Various parts of the country are on lockdown as youth in their thousands are currently having a date with destiny auditioning to be among the 12 housemates that would make it into the house for Big Brother Naija 2019.
Big Brother Naija, which was formerly known as Big Brother Nigeria, is a reality show where contestants live in a house for about four months while competing for a cash prize of about $100,000.
Housemates try to avoid getting evicted from the house, and activities, including sexually explicit scenes, are shown on live broadcast for the duration of their stay in the house.
On January 15, the organisers, MultiChoice, had announced that this year’s reality show will take place in Nigeria and that auditions, which would run from February 1 and 2. Audition would also hold in six different Nigerian cities: Lagos, Calabar, Enugu, Benin, Ibadan, Warri and Port Harcourt.
In Lagos, as early as 4am on Friday, participants had arrived at the venue for the audition. According to our correspondent, who arrived at the venue at the time, some contestants were said to have slept nearby at venues close to the D'Podium International Event Centre, Ikeja, venue of the Lagos audition.
When a SaharaReporters correspondent got to the Lagos venue at about 5:35am on Friday, he was given the number 679. He was then asked to join the queue.
Vehicular movement within the area is tight as participants have occupied portions of the road. In a video that went online, a lady could be seen making her way through the long queue on a wall like spider man. Videos online from other venues such as Abuja, Enugu, Ibadan, Port Harcourt also show participants arriving in their multitudes.
Several reactions have trailed the massive turnout of youth for the auditions. A Twitter user, @tosinOlugbenga, gave reasons why he believes this year’s audition witnessed massive turnout.
"No jobs... ASUU is on strike... Guess what? #BBNaija #bbnaija2019 got this crowd at the audition as early as 4:45am. Apparently some people slept at the venue,” he tweeted.
Another Twitter user, @ilynem, wrote: “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.”
@sazzygel_CEO, another Twitter user, wrote: “Honestly... they shouldn't have done #BBNaija this year at all. Not during this political year. But I FEEL it's a calculated attempt to distract the highest voting population, a.k.a. Naija youths! Same government that threatened to ban it, are now mute on the matter? WTF is going on?”