On the night of Friday June 7, 2013, a pre-wedding party was in progress at the Cavalli Club – named after the renowned Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli – within the 5-star luxury Fairmont Hotel in Dubai. There was champagne in abundance and some of the performers on ground for the all-night gig included DJ Jimmy Jatt, leading comedian, Basketmouth, singer Wizkid and rapper Naeto C. It was the summer party to be at.
The next day, the wedding proper held at the JW Marriot Marquis Hotel on the same street. Most of the floors at the hotel and the nearby Mirage Palace were occupied by the over 300 guests who had flown in for the wedding from Nigeria to attend. Over 40 private jets were buzzing in and out of the United Arab Emirates with sitting governors, senators, traditional rulers, government officials, politicians and businessmen.
The entire weekend was, as tabloids will call it, awash with pomp and pageantry. The groom was Oluwatosin Omokore, first son of Olajide Omokore, a maverick oil trader; and his bride was Faiza Fari, first daughter of Abdulkadir Fari, then Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources. Encomium Magazine reported that souvenirs at the wedding rumoured to have cost an estimated $8 million (N1.2 billion using the exchange rate at the time), included the Blackberry Q10 released in January of that year, other smartphones, Bang & Olufsen luxury speakers.
In the aftermath, the then Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, acting on the recommendation of his petroleum minister and Mr. Fari’s boss, Diezani Alison-Madueke, suspended and later redeployed the father of the bride to another parastatal. His accounts were also reportedly frozen by the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. The Nation newspaper quoted an insider at the ministry at the time as saying the wedding was deemed too lavish for a civil servant to fund and that in allowing his daughter marry the son of a major player in his sector, Mr. Musa had triggered a conflict of interest.