Warri billionaire and symbol of Itsekiri youth leadership, Chief Ayirimi Emami, no amount of wealth and fame can make him forfeit the street sense and life he had embraced from childhood, especially in the tough neighborhood of Okere community where he was born and bred.
For this reason as he turned 40, penultimate Sunday, he did not choose his palatial Ubeji home or some five -star hotel in town as the spot to draw together his family and friends to share the bliss of the anniversary.
He instead hosted the high and mighty from far near present on the occasion to a show stopping street party, which practically shut down Okere from dusk to the dawn of last Monday. Before the birthday bash exploded in funfair, the Akulagba of Warri kingdom unveiled a new filling station at Ugbuwangue, Warri, where he started the carnival on a note of philanthropy, dispensing free petrol and kerosene to the first 40 persons that queued for the products.
Oritsejafor leads church service
The filling station was declared open in prayers by the Assistant Pastor at the Word of Life Bible Church, Oloyede Adeokan, where the celebrant joined by his wife, Asba, two children and other well wishers, held thanksgiving to mark his birthday with the church’s founder and President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, leading the service.
I’m a street person
Chief Emami told Niger Delta Voice, “Every birthday has its thrills for me. This year as it coincides with the opening of this new fuel outlet, we are giving free petrol to the first 40 cars and kerosene, particularly for the women. “It has been good and eventful living through birth towards 40, it has been quite interesting and I give God all the glory. Now 40, I sincerely hope it will be merrier and I still have quite a lot I want to do and achieve.”
Before nightfall of same day, the Okere Market Roundabout was wearing new look with a stage set for a night of quality entertainment in the atmosphere of plenty to eat and drink. “I celebrate personal events like this on the street. That is me, a street person. I like to flow with the crowd where I can be free to mingle with my people,” Ayiri said of the merriment that climaxed his 40th birthday celebration.
In the cast entertainers, who thrilled the crowd were Dan Driver, Timaya, 911 Band, Solid Star and Maleke, while I Go Dye, I Go Save, Bovi and Klint The Drunk cracked guests’ ribs with stand-up comedy.