nigeria Wednesday morning after spending days partying in the Caribbean Island of Grenada in commemoration of the 50th birthday anniversary of Abuja-based businesswoman and socialite, Aisha Achimugu.

Sanwo-Olu flew in a private aircraft to the Carribean Island, and took residency in one of the most expensive resorts in the world.

Many officials of his government did not know his whereabouts for days, with some saying he was attending an official engagement in London and others simply telling us he was travelling abroad.

But PREMIUM TIMES can report that while the Mandilas building burned in Lagos on 21 January and many Lagosians remained overburdened by poverty and insecurity, their governor was reveling at a party at Calivigny Island, an 80-acre private and exquisite location which costs about $132,000 per night.

Those familiar with the event said organisers rented the Island for seven days, amounting to about $924,000 in total, in addition to other charges.

Sanwo-Olu and other participants alternated between Calivigny Island and Silversand Grenada, an exotic five-year-old seven-star luxury resort located in Grand Anse beach, where some events of the posh celebration were held.

Those familiar with the governor’s itinerary said he left Nigeria on Wednesday, 17 January for Achimugu’s birthday carnival which began with “a scrumptious welcome breakfast” and “a spectacular dinner with an explosive finish” that day. Other guests had arrived in Grenada on 16 January.

But Sanwo-Olu was only able to join the party on 18 January, the third day of the festivity. He remained there till 23 January, leaving his state without his leadership for days.

It remains unclear as of the time of this report why the governor left his duty post in Lagos, flew 7,585 kilometres to Grenada for a birthday party, at a time the people who elected him to office were grappling with severe and unprecedented economic hardship. Another yet unresolved question is how the governor funded his trip and stay in that Caribbean Island.

Sanwo-Olu did not answer calls made to him by one of our reporters seeking his comments for this report. He also did not respond to a message sent to him on the matter. The known telephone number of the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotosho, rang out the multiple times he was called.

SANWO-OLU AND THE SHUTTING DOWN OF GRENADA

Born 22 January, 1974, Aisha Achimugu, founder and managing director of Abuja-based Felak Concept Group, turned 50 on 22 January. The relationship between the socialite and Sanwo-Olu remained unclear but the governor was at the party to honour her.

Some of those who attended said it was one of the most opulent parties they have ever witnessed or heard about. The celebrant rented the Calivigny Island for one week and reserved rooms for her guests at Silversand Grenada. Several guests were also said to have been flown from Nigeria to the party location by chartered jets.

During the week-long party, Achimugu, a widow who lost her husband to Coronavirus in 2020, is said to have changed clothes at least 30 times, with each dress said to cost thousands of dollars. Those are in addition to the high-end clothes she used for a photoshoot with a celebrity photographer ahead of her event.

For most of the time, she was decked in very expensive diamond jewelry, wore designer shoes and carried Hermes crocodile-leather handbags, each said to cost between $50,000 and $80,000. One of the numerous parties took place aboard the Silver Angel, a Yacht sailing on the Caribbean sea under the flag of the United Kingdom.

In addition, a number of local and international A-list musicians and entertainers flew in to perform at the various events. Those who performed include Kenny G (American saxophonist and composer), Waje, Flavour, Adekunle Gold, Asake and Mr Killa (a Grenada musician).

Hypemen, disc jockeys, make-up artists, hair stylists and masters of ceremonies were also flown to the Island and were all paid in thousands of dollars for their services, those close to the organisers said.

David Reeves, who was the official disc jockey for the event, was seen at the end of the party displaying bundles of crisp U.S. Dollars (estimated to be up to $50,000) and saying excitedly, “who wan help you no go stress you”. Some of the musicians were sprayed with dollars as they performed.

One attendee reported that at the birthday, “exotic wines, expensive but delicious food, crisp dollars and obscene opulence were on display”. The source estimated the event to have cost the organisers billions of naira to organise.

“We basically shut down Grenada and the citizens of that country knew that Nigerians were in town, they knew the eagles had landed,” the source said, asking not to be named to avoid being ostracised by friends.

“But what even surprised me the most was seeing Sanwo-Olu at the event. Is he not sensitive to the mood of the Nigerian nation? What was he doing there as a public figure?”

 

PT

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