The once bustling nightlife in Yenagoa, capital city of Bayelsa State, lost to prolong insecurity by recurring violent crimes, is gradually bouncing back to the good old days as relative peace returns to the fast growing city, Samuel Oyadongha & Egufe Yafugborhi report.
Though a predominantly civil servant state with a mix of large concentration of construction workers making the capital city a huge construction outpost, most residents especially fun seeking Bayelsans hardly wait for dusk to set in before besieging the emerging relaxation joints in town to unwind after office rigour of the day.
The average Bayelsan by nature is inclined to show-off and live flamboyantly especially when he has a stuffed wallet to dispense the habit. Commonly, if he is not flaunting or driving his newly acquired exotic car, he is likely to display it partying or clubbing with beautiful damsels preferably in close-of-the-day night outs.
With its bustling life and liquid cash in as many hands from opportunistic politicians in power and big players in legitimate or shady oil deals in the land, Yenagoa, the capital city of Bayelsa cuts a preferred destination for sizzling nightlife to most native and non natives’ residents alike.
However, over a long course of militancy, piracy in the land and brutal cultism instigated by bitter political rivalries over who controls power and the economy of the state, the attendant insecurity temporarily halted night life in Yenagoa while the daily uncertainties of violence lasted.
It is cheering, however, that as relative peace is restored , night life is gradually retuning to Yenagoa. The beauty of clubbing in Yenagoa is that the entertainment space is not vast as it plays out in bigger cities.
The top spots are easy to identify and the big boys who make the shows thick all have close interpersonal relationship. It is a world of family party every night.
The hang outs in town are numerous where fun-loving night crawlers cash their fun. With the business of government dictating the economy and the pace of business, Yenagoa closes early.
As early as 8pm, the clubs have started receiving guests for the day. The merrymakers flow from big time politicians and their aides, the robust military/paramilitary community in the town, oil business big players, government contractors and the business communities.
And the girls come from everywhere.
From tertiary institutions far and near, especially from the South East and pure commercial sex workers who flaunt their wares with all corners of the busiest spots serving as red light district all night long.
Fun is derived from a mix of boozing and dining, dancing to mix music from live bands, stands up acts from budding comedians and mapoka (nude) dancers in the exclusive spots. A goodnight out is not complete without a man clubber, under the influence, retiring to spend the wee hours in company of a female catch of the night.
For the married living in town, the preferred destinations are the high class hotels tucked away in serene locations far from residential areas. They are everywhere and more are sprouting across the fast growing city.
Sex workers many of whom claimed to be ‘marketing’ students have made Yenagoa their preferred weekend destination. From Thursday evenings, they start arriving in their hundreds and snapping up the available hotels in the density populated neighbourhood from where they operate until Sunday when they return to their base.
Conscious of the fierce competition in the ‘market’, these invaders adopt aggressive marketing strategies and most times threw decorum to the wind in an attempt to capture the attention of the big boys, mainly illegal refinery operators coming from the deep mangrove swamp to unwind.
Most of these invaders wear provocative dresses such as bum shorts and revealing tops and some wear micro-mini skirts that barely cover their pants.
Their breasts spill from the half-cup bra, which they throw into the faces of men whom they woo openly in their desperation.
These category of campus girls, Saturday Vanguard findings revealed are more expensive as they charge between N5,000 and N20,000 depending on the type of service their clients want them to render.
However, the Hospital Road Junction in the Ovom suburb of Yenagoa could best be described as the most popular area in the predominantly swampy capital city.
It is not because the road leads to the only federal referral institution, the Federal Medical Centre that makes the area tick but behind this road across the swamp lie many brothels where prostitutes ply their trade, and lecherous male clients dash cross the make-shift bridges for some quick romp in ramshackle shanties.
This serene neighborhood which is located some distance away from the ‘A’ Division of the Nigerian Police Force, the Bayelsa State government owned Gloryland Cultural Centre, the Civil Servant Secretariat is a sharp contrast at dusk, when these sex workers line the road, beckoning to male passers-by.This perverse road reeks of acrid smell of Indian Hemp, liquor, perfume and sex.
The sheer number of Pololos, a local slang used in describing sex workers that converge on the stretch of the road is simply astounding in spite of the aggressive campaign on the dangers and presence of the deadly HIV/AIDS virus in the land.
Concerned about the upsurge in the number of girls involved in the trade, a resident, Ebiobo Desmond lamented that while poverty may be blamed for increased prostitution in Yenagoa, women also need to become creative and active. They need to learn that there are better, more decent ways of earning a living than selling their bodies.
“The situation is so bad that even undergraduates are involved in commercial sex to raise fund to manage their education,” he said, adding that government should find a way of taking them out of the streets.
Jennifer, an undergraduate told Saturday Vanguard that she got involved not because she loves the business but that she has nobody to assist her in her education.
“I attend school during the week in the East and ‘work’ here weekends in Yenagoa. I have bills to meet and there is no help from anywhere,” she said.
Some others claimed to be their familys’ breadwinners and prefer to be referred to as single mothers.
“This way, they try to rationalize the fact that they are involved in commercial sex to feed their children, a social worker who pleaded anonymity told Saturday Vanguard.
“I do this to sustain myself and send home some money to my people in the village,” a lady who identified herself as Joy said in a sober mood when lured her into conversation at a pool side bar in one of the hotels at the Opolo suburb.
“I have regular clients, but sometimes I serve new ones,” she revealed.
According to her, the regular ones live here in town while the new ones are mostly visitors from outside.
”I always go about with packets of condom in purse to prevent sexually transmitted diseases,” she said but noted with regret that some customers do insist on sex without condom.
”I agree with them since they pay higher,” she said and looked away into the space shaking her head.
Apparently consoling herself, she resorted, “I make an average of N20,000 on a good day especially with the return of construction workers in town.”
The present administration’s strident policy may have succeeded in instilling fiscal discipline among Bayelsans but the return of construction firms is making Yenagoa a huge construction yard and the attendant boost in economic activities and improved in security situation is the resultant boom in the once comatose night life in the capital city.