Different World Of Lagos Nightlife by Oki Samson
Often compared to Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps, Lagos has always been the most popular state in Nigeria. With an active and exciting social life land the state government working hard towards fulfilling its promise of a smart city, it is safe to say Lagos state is on a fast track to becoming an international tourist’s destination. With the availability of basic infrastructures such as picturesque sights, good connecting roads, high-tech bus terminals, street lights and constant security patrol in most areas, it is little wonder the state has captured the attention of the whole nation and subsequently become the hub of businesses and entertainment. Renowned for the serene environment, shopping malls, cinemas, event centers and popular beach resorts, the former capital of Nigeria is mostly infamous for its vibrant nightlife, which first time visitors might describe as “A Different World.”
A world embracing all forms of characters and activities, Nightlife in the megacity takes on various forms, in different settings and as such perception varies but one fact remains unshaken, it is quite the thrill. Fast cars, fancy lifestyles, top notch celebrities and socialites lounge, street skills, Barbecue & Grill spots, Prostitutes (especially those in higher institutions desperate to make a quick buck), shady characters, showbiz and religious meetings are among elements associated with nightlife in Lagos. The functioning streetlights coupled with colorful headlights of the exotic cars that roam the deserted roads at midnight gives the atmosphere a rainbowy feel which can be described as heavenly but the activities that take place on these deserted streets and joints are sometimes far from heavenly.
TrekAfrica observed that, reasons vary as to why people engage in this nocturnal act, some fell into it accidentally, enjoyed and adopted it while it has always been a way of life for some. As in the case of Mr. Akhigbe Richard a former banker on the island with an apartment and family on the mainland, who usually stays behind after he closes from work around 7pm, although he started as innocently trying to beat the infamous evening traffic on the Third Mainland Bridge by hanging out at bars till the traffic subsided (often ignoring his wife’s pleas to return as soon as possible) but as time passed, he grew used to the lifestyle and adopted it to the distaste of his immediate family.
But the case with Vybz Dyablo, his stage name, a fast rising recording artiste under the Real Gang Label, claims this is the life meant for him and has embraced it helq boasted “I don’t go out during the day, only at night, I am Dyablo (the Devil), I don’t really know much about what happens during the day but at night, anywhere and everywhere I go, I dominate. I only go out with my squad, Real Gang, and we always stand out which is pretty much something because out there in the wild is a different world, it’s a competition, kill or be killed, eat or be eaten, If the next man is not on your team, he is against you, so you have to be one step ahead of your competition always” says the nocturnal recording artiste, who shuttles between his Lekki residence and an apartment on the mainland. He claims although he is well to do but the constant need to stay informed on recent development and connect with celebrities takes him everywhere and he can’t move around freely during the day so as to avoid the usual burning sun and police harassment; a situation incurred by his heavily tattooed torso which primarily consists of names of immediate family members and pictorial illustrations. Vybz and his youth squad belong to the category of thousands of young men and women in Lagos who dominate the night, in a quest to find the ultimate fun, driving around the cities of Lagos, usually in the company of friends, making detours at clubs, bars and happening locations (usually parties hosted by friends in their circles)
Beginning at Victoria Island, the axis often regarded as the financial centre of the metropolis (probably owing to the number of companies with their corporate headquarters situated in the axis), the location is popular for housing many night spots including popular beach resorts, 5 Star Hotels and exquisite halls. Oriental Hotel and the Eko Hotel are probably the most popular in this zone, given the fact that they are Events Planners’ favorites and they pull more crowd than the other hotels and fun spots in the axis.
According to a findings by TrekAfrica , Its noted that, some of these hotels and event centres hosts special ceremonies or concerts throughout the week. Some, have up to three (3) parties on one night in the same compound. Following closely by Quilox, a club where it is rumored you have to spend up to a certain amount before you can meet with the owner. Then the beach resorts, although they do not see a lot of action like they used to. Other happening spots on the island include Troy Lounge, Tafawa Balewa Square and Freedom Park, a former colonial era prison but now a major venue for concerts and public events. These spots never sleep and the activities that run all night are probably more interesting than daytime activities, mind you, most of these hot spots require an entry fee. According to the entertainer who acted more like a guide “night crawling is fun when you have your own car, you can’t be jumping from one place to another by public transport at midnight. People clearly have no idea what happens in the night while they sleep soundly in the comfort of their homes, they should know Evil lurks in the dark, these streetlights can’t help you when things get out of hands rather they will betray you by making you noticeable to predators. All night crawlers have had their own share of misadventure but you just simply have to look on the bright side, which is the Freedom to do whatever, he stated. The pretty girls you admire during the day can become yours for the night and you get to enjoy yourself without limits, try smoking in public during the day but right now I can smoke at the traffic light and that’s it. People have no idea Night crawling is all about discovering yourself, socializing and having unlimited fun while at it, “Lagos is great!”. adventure is totally worth it because once you survive a night of mishaps, nothing else can faze you” he stated without taking his eyes off the road.
