The gap between the rich and the poor is as wide as the Grand Canyon. From the ways they live in opulence and style to the places they go, the moneyed class never wavers in the tiniest of details that concern their well-being.
Thus, as billionaire Femi Otedola clocks 60 tomorrow, Friday, November 4, he will not go the way of a typical Nigerian celebrating such a milestone. The gangling billionaire businessman will instead spend about three weeks on the iconic super yacht, Christina, owned by the late Greek billionaire shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis.
A private jet ferried his children and Nana, his wife, from London to Venice, Italy. From there, they would likely visit the typical cruising regions of the yacht like Antigua, Bahamas, Cuba, Mykonos, Ibiza, Saint Martin, St Barts, Virgin Islands, and Costa Rica among others.
Already, the self-styled ‘Gentleman of Leisure’ has shelled out about €3million to hire the luxury yacht, which costs a staggering €750, 000 per week and comes complete with every amenity that makes life worthwhile. He is the first African to hire the Christina for use. The Otedolas will have it for three and a half weeks. The Epe-born chairman of Geregu Power Plant Plc toured the yacht recently. A video of the tour exclusively obtained by The Capital sees him being shown around the Christina named after Onassis’ first daughter, Christina.
The yacht has a master suite, 18-passenger staterooms, and numerous indoor and outdoor living areas, all connected by a spiral staircase. The number of living areas is large, and the amount of outdoor deck space is generous while the aft main deck has an outdoor pool with a minotaur-themed mosaic floor that rises at the push of a button to become a dance floor.
The exterior of Christina O easily stands out among other super yachts thanks to her distinctive clipper bow, long sheer line, rounded superstructure, and dazzling white topsides, not forgetting her trademark, vibrant yellow funnel. A variety of vast open-air spaces offer a multitude of options for lounging and socialising. The top level of the yacht, known as the compass deck, is well-primed for sunning, with a line of chaise loungers and a bar, while the spacious promenade deck below features an aft spa pool, and alfresco dining and bar setup.
Starting life in World War Two as a Canadian frigate, Christina O was purchased in 1954 by Onassis, who transformed her into the most luxurious private yacht of her time. She played host to many illustrious guests, ranging from Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra to John F Kennedy and Winston Churchill among others. Churchill gifted Onassis his1921 landscape painting titled The Moat Breccles, which used to occupy a pride of place on the yacht until it was auctioned last year.
Onassis epitomised the life of the super yacht elite, garnering a reputation as the original jetsetter, but following his death in 1975, Christina O fell into disrepair. Luckily, a meticulous restoration project led by a family friend of Onassis was completed in 2001 and, today, charterers can enjoy the resonance of her unique past with the ultimate in luxurious accommodation and on-board service.
Now, this is where it gets interesting. Otedola considers Onassis, who died in 1975, as a role model. In his lifetime, Onassis amassed the world’s largest privately-owned shipping fleet and was one of the world’s richest and most famous men. At a time, too, Otedola was the largest ship owner in Nigeria. He also owns a yacht, the lust-inducing ‘Nana’, which is always at shore, lazing languidly to the cadence of the sea. They also share a mutual love for luxury living.
After living in Europe’s luxury cities, Otedola recently joined the increasing exodus of billionaires ‘relocating’ to the desert sheikhdom of Dubai where he splurged on a sprawling multi-million dollar mansion.
The pristine, white multi-storeyed building sits atop a wide expanse of land and comes complete with a swimming pool and many other luxury accoutrements. It has breathtaking views and surrounding greenery. Its elaborate decor and interior effortlessly ooze panache and prosperity. Otedola reportedly bought the property last April and has been operating from there because of the ease of connecting Africa or Europe for business or routine junkets.
In the wake of the Covid-19 wave, many international businessmen found a home in the glitzy emirate because of its perception as a relatively safe and less restrictive city than many other cities around the world. Otedola would not miss the train. Despite leaving Europe, he will not be in short supply of the many luxuries that make the world go round like luxury shops, restaurants, beaches, and, more importantly, tax benefits.