AUDITIONS for the fourth edition of Big Brother Naija which held over the weekend in eight different cities experienced a huge turnout.
Thousands of young people flooded the venues with hopes of being chosen as housemates in the Big Brother Naija House competing for the ultimate prize.
And while other venues like Abuja, Benin, Calabar, Enugu, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, and Warri had a manageable crowd, that of Lagos was off the roof with estimated figures of attendees put at 6, 000 on Friday, the first day of the audition.
The remaining seven venues hosted about 13,000 participants. Many have compared the audition crowd to typical carnivals and other religious concerts.
In Lagos, a BBN hopeful, Thompson Alade, proposed to another hopeful, Jessica Arowolo, to marry him.
Interestingly, Thompson met her at the audition. There were shouts of jubilation as fellow contestants took pictures and videos of the proposal. Jessica who hopes to get into the Big Brother Naija house so she can showcase her business to the world is a cosmetologist who produces skin care products while Thompson is an aspiring musician.
According to a release from representatives of the organizers, MultiChoice Nigeria anticipated the turnout and arranged private security men, police officers and LASTMA officials, who were on ground to coordinate vehicular traffic and medical personnel were also present to manage any issues that may arise.
However, the situation on ground proved to be different at the Lagos audition centre, D Podium Event Centre, Ikeja, on Friday.
A participant, Adeniyi Adewoyin, arrived at the venue as early by 5am but it was not till about 6pm he auditioned. He noted that aside pushing and shoving, people were scaling fences to get entrance into the venue, adding that some miscreants also used the commotion to rob others. He also said people sustained injuries in the process.
“I saw two girls who was injured,” he said.
“The whole place was just crazy. And it would have been better if the organisers had prepared for it. I didn’t see any ambulance.”
This is similar to what another attendee posted on Facebook.
Signing the post as Ivan The Terrible, the writer talked of how the crowd was uncontrollable and people resorted to pushing and shoving with several people being trampled on in ensuing melee. The writer also narrated how she saved a participant by rushing him to Lagoon Hospital, also in Ikeja.
“A guy was lying on the side of the road in just underpants matted in wet sand, filth and an oddly angled right arm,” she wrote.
“He was frothing from his mouth in near throes of death and breathing laboriously.
Audition contestants were standing around gisting and laughing–paying no heed to the dying guy lying right before them.”
According to her, she gathered that: “(1) He had fallen from the high fence while trying to scale, dislocated his right arm and had a near fatal seizure. (2) He had immediately been so trampled by a horde of boots against the broken metal barricade; that his entire clothes had been torn beyond recognition–and so they had to be peeled off his body and stacked in a messy heap close-by while his near-lifeless body was dragged across the road and deposited beside the gutter. (3) His both I-phones had been stolen, plus his wallet, credit cards, international passport with Dublin and Canada Visas.”
She also said that while she was at the hospital, she learnt others were affected in the melee.