By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South
SOCIAL life steadily coming back to the oil city of Warri and neighboring Effurun in Delta State, where some oil companies and investors fled some years ago due to militancy, upsurge in kidnapping and other criminal activities.
One of the places that have become a setting for Nigerian celebrities and where many people chill out because of its enthralling facilities is Signatious, arguably, the only five-star hotel in Warri. It was formerly Godlen Tulip.
Last Saturday, former President Olusegun Obasanjo was at the 200-room structure, strategically located at the Petroleum Training Institute, PTI Junction, along the East-West Road, Effurun, near Warri, to feel the charm of Signatious and taste its opulence.
The ex-president, who was in Delta state to attend the second session of the Seventh Synod of the Anglican Communion, Oleh Diocese, and as many are wont, these days stopped over at the resort.
Akin to any 5-star hotel in the world – OBJ
Saturday Vanguard reporter, who rendezvoused in the tavern, was in Gheye, one of the captivating restaurants when Obasanjo sauntered with a former Chief of Army State, Lt General Alexander Ogomudia (retd), Deputy Governor of Delta, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, ex-Minister of State for Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi and a host of others.
The former president, who also owns a hotel, Green Legacy Resort in Abeokuta, Ogun state and spoke mostly in his native Yoruba language, marveled at Signatious, which he said was equivalent to any other five-star hotel in the world.
He ate beans served with fresh fish and drank Green tea thereafter. This reporter observed that he “demolished” the entire ingredients in his plate and overheard him telling Ogomudia that the food was delicious. The expression on the faces of Lt Gen Ogomudia and Deacon Otuaro after their culinary appointment told the story.
“They have a very fine environment and what I see here is not different from my hotel in Abeokuta and any other five-star hotel,” he added.
Phone call while on dining table
A number of persons hold the view that it is not good to make or receive phone calls while eating, but from what I observed, it does not look as if that is true with the elder statesman, who answered calls as he ate. He seemed to take pleasure in it as he adjusted not just his cap, but also more relaxed backward on his chair, as he spoke to the caller.
Not many knew that he has a wife from Uvwie in Urhobo land. One of the guests told Saturday Vanguard, “He is showing off in his Urhobo apparel and long bead because he is married to our daughter. She is the woman living with him in the house now.”
Home to celebrities
The former president is not the only one enchanted by the lure of Signatious, others are. Glitzy politician, philanthropist and lawyer, Prince Dr. Ned Nwoko, relocated to the airy inn with his spouse and stunning Nollywood actress, Regina Daniels when the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, FUPRE, Effurun, recently honored him with a Doctorate degree.
One Nollywood screen goddess and producer, who appeared to have discovered the glamour of the motel and quietly finds her way there whenever she is in town to perform some shows or on a visit, is Ufuoma Macdermott. Saturday Vanguard met her on one occasion, last year.
We gathered that youths frequently flock the hotel on both weekdays and weekends, especially to watch cinema, swim and generally relax in a secured and comfortable setting.
Nothing like Signatious in Warri – Adwunmi, manager
Manager of the hotel, Mr. Kayode Adewunmi told Saturday Vanguard, “Nobody should be surprised that former President Olusegun Obasanjo came here to have a feel of our luxury, he is an hotelier himself and is astounded by what we have here.”
Adewunmi insisted, “We are the best and biggest in town with all the facilities you can find in any of the five-star hotels in any part of the world. We have 200-room accommodation to gratify our guests, excellent gym, spar and sauna, a 2,000-capacity hall, Fame Dela Fame for any event by our clients, cinema with four theatre hall and Olympic size swimming pool.
Mr Adewunmi told Saturday Vanguard, “The former president was surprised to find out that I am an Egba man from Abeokuta like him. He was excited that an Egba man is the chief executive of the five-star hotel. He asked me to take time off to visit him in Abeokuta.”
“He is from Ibogun, while I am from Ofada and immediately he found out that I am from Ofada, he requested to know if my people still cultivated the famed Ofada rice, saying it is nutritious and he likes eating it a lot,” the manager added.