Google Dictionary aptly defines ‘farce’ as an event or situation that is absurd or disorganized which best describes my experience at the Big Brother Naija Auditions that held yesterday in Lagos.
Where do I start from?
So, as early as 5am this morning, my mum phoned me.
I told her I was preparing to head to Ikeja for the Big Brother Naija auditions, and she seemed hesitant with a response to that.
I kind of expected a ‘good luck’ or something similar, but my mum’s voice sounded a little worried from the other end. She just told me to call her once I arrived at the venue.
So ‘Vroooom’–I zoomed through traffic and rolled into Aromire avenue, Ikeja to meet the longest and thickest sea of humans I had ever seen in my entire life.
3 packed-out world standard stadiums had nothing on the crowd of humans I saw on that street this morning.
It wasn’t yet 7am yet, but nothing less than 13,500 humans were sandwiched on that road already–and caused traffic congestion that stretched from Oregun into Awolowo way and diagonally upwards towards Allen and Sheraton hotels.
Instantly reality hit me.
This wasn’t an audition.
This was just a formality for the cameras.
More than 90% of the people who had shown up for the audition didn’t have international passports.
Many even boasted about it openly.
More than 80% learnt of the auditions yesterday from friends who told them:’Come try your luck na–you fit win N45 million.’
At least 60% of the crowd ‘applying’ weren’t entertainment inclined, nor even understood what the essence of the show was.
They just saw it as an ‘awoof gamble’ that did not require cash to participate.
I won’t talk about the guys that were wearing wigs, plaiting colored hair, slinging non-functional guitars and wearing stage costume.
(Even a cross-dressed male with artificial eyelashes, female clothing and heels also came to audition.)
It is the stampeding that I want to talk about.
I watched a girl clutch at my legs with her last will-power and beg:’Help me’–before hundreds of legs stomped her out of sight beneath the ocean of feet.
I hope she survived.
In less than 5 minutes of trying to navigate my way through 7,000 grimy bodies and get to the gate, my white and green customized Tee-shirt tore in 3 places and I was looking like a tunnel bomb explosion survivor who slept in a dust bin.
A lady trying to scale the perimeter fence got slashed on the upper thigh with sharp steel and narrowly missed dissecting her vagina by a few cms.
See blood like a fountain.
International Passport and phone thieves had a field day too, and 6 out of every 10 people had their shoes trapped under collapsed metal–never to be found again.
A seedy guy who fell from the top of the security post was trampled upon by a lady and her stiletto heels tore his septum(skin dividing nose into nostrils) off.
I watched as this guy held his injured nose and cried like a baby as people trampled him over like he was some abandoned sack of yam peelings.
Nobody send am.
Within the 3 hours I lingered around that venue trying to get in, I saw about 8 women slumping unconscious and being raised above the heads and passed from hand to hand like the way they moved ladies that fainted in Michael Jackson’s live concerts.
And trust me–the ones whose lifeless bodies were even lifted and passed above the sea of heads–out of the melee of bodies were the lucky ones.
Several collapsed from lack of oxygen and were trampled upon for like 10 minutes first before some considerate human called for rescue.
A lot of the candidates had arrived the venue as early as 1am today and had stood till 7am without a morsel of food and water–before commencing pushing, huffing and struggling, falling and rolling.
My height saved me from sustaining a grave injury by being mowed over and trampled to an inch of my life.
But in quick minutes, my white shirt sleeves became a pallet board for all the colors of brown facial foundation and multi-colored make up the ladies pressing all over me wore.
There was no kind of dirt, pancake powder, eye pencil crayon, nude lipstick and bronzer that wasn’t smudged on my shirt.
And did I mention that for every male in this audition, there were 10 females?
Slay queens didn’t come to play at all.
2 whole hours of pushing, nearly falling, regaining balance, having girls complain that you are elbowing their breasts, having your scrotum squashed by all kinds of rear ends…
By the time I managed to burrow myself to the gate after my sneaker managed to survive being trampled on by at least 25 different pairs of feet without shredding into pieces—I was looking more like someone auditioning to be an Okada man than someone auditioning for a reality show.
When the bouncers at the gate rolled the gate close and stopped letting anyone else in,I knew this was my cue.
I clawed myself out with whatever remnant of gracefulness I could scrape up and started striding towards Allen roundabout fiddling with my phone and trying to book a
We shook hands and laughed out about the whole sorry situation the future leaders of this country were suffering for N45 million–while crossing the road to get coffee from one of these mobile vendors.
So why wouldn’t the organizers just device an online modality of screening out the ones they don’t need within 4 to 5 screening levels–and call for physical auditions when they have the last most eligible 100 from each zone/area?
Imagine if preliminary screenings were also done on social media/internet.
Imagine how much more interesting the auditions would be.
But just look at the mess I saw today.
People risking their lives, dying and getting injured for auditions that require candidates to breeze in cool, relaxed and collected–and answer questions naturally.
I think the government needs to step in here and regulate the way auditions hold in this country.
As a twitter user aptly put, “The crowd at the #BBnaija auditions is proof of our flawed value system and our failed government. I am not against anyone going to audition for it, but when this is what majority of our youth see as a way to escape poverty, then we have a serious problem’.
Written by Ivan-Whyte Eagle Lawson.