A major royal fatality might have been averted yesterday when the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adewusi Adeyeye, got stuck in the elevator at Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos; but Nigerians with their remarkable genius for travesty took to social media platforms to berate the Ooni for crying out loud for help; cynically asking why the revered King, reputed to possess esoteric and mystical powers; a ruler who oversees 201 out of the 401 relevant deities that the gods have deployed to the earth, could not simply disappear from the elevator and reappear in his palace!
A video that went viral on social media, showed scenes of chaos and confusion, with hotel staff and guests running around frantically to rescue the youthful king; who was on his way from his presidential suite to the ground floor when the elevator got stuck. He emerged minutes later from the basement of the hotel with his palace bards and emissaries, seemingly unruffled. And he still had time to wave to guests who had watched the drama unfold in shock and bewilderment.
Neither the management of Intercontinental Hotel nor the Ooni commented on the mishap. But eyewitness accounts quoted the Ooni as screaming and asking Jesus Christ for forgiveness and confessing his sins out loud. The InterContinental Hotel was commissioned for business in September 2013 by then Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, and current Minister of Works and Housing, who was later rumored to be the real owner of the hotel.
Sadly, social media commenters, including a fashion model and winner; Face of Zaron 2017, averred that the said elevator had been problematic for over a year, as she narrated her harrowing experience when she got stuck in that same elevator. “And they’ve not bothered to work on it. They made me go on YouTube to watch ‘how to survive a crashing lift’ after my experience.”
It would be recalled that the 358-room hotel had been enmeshed in financial troubles due to collapsing debt repayment talks and sundry operational challenges. A Lagos High Court had earlier ordered the defunct Skye Bank Plc, one of the lenders to the N30 billion InterContinental Hotel, to take over the property from its owner, Milan Group, over debts of $29.8 million and N3.8 billion.
Last December, 11 Plc, formerly known as Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, announced plans to acquire the hotel through its subsidiary company. The oil firm made the announcement in a disclosure to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) after finalizing acquisition negotiations with the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON).
According to the statement signed by the company’s Managing Director and CEO, Adetunji Oyebanji, the acquisition is, however, subject to the terms and conditions agreed between the parties. Oyebanji stated that the acquisition of the hotel is in line with its diversification plans, adding, “In the short term, cash flow and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization could be under strain as a result of funds needed to renovate and upgrade the hotel to attract a 5-star branding.”