It was glamour, glitz and razzmatazz as dignitaries from all walks of life throng the sprawling edifice of the Igbinedion country home in Benin to celebrate a woman of immense substance, Lady Cherry Igbinedion, as she clocked 70.
With the talented MC Edo Pickin as anchor, and giving out the best of rib cracking jokes, the evening got off to a flying start as guests made their way into the tastefully decorated tent, and to the warm embrace of choice wine and sumptuous food, the hallmark of the Igbinedion House, in and out of season. In addition, the sensational Franchise Band and Influence Akaba dished out the best of tunes to put the atmosphere in the mood for a classic celebration.
The event began with two opening prayers one by Rev Fr Edmond Omoregbe, and the other by Rev Fr Alfred Agbonlahon, with the three arms of government fully represented at the celebration, and other top government functionaries, the ceremony took a national dimension with the recitation of the national anthem.
In the spirit of excitement, dignitaries took turns to eulogise the matriarch of the Igbinedion Dynasty in well cut speeches, highlighting her kindness, love and industrious nature.
First among those who honoured Lady Cherry in words was the former governor of Edo State, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, who gave God glory for the occasion, describing the celebrant as a mother of immense love, who has kept their father happy in over four decades.
In his speech, the Jamaican Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Esmond Reid, said the government and people of Jamaica are very proud of her, being one of them, for making them proud. He said Lady Cherry Igbinedion has become a shining example for all Jamaicans living in Nigeria.
Other dignitaries who paid glowing tributes to the celebrant were the state Governor Mr. Godwin Obaseki, former governor of the state John Odigie-Oyegun, former first lady of the State Mrs. Eki Igbinedion who spoke on behalf of the wives in the House of Igbinedion, son in-law, who is the son of late Senator Ibrahim Mantu, Bar Umaru Mantu, and Publisher of Ovation Magazine and presidential aspirant, Chief Dele Momodu.
The highlight of the event was the cutting the beautifully designed cake, which featured the celebrant in company of her husband and children. The countdown was moderated by the former first lady of the state Mrs. Eki Igbinedion, while the Deputy Governor of the state Comrade Philip Shaibu was spot on to propose a toast in which he prayed for long life and sound health of mind and body for the celebrant.
The guests were also thrilled by special performances by the celebrant’s daughter, Amenze, and her first grandson, Alex.
Other dignitaries that graced the event were the wife of Edo State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Maryann Philip-Shaibu, Speaker of State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Marcus Onobun, who led other members of the assembly; and the State Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Joe Achar.
Others include media icon Prince Bisi Olatilo, PDP Presidential aspirant, Chief Dele Momodu, Barrister Ken Imasuagbon, Barrister Kasim Bello-Osagie, Rev Fr. Alfred Agbonlahon among others.
Friends and relative of the celebrant from Jamaica led by Yvonne Freeman Wang, were also present as well as the King of Ghana, Otumfour Osei Tutu II, who was represented by a powerful delegation led by Nana Agyekum Kusi and a delegation from the Knights and Ladies of St John International, KSJI, led by the Supreme Subordinate, Prof Remy Uti. There was also a host of other chiefs from the Benin kingdom and other neighboring kingdoms in attendance.