In the same vein, Uche John a 22 year old homeless chap who works in a packaged water company on the mainland but sleeps in a makeshift stall erected behind an office complex in Opebi, Ikeja axis, describes Nightlife in the area as a two-faced affair, claiming it is always fun and games until someone gets hurt citing an instance he witnessed a passerby being marked by a group of boys at a popular food vendor at Opebi who later ambushed him “He blabbed on phone that had just withdrawn money from the GTB ATM, unknown to him, he was already being trailed, probably because he dressed rich, had gold chain on him, they followed him till they cornered him and robbed him, also don’t forget cases of boarding a bus filled with robbers happens once in a while, hit and runner way cars etc. Also put into consideration that some hospitals won’t open their doors after a stipulated time so careful what you walk into” he said. At the same time you’ll be surprised at what you might come across at night, I believe people run into helpers mostly at night because only rich and homeless people roam at night” he added.
The Ikeja zone, most especially the Allen/Opebi axis is most notorious for nude sex wokers, suya and hot mama put spots, clubbing with sex happening everywhere, from dark alley trysts to quickies behind parked cars, it is also safe to say Ikeja is the national headquarters for Sex. “Girls of all kinds and from as far as Port Harcourt, Abuja, Abia, Kano come here to hustle, that’s how industrious the trade here is” joked a uniformed policeman on night patrol while fondling a prostitute’s breasts.
When TrekAfrica visited some areas in Surelere including popular Lawani street, our correspondent was told that, some food sellers who shades in the evening don’t start selling to the consumers until around nine (9) pm. Speaking to TrekAfrica, Mr. Azeez Aborishade said that, “Most of us including house wives preferred to patronized the night foods because, they are fresh and hot. Once it’s nine or ten pm each night, you’ll see a long queue of people waiting to get served.
A member of a cult group, Akogun as he would rather be called went on to talk about how he became involved in cult activities through his night crawling “I used to be an Eiye member, that was one of the reasons I was chased from home, so I wouldn’t influence my younger ones but I still live close to home though. After a night out, I left my crew and was walking back alone to the shed I shared with 5 other boys around 1pm when I encountered the One million boys army, they made it clear I had two (2) choices, give them all I have or have it forcefully taken, unfortunately for me, I had nothing on me, the boys numbering at least 15 and in their late teens, early twenties descended on me heavily” he said jokingly, obviously time had made light of the issue.
One of the most vibrant locations in nightlife Lagos is the New Afrika Shrine, situated along the Lateef Jakande road, Agidingbi. The shrine is reputedly one place the fun never stops and although there is much fun to catch during the day, it is nothing compared to the nighttime flex. With young men expensively dressed (mostly flying their colours) seated on or beside their expensive automobiles parked outside, either smoking their joint or bottle in hand, blaring music from their sound system without a care in the world, night time at the Shrine is always a memorable one. The shrine which serves as the host location for the Felabration music festival in honor of the late Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti, who is infamous for his marijuana intake plays host to thousands of guests weekly especially Fridays and Sunday nights when the children of the Afrobeat Legend thrill the crowd. According to a source craving anonymity, he disclosed that the Monday to Thursdays are not as much fun as Weekends and the crowd usually starts trooping in after 9pm and the crowd keeps changing until it reaches its peak usually around 2/3 am when people begin to go home to beat the impending traffic.
Other than these tales, it is a proven fact that Nightlife in Lagos is more social than anywhere else in the country and the top socialites breezing in from afar and near is probably the reason why some organizers schedule their events for night time, to get the desired audience. It would seem odd the way that Night crawlers seem to know each other even if they don’t talk to each other and how they can easily spot a newbie in their midst. A popular events planner in the Ketu axis, Temidayo Yusuf, the CEO of Purples Events World describes the night crowd as the “balling crowd” stating most events that happen during the day record minimal success as opposed to the night events “the likes of Headies, Afrima, most beautiful girl in Nigeria beauty pageant, AY show, these are all distinguished mega shows and you know what they all have in common? They all happen at Night, that’s why you mostly see flashy cars at night. They are probably going for an event where they intend to show off their wealth, meet new lovers, network new business partners. I can categorically tell you that most successful and wealthy Nigerians do not enjoy daytime as much as night”.
It is a proven fact that the combination of the tranquility of the night and fun makes Nightlife in Lagos incomparable but the issue of security is one that should be treated urgently and although government has setup some reforms to tackle the issue of security but are the programmes really working? It would be a real blessing if the Government tackles night time security with iron hands so citizens desperate to feel safe at night wont resort to jungle justice.