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Are Lagos parties just crass? Or is it the Youtube videos?

Are Lagos parties just crass? Or is it the Youtube videos?
December 03
10:08 2021

It’s party season in Lagos, not that parties are ever out of season in the self-proclaimed center of excellence. However, thanks to Youtube, I have a front-row seat to quite a lot of these parties. I am the perennial fly on the wall who’d rather watch live events from the comfort of my house especially if those events are on the traffic-clogged streets of Lagos. From Bobrisky’s 30th birthday party to the funeral ceremony for Prince Olanrewaju Savage, Tiwa Savage’s dad. More recently, K1 the Ultimate’s wedding to the new wife, Emmanuellathe first-year remembrance party for Iyabo Ojo’s mom, and the 45th birthday party for Olori Sekinat Aramide Elegushi, wife of Elegushi of Ikateland, Oba Saheed Elegushi, Kusenla III. Most (if not all) of the parties I watched are from the Eniola Badmus TV channel. Eniola Badmus is a Yoruba/Nollywood actress. She appears in Omo Ghetto-The Saga, co-directed by Funke Akindele and her husband JJC Skillz. Anyway, it’s safe to say that I’ve watched a lot of parties-especially when you also consider that one party is often chopped into as many clips as possible with ambiguous captions on these Youtube channels.

So, what have I observed from watching these parties? That at a point, the parties must turn rowdy because some people must move around to greet other guests, or network, or simply be noticed. Now as someone watching from afar, I’ll be very happy not to see this part on the clips that make it to a Youtube channel. Why do I have to follow people just walking around, oftentimes aimlessly? And why do I have to watch the camera follow Eniola Badmus around as she moves from the end of the hall to the other (while she’s basically trying to fix stuff at the event, more or less) in a clip that’s less than 15 minutes? I know there seems to be some kind of unwritten Nigerian broadcast handbook that says ‘Oga must enter the frame’, or the camera guys must show that the boss is hobnobbing with the who’s who. In which case, the crew at Eniola TV are no different from that of The Bisi Olatilo Show or Ovation TV. But can you make it align with the original caption of the clip, please? For instance, if your caption says something like “How celebrities were treated” at so and so’s party, why are we following your madam around?  But I digress.

Back to what I’ve observed, the part that got me to write this is the obscene and crass money spraying and Naira abuse (defacement) that go on at these parties. My eyes literally pop when I see money just being thrown around. It’s become such a culture that many are only waiting for their turn to show off. How in a country known as the poverty capital of the world are we so insensitive to the glaring need around us? Mind you, it isn’t the amount of money spent that I have an issue with because I can assure you that the money Davido made through e-transfers the other day is way more than all that spraying. In one event (the 45th birthday party for Olori Sekinat Aramide Elegushi), someone was using his legs to sweep /push money to one side. For real? Are you kidding me? At a point at the Iyabo Ojo party, it became impossible to see the celebrant as she was swamped by sweaty bodies spraying or waiting to spray money. No one remembered COVID-19! Peter Okoye (PSquare) was one of those who came to spray Iyabo and K1 de Ultimate, ex KWAM 1 (King Wasiu Ayinde Marshall), the musician that was performing. Another thing I’ve noticed is that K1 de Ultimate has been present in all, or nearly all of these parties.

I feel I should give a caveat about spraying. Spraying is a strong part of our culture but it’s the obscene display that resembles someone gorging themselves on food till they throw up-that I have a problem with. I managed to stay off the Obi Cubana 250 cows and Naira stoning. Well, I don’t like spraying money for several reasons. For one, there’s supposed to be this performative show that goes with spraying which just seems pointless to me. Also, I’m not trying to prove to anyone that I have money to throw around. This doesn’t mean I have never sprayed money. Nowadays, it’s usually back home in the village with much older people who feel a need to spray me. I can tell it’s not about the amount because it’s usually small denominations like N20 or N50 (or N100 if they really want to splurge)! I can see they want to show their love and I always feel a need to reciprocate (or give them some money in an envelope). But no one is going to be stepping on any money at an event I’m hosting.

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Aside from the crass display of wealth, can I say questionable wealth? What about the event management side of things? Why can’t these things be better organised and controlled? Why do we build supposed state-of-the-art event centres, decorate them gorgeously if we are going to carry on like it’s no better than the ativbavba (canopy made with palm leaves and tree cuttings) in my village, Lampese? Yes, I’m also confirming my suspicions that money doesn’t necessarily buy elegance or class.  What would happen if there’s no rowdiness, and guests were better managed? How does all this help tourism in Lagos State? Or am I the only bad belle who develops a headache just watching the confusion in the name of partying in Lagos?

Now, I don’t know that it’s possible to separate how the viewers see these parties from how they are presented by the camera crew. So, there’s a space for looking at the camera guys at Eniola Badmus TV as an example. From experience, a well-covered event can make you feel like you attended the event (in person) in a special way. You may even see many aspects of the event that even those who were there didn’t see. The flip side, of course, is that a not-so-well-covered event might even make a not-so-bad event look worse. At the end of the day, it’s about editing, the choice of clips put out, and even what was chosen to record in the first instance. Who decides these things?  Do they ever go back to watch their work like ordinary viewers?

These issues fall under different categories: there is the whole cultural angle of showing off, the befitting burials, the money-miss-road part, and of course the bit that concerns producing these parties for the viewing public. Changing or moderating the culture is possible if we begin to ask questions about people’s sources of wealth. In any case, a few years ago, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN launched a campaign against the abuse of the naira. It was supposed to be an offence to spray naira notes at events. Whatever became of that policy? Or is CBN governor Godwin Emefiele too busy chasing Aboki FX? Still, we can do something about the chaotic Youtube videos. I know the urge is to ‘pepper’ the haters and co, à la pepper dem gang. But please think of viewers like yours truly who just want to see a well-organised and interesting event. Surely, out of several hours, you can manage to edit a few clips that give the event a befitting representation?

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