By Donald Tseen
Abuja has for more than three decades served as the administrative headquarters of Nigeria. The city is the seat of the Nigerian government; and it is understandable why most nationalities of the world are represented in the country’s capital.
In Abuja, you will find federal government workers, serving diplomats, oil companies, and construction companies, traders and professionals of various hues amongst others. The city is often referred to as one for civil servants and politicians. In comparison with other Nigerian big cities like Lagos and Port Harcourt, Abuja is less stressful in terms of flow of vehicular traffic except for those residing at the outskirts of Abuja like Kubwa, Nyanya and Lugbe, who experience heavy traffic jam when coming into the main city.
First timers in the city are often mesmerised by its beauty, when they behold a look at the beautiful hotels like the NICON Transcorp, Sheraton and other magnificent buildings and the city has a lot of relaxation spots and centres ,including the Millennium Park which is the largest public park in Abuja and is within the Maitama district of the city. It is located close to the nucleus of the presidential and administrative building in the city other relaxation centers include the Abuja Love Garden, Usman
Dam, and Bar Rooftop Lounge which is located at Summerset Continental Hotel in Mataima, the Jabi Lake and park although there are different opinions on when the city is at its best.
To some, the city is most beautiful during the day, while others feel the city is much exciting at night when the streets light are on. There is never a dull moment in this city as each district has something to offer. Despite the bomb blasts and other securities challenges that have disturbed the city especially about two years ago, Abuja has remained a relatively peaceful and quiet place. As with the norm, Friday and Saturday nights happen to be the best times for residents to let their hair down and party. Some residents prefer to chill at gardens after work on Fridays with business partners and friends over drinks alongside local delicacies like plate of fresh fish pepper soup or suya. Others prefer to relax at indoor game centers, restaurants or lounge. Notwithstanding there is a long list of places to be whatever your preference or situation.
Here is a quick rundown of how a typical weekend night is spent in Abuja. First rule is for you to have an open mind to different adventures as usually things seldom go as planned when you are with lively set of people. Sometimes or rather most times, when you leave your home with one destination in mind, you end up somewhere else.
The hours of 6pm to 9pm is regarded as the warm up time in anticipation of what is to come. It is advisable to stay indoors if you have important items on your To-do list for the next morning. This is because you most certainly will get tired with the high energy exhausted at night. Also you can actually use this time to do some research work with the anticipating pressure.
By 9pm to 11pm, it is assumed that you are properly warmed up; time to call friends and decide on which location is best to Turn-up in. You may start the night off by visiting game centers or lounges; there is Trukadero place, Aqua club, Sofa Leather Lounge amongst others. At this time you also get to see a lot of people coming out to party as well. As the evening progresses, it is time to plot and decide if you should call it a night or keep on partying. If you have an early morning appointment you probably want to retire home now. If you are still in the mood for some more fun, then 1 am is the time to hit the clubs.
Abuja lifestyle sprouts up new fun spots every day, so the party crowd tends to move from one spot to the other. You must be abreast with the happenings and the direction of where the party people are headed if you desire to be in the right place at the right time in order to not miss in the fun. Another key thing to note is that no one joint has it all, so unless you are having massive fun in one club, you are entitled to go to another and enjoy yourself and your money. The bottom line is that whatever your taste or your vices are, you need to ask the right people the right questions and you will be pointed in the right direction, to fulfill your heart desires.
But recently due to economic recession of the country some of the activities have slowed down. The harsh economic situation has continued to take a toll on Nigerians of different social and economic status, forcing them to adjust their lifestyle. One of the worse hit segments is nightlife in the capital city.
The unfolding development is a reflection of economic realities. Arguably, a large percentage of Nigerians have adjusted their lifestyles, tastes and other things, eliminating anything that does not contribute to their finances.
The recession has affected every sector of the economy but the operators of the entertainment and relaxation centre’s seem to be the worst hit. This also extends to the commercial sex workers who cry of low patronage from their clients. For this category of ‘entertainers,’ although they still enjoy visits from clients, there has been a significant drop in patronage because the customers, apparently not having enough money for leisure, prefer to only attend to needs instead of wants.
According to one of the sex workers who simply gave her name as Mary from Cross River State, she is even tired of the job that after spending the whole night she ends up going home with just one thousand naira only and she has to pay for house rent and also travel home for Christmas.
Another commercial sex worker, who did not disclose her name, said she will soon relocate to the village where she hopes to get married.
The hitherto bubbling spots in Gimbiya Street, Area 11, Garki, Aminu Kano and Adekunbo Ademola Crescents have become relatively dry of activities. Patrons of these places are thinning out in their numbers, to the detriment of sex workers and other fun seekers.
Night clubs hitherto the hub of fun seekers have been quiet since most people don’t go to the clubs again because of the state of the economy.
One of the customers, Mr. Bobai said, who patronizes night clubs said most of his colleagues have reduced their outing because of economic challenges. He also said that, things have gone from bad to worse as these streets that were hitherto busy with nightlife now wear mournful look. This reporter took a walk to the popular zone one garden where he had conversation with operators of some of the gardens but the story was the same as most of them complained of people not turning out like it use to be they don’t sell like before.
According one of the civil servants, Mr. Steven Edoka, he said the harsh economic situation has led to many of these gardens and apart from the lack of money in the hands of most people, increase in crime, especially car theft, as a result of high youth unemployment, has also contributed to discourage some people who hitherto patronized fun centers, especially nightclubs.