When he announced on his social media page that he just joined the ‘golden club’, many were gobsmacked. Ayodeji Richard Makun, popularly known as AY, no doubt, successfully ‘deceived’ many with his youthful disposition for years. And he also got people talking about his superlative birthday party, which was to him, a way to celebrate how far he has come from his days of humble beginnings.
Here are details of the star studded party:
The pre-birthday party
Days before the party proper, AY hosted a few people in his palatial home to an intimate lunch party. All of the people in attendance were from the South-East. Whether this was deliberate or not remains to be seen. Some of those who honoured his invitation were former Abia State governor and business partner, Orji Uzor Kalu, Obinna Iyiegbu aka Obi Cubana, Charles Ahize, Francis Nwaogwugu, Zubby Michael, Alex Ekubo, etc.
The novelty match
The following day, AY got former Super Eagles football players, such as Kanu Nwankwo, Joseph Yobo, Taribo West, Victor Ikpeba, Daniel Amokachi, Tijani Babangida, Emmanuel Emenike, etc to play a novelty match in honour to mark his 50th birthday at Italian school in Lekki, Lagos. The footballers played against a celebrity squad.
The venue of the party
Owned by the first Olori of Elegushi kingdom, Sekinat Elegushi, Monarch Event Centre, which has now become the choice venue for upscale events in Lagos, was where AY hosted his main party. The interior was well designed with a stage reminiscent of the famous and often crowded annual comedy show titled AY Live, for the evening’s performances.
The dress code
Guests were expected to turn up dressed formally as it was a black tie event. And many didn’t disappoint. Everyone dressed resplendently. Those who turned up in native wears opted for full regalia.
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That Pastor Ituah Ighodalo’s quick exit
The affable Senior Pastor of Trinity House Church, Ituah Ighodalo, arrived at the venue of the party quite early and must have thought it would kick off in earnest as announced. But immediately after declaring the party open at about 9pm, with a powerful prayer, he left.
Party with a difference
Unlike most celebrity parties, AY’s birthday party was different. As the businessman that he is, he got Glenfiddich, Four Cousins and John Bannerman Whiskey to be part sponsors of the party.
The Masters of Ceremony
The party, which was slated to start at 6pm, didn’t kick off until a little after 9pm. To keep the guests, who were excited to be at the party entertained, musician and compere extraordinaire, Darey Art Alade, held things down and as soon as his co-host Dayo Laniyan-Benjamin arrived, things kicked off in earnest. The duo did their best to steer the proceedings smoothly. One of the highlights of their job was when they both sang a melodious ballad to usher in the celebrant.
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AY’s grand entrance
The celebrant was ushered into the party by a traditional praise singing group from Ondo, his home state. Looking regal in his agbada ensemble, the praise singers eulogised him to high heavens in their Ondo dialect while displaying their culture. AY would later conform to the dress code at midnight by changing into a white dinner jacket and a bow tie.
Nollywood was well represented
AY had over the years expanded his business interests to include movie production and acting. So naturally his constituency, Nollywood, was well represented. Led by the President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Emeka Rollas, Nollywood practitioners flooded the party, from seasoned actors/actresses to the new school and upcoming acts.
Alibaba and his 40 comics
AY’s primary constituency, the comedy industry, was also well represented at the party. Led by their grandmaster, Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome, otherwise known as Alibaba, they, like Nollywood actors and actresses, invaded the party. From veterans to mid-level comedians to upcoming comics and skit makers. It is instructive to note that Alibaba is more or less like a godfather to AY.
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In fact, AY initially lived in Alibaba’s home when he moved to Lagos from Warri in Delta State. Alibaba who took his dress code a notch higher with a tail coat, was at the event with the mother of two of his children, Mary Akpobome. They both sat separately.
Conspicuous absence of graduands of AY Open Mic Challenge
With the exception of a few, most of the comedians who got their big break from AY’s Open Mic Comedy Challenge, a comedy competition platform designed to birth comic talents, did not make it to the party. People like Seyi Law, Emeka Smith, Babatunde Akinlami aka Elenu, Bennet Chinedu Daniel, aka Acapella, etc. All four are currently not in the country and only Seyi Law and Emeka Smith deemed it fit to congratulate the celebrant on his new age.
Between Bovi and Basketmouth
Comedians and actors, Bovi Ugbomah and Bright Okpocha, aka Basketmouth, didn’t make it to AY’s party nor did they congratulate him on his new age. The duo, including AY, all used to be friends until things fell widely apart among them, with Bovi choosing to team up with Basketmouth. Despite Basketmouth claiming he is cool with AY, the reverse seems to be the case.
Alex Ekubo, IK Ogbonna unavoidably absent
Although the actors who are younger friends to AY made it to the pre-party, they were unable to make it to the main party. Alex Ekubo suffered a heart break a few days to the party, when his fiancée, Fancy Acholonu broke off their engagement, four months to their wedding for reasons best known to her. He stayed home to nurse his broken heart and IK Ogbonna, like the dutiful friend he is, opted to stay with him lest he does something drastic to himself.
Funke Akindele-Bello hounours celebrant in absentia
The actress didn’t make it to the party as she is reportedly out of the country, but she did make an impression by distributing souvenirs at the party.
Celebrant honoured with doctorate degree
Another highlight of the party was when AY was decorated with a honorary doctorate degree in Humanities by Thomas A Becket University, London.
Guests got on their feet as Veentage Band, King Sunny Ade, Reekado Banks, Peter Okoye, Kcee and Humble Smith serenaded them with lyrics from their repertoire of songs.
Roll call of guests
Dele Momodu, Ned Okonkwo, Richard Mofe Damijo, Hilda Dokubo, Iyabo Ojo, Bamidele Onalaja, etc, were among celebrities that attended the party.