It was clearly one of the most massively attended weddings in recent years around Adamawa State; not just the number but also the weight of those who made the number.
The wedding between Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Wesley Bathiya and Faith Polycarp, got guests from Adamawa and beyond filling a church auditorium usually sparsely packed when most weddings take place.
The otherwise expansive St Monica’s LCCN Cathedral Yola was suddenly a tiny hall on Saturday December 9, overflowing with the mass of supporters that the speaker attracted.
The list included the state Deputy Governor, Professor Kaletapwa Farauta, immediate past Deputy Governor, Crowther Seth, immediate past two former secretaries to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and Babachir Lawal; three first class kings, and a sea of other people who would be big in their respective ways.
Immediate past speaker, Senator Aminu Iya Abbas, and virtually every current member of the House of Assembly was in church, including the Muslims among them, including former speaker Kabiru Mijiyanwa of opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
All dressed in native white gowns, the state legislators discarded their caps as they sat on the pews reserved for them to honour the chief lawmaker as he took his wife in the solemn event of the day.
Guests from outside the state included some speakers of Houses of Assembly of other states, led by Oyo State speaker, Adebo Ogundoyin who happens to also be the chairman of speakers of state houses of assembly in the country.
The alter was similarly graced by the who is who in the Christian community around Adamawa State and beyond, including the Archbishop of the LCCN and President of Lutheran Church Worldwide, Panti Musa Filibus who was the chief officiating minister.
The other leading clerics in attendance included the Catholic Bishop of Yola, Dami Mamza who is also the Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the state; President of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (more famously called EYN), Reverend Joel Bili; among many others.
In the bright Saturday morning at the LCCN Cathedral, the groom and bride made their respective entries into the church auditorium between 10.14am and 10.19am and, after a bit of the wedding rites by the pastor conducting the process, the two were declared husband and wife around 10.40am.
After register signing protocol, some special numbers (songs) and other forms of entertainment, Archbishop
Musa Panti, at 21.47am, pronounced blessings on Rt Hon Wesley Bathiya and his wife, saying it was a thing of joy that there should he such an array of guests in church to be part of the marriage ceremony.
After delivering what amounted to a vote of thanks to the big names in church from far and near, the Lutheran leader, at 11.53am, called Deputy Governor Farauta to make a speech.
Farauta thanked the visitors and friends of the new couple and capped her brief remark with a prayer.
“On behalf of the government and people of Adamawa State, we wish the new couple a home blessed by God,” the deputy governor said.
The chairman of Conference of Speakers, Adebo Ogundoyin who spoke next, described Bathiya as a colleague who became his friend and then a brother.
“We have been to places together and I know him to be supportive to anyone needing support. That’s why we had to come here today,” he said.
He, on behalf of all speakers, wished Bathiya and his wife a home that will produce as many children as Nigeria’s economy would advise.
After further speeches, a sermon anchored on Col 3.12-17, and a segment that allowed some of the dignitaries to meet and chat up particularly the groom, the huge wedding entourage left for the Mahmud Ribadu Square, Adamawa’s formost event centre.
At the extensive square where the reception took place, it was a mega gathering all right, with a spacious foreground which three to four wedding guests often meet on busy weekends unable to take Bathiya’s guests.
A lot more guests not at the LCCN Cathedral solemnization of the wedding turned up for the massive reception.
Governor Ahmadu Fintiri arrived the Ribadu Square at 1.49 pm, setting the stage for the opening prayers which were offered a little past 2pm.
Thereafter, the dancing, eating and drinking that marked the reception ceremony went on till the early hours of the evening