Saturday, January 28, 2017 11:35 am
Multichoice Limited, operators of the DSTV and GOtv platforms in Nigeria, provides a one-day gate-away, tagged Celebrating Champions at Inagbe Beach Resort
By Daniels Ekugo
Struggling to balance with workload in the office and how to effectively manage the home front as it was almost Christmas; my tiny Itel 5020 phone beeped. Not eager to pick up familiar calls, I hesitated. The call was actually from an old friend, Tosin, whom I had picked fights with some months back; like in James Hadley Chase storyline, he was straight and simple – “Have you gotten your e-invite to the fun party at Inagbe?, Check your mail.” Not even sure of what he was saying, I said “Right on time buddy”! Though, it’s been two weeks that I last checked my email. The call also brought past memories when Segun Fayose, ex- staff of Multichoice called me when I was preparing for my traditional marriage, asking me to prepare for a South African trip and pronto! I was in South Africa. But this was not Segun Fayose but the similarities were the same.
The next two hours saw me printing, calling back and replying the e-invite to Ms Jennifer. Wow! What a great escape from my kids, it will be. I thought. But was I being fair to myself? I dreamt of the sea, the freshness of the sea food and about the Avengers, lurking around the mangroves. I researched about the Resort and saw it was almost a 40 or 45 minutes speed driving on sea; so trying to find how many nautical miles, never make meanings again. I wanted those breaks; that escape from my army of boys – Rejoice, Eto, Arthur and Mezikam.
Amidst sequence of questions from my kids that early morning; and like a Mormon monk, I dressed up according to the required dress code (White), but very likely, like I do often times, I added red to the dress code. I am always at peace with red stuffs – roses, wine, vodka, cars, watches etc. On getting to our escape route – the Lagos State jetty at Ikoyi, I met several other ‘champions’, some, of whom I have lost contact with years ago while doing my beat with The NewAge Newspaper. There were banters akin to in-laws arriving for a traditional marriage of their son, laughter and also uneasiness as three boats lined up for the journey.
We were handed our safety apparels and a little talk-show about what we might experience. I whispered to Tosin, whom I have already made fences with. “Guy, if we fall into the water and the sharks came calling, where then is our safety boot?” We laughed over it and made straight to the medium luxury boat which I was privileged to join. Lawrence, Mimi and Tosin joined, and that made us great voyagers. We promptly sat at the back, close to the twin engine. For me, I wanted to see how it goes with engine and not with the pilot, and instantly the engine came alive and there we were – speeding up the sea. I murmured to myself “Where those self-acclaimed pastors that pray, casting and binding evil spirits that line up the Benin-Shagamu Road to suck travelers blood and at the same spot distributing envelopes for offerings and or tithes?. Does this mean nobody is going to pray and collect offerings here? What are they afraid of here? Mermaid or Sharks?”
My first relief was the freshness of the sea hitting my face, sights of fleets of ships discharging and taking what I don’t know lines the route. The Mersk Shipping line office with several of the fleets made a picturesque of a busy market square.
Someone called to our attention of two magnificent high luxury boat – According to them, one of the high end yachts is for Otedola, while the other one was for another top guru in the country. These high caliber yachts were surrounded by other smaller boats; probably they were having a tea party. I weaved the wealthy men’s arena off my mind and asked the assistant pilot, “Where is Atlas Cove”? He smiled and showed me the path to the surprise attack on our pipeline then. I was surprised that I sighted only one gun boat – whether it was for the police or the navy or army or combined, that anchored there, was not my problem, my only problem as I asked again, “If these guys corners us now, how do we get out of the logjam? . Nobody ventured to answer.
After several minutes of high speed, we anchored at Inagbe Beach Resort. I heaved a sigh of relief. Here we come for the fun, I said as we alighted to the warm embrace of the Resort staff. We were given fresh coconut and a straw to sip the water from it, and also were decorated with some flower petals which I find uncomfortable with. We weren’t able to check out the resort’s hotel because we were ordered to march towards where some Toyota Hilux vans were packed for onward transmission to the other side of the resort – the beach.
My accompanying guys Tosin and Lawrence were already waiting for my remarks, and I said, two things I enjoy coming into the Resort is it made me feel like a Jamaican with this coconut and straw stuff. I loved the horses and the serene environment but sadly the petals around my neck reminded me of how badly those Indian actors that I watch on Zee World feels when they adorn their selves with these kind of flower petals that I was welcomed with because it was uncomfortable for me.
We were driven to the fun spot within a space of five minutes. The arena looks set to hosting some champions indeed. The first thing we had was the cocktails. I really loved the wine assemblage. The bar tender saw I had great taste for vodka and he did justice to the mixture. It came through, and like my friend did say ‘Spirits sharpeneth Spirit’. My spirit was on the right mood. The meat was fantastic, but most unlikely the food was something else – not really an A-plus food.
The fun picked up with Ani Chinedu popularly called Nedu, an On Air Personality (OAP). He cracked some jokes – though some weren’t as funny as he thought it might have been. It was funny seeing Nedu growing long beards too. He announced the find-the-treasure game, which almost took eternity to find, followed with a rag race. Hilarious is it when you see old men stuffed into a bag and ordered to run wild for pension. This time I said I am not going to sit idle. I joined the dancing train as the DJ unleashes favourite Nigerian artistes’ songs. I did justice to few – Phyno, Olamide, Shina Peters, which won me a black tie from Multichoice and was thankful I donated it same time to the needy; it was not funny that 80 per cent of attendees were male, so no fidgeting around the beach.
The Inagbe Beach Resort seems to be an escape centre but unavoidably you will love to hate the public relations personnel there, the beach arena is something else – the toilet facility for heaven’s sake should be taken care; and proper training of its adhoc staff will improve the beach’s’ rating. I manage to use the open air facility – no roof, no hinges on the door – but was sad also to find out there were no toiletries around; I had to call out for water.
I went back to dancing away my sorrow while the sun was getting set. A vote of thanks was made by Ms Efe of GOtv; which promptly reminded us that the champions day out has ended. Trust me, I quickly grabbed a cup of vodka and set for the departure. Meanwhile the reality was beginning to set in on me that those kids that I had escaped from will be waiting for my return with barrage of questions on what happened during the daddy’s day out. We (Tosin, Lawrence and me) returned to the same semi luxury boat that ferried us to the resort and off we speed off back to Lagos. This time I wasn’t watching the engines nor trying to find answers to my questions but was dreaming away. As we anchored back in Lagos jetty, I said to my hosts “Thanks a bunch, the fun was great but in between, it was a sore grape”.