"You should come and spend some time in the house in Abuja". I sniggered at this and rolled my eyes from now till infinity.
"Nah, me and you in the same house, for an extended period? We will kill each other!"
"I know but there's lots of room, and we don't have to stay in the same room. I don't even want to stay in the same room with you sef" Chocolate said, now rolling her eyes too.
The year was 2009. The place was my self-contained apartment in New Haven, Enugu. I had nothing to lose so I said yes and two days later I joined Chocolate at the Abuja crib. What I thought would be a dreary week turned out to be an insane SIX weeks of fun, music, laugher, partying and dining with great personalities, frenzied nights on BYOB Thursdays at Play and even more outrageously fun nights on Friday nights at Play.
It was one of the most fun times of my life and I'm glad I said yes. Of course it's been 6 years and even though we thought Play, like other clubs at inception, was just having its moment of glory, as people are wont to swarm new places in droves and quicker move on to the next new thing, I'm delighted to see that that period was no brief moment of glory as I've seen my friend's brothers reinvent, recreate, revamp and even "multiply" that club and business. What started as just one night club is fast becoming a conglomerate.
Not long after, there was the café right there with Play (Abuja), then the Okpaleke boys also extended their tentacles to Owerri and Calabar. Now they've opened one of the hottest spots in lekki, Lagos; BLD has become probably the hottest hangout for all the cool kids on the island and beyond. Oh there's also a fashion line, a record label, and I don't know if you've heard but Charles has now ventured into movies. It was all over the news a few weeks ago that he just got the movie rights to do a remake of Nollywood's all time most popular movie, Living In Bondage.
I remember many years ago, before any of this started, Chocolate would squint her eyes and look like she was looking into the future, and she would say "Charles would go far. Charles would go very far". I knew my friend was on to something, I just didn't know how spot on she was. These boys seem to have no limit to just how far they're taking the business. I might call it a business but what it actually is is an Empire in the making.
So yes, when news had it that they'd invited Karauche Tran to Play Abuja, people had all sorts of reactions but all I could do was giggle, these are very smart business men. Say what you want but Nigerians would gladly pay to party with Karauche, and as business men, that's what matters; profit.
...It's interesting to observe, the beauty of it is akin to seeing a very sturdy proud Iroko tree on land you walked on when it was still bare.
Ohhhhhh, there's even better news, Chocolate delivered her second baby last week Monday. Mummy and baby are both doing very well. Thank God. Congratulations my darling, it's going to be an awesome Christmas.
Photo source; Instagram.