… As Kalu’s daughter, Neya, and Lawrence Iyere tie the knot in Lagos
Colour, class, glamour. These and more features were on display in copious quantities yesterday in Lagos.
Eminent businessman and former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, played host to the creme de la creme of Nigerian society, as his delectable daughter, Catherine Ogbonneya, fondly called Neya, tied the knot with her heartthrob, Lawrence Iyere.
The solemnisation took place at the Catholic Church of Assumption, Ikoyi, Lagos, and it was immediately followed by a reception at the prestigious Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Though the church service was slated for 12 noon, guests were already waiting for the event to start as early as 10am.
One could easily lose count of the political heavyweights, business tycoons, technocrats, religious leaders and professionals from all walks of life that graced the occasion. The event provided a platform for the former governor’s friends and associates to engage in long chats.
An array of automobiles competed for space at the church’s car park. Sport utility vehicles of different brands, sport cars and other exotic automobiles dotted the arena and extended to the Falomo Roundabout.
The event might have come and gone, but the memories will remain evergreen with those in attendedance.
When the couple stepped into the church’s auditorium around 1pm, the four corners of the church reverberated with the shouts of “hallelujah” from the congregation.
During the thanksgiving, the bride and groom danced to beautiful songs rendered by the church choir. The choristers, who were dressed in black and white, were in their best element. They sang their hearts out to the delight of guests and the latest couple in town.
The groom was dressed in a white jacket and black bow tie to match his black trousers, while his wife was in a white gown. The bride’s train also wore white.
Among the dignitaries were Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, the Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), John Odigie-Oyegun, national leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former Governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, his predecessor, Chief James ibori, former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland-designate, Dr. Gani Adams, Senator Ganiyu Solomon, Segun Oni, Victor Ndoma-Egba, Alex Otti, Uche Ogah, Kola Oyeyemi, the founder of Christ Embassy, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome.
It was gathered that the couple met and started their friendship at the University of Buckingham, United Kingdom, where they both graduated.
Iyere, who obtained his masters’ degree in the UK, is a native of Irrua in Edo State. He is an entrepreneur with interests in oil and gas, real estate and trading.
Delivering the sermon, the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia, Abia State, Lucius Ugorji, said the bride personally pleaded with him last year to officiate at her wedding.
He said it was God’s love that made the bride and groom to locate each other, as God is the author of love, and, therefore, charged the new couple to deepen the good things that God has started in their lives.
According to him, love starts from the engagement ring to the wedding ring and is ultimately consecrated with endless sacrifice.
“It is love that brought the two of you together. This love mirrors the love of God in your lives. You must be ready to tolerate each other and forgive at all times. Fidelity is important in keeping the home from crisis.
“Be good teachers to your children because the society is built on these children. If you fail to train them in the way of the Lord, the society will suffer the consequences.
“Married life is a career that requires the patience of a teacher tutoring his pupil, and the humour of an artist to keep the home alive,” the priest said.
Cardinal Onaiyekan prayed for the couple to be fruitful as they begin a new phase of life. He admonished them to use the union to bring honour to themselves, their loved ones and the society.
At the reception, Oriental Hotel was completely shut down. Vehicular movement came to a standstill. The entire parking space was filled with vehicles. The compere was the popular comedian, Gbenga Adeyinka. He described the gathering as the mother of all gatherings, adding that the groom and his bride were a special breed. He begged not to observe protocol, saying that the dignitaries had overwhelmed him.
Also, ace comedian, Bright Okpocha, popularly known as Basketmouth, kept the hearts of the guests warm with humour. He cracked jokes cutting across all spheres of life. Soon after, the live band did justice to both local and foreign songs to keep the hall charged.
Kalu, the proud dad, and his family members were the first to get on the dance floor. They were followed by the Iyeres before other ecstatic guests joined the party.