“This City is what it is because our citizens are what they are.” -Plato
Las Vegas, Nevada was once renowned for gambling and associated crimes like broad daylight shootings in casinos. More damaging to the city than the actual crimes, was the bad reputation the city had in the eyes of the world. It was so bad that most frequent visitors to the city were often suspected to be crime syndicates. It’s not that Vegas was or had ever been the only US city where gambling or other illegal activities happened. New York city was long nicknamed “Gotham city”, which initially meant “city of goats”.
The nickname was a mockery on the ill-mannered lifestyles, politics and culture of NYC. As the city kept sliding, the meaning of the nickname kept changing. “However, “Gotham” has taken on entire new meaning now and is more closely associated with the Gothic architecture that gives the city its dark, moody, and often dangers ambiance – more goth than goat.” -Bat-Archivist.
Unlike Vegas, there was some form of restrain in New York. Frank Miller puts it thus; “Metropolis is New York in the daytime and Gotham City is New York at night.” Las Vegas’ fame earned the city both good and bad nicknames like “Sin City”, “City of Lights”, “The Gambling Capital of the World”, “The Entertainment Capital of the World”, “Capital of Second Chances”, “The Marriage Capital of the World”, “The Silver City”, “America’s Playground”, and “City of Lost Wages”. The bad reputation lasted until Mark E. Brown, an American businessman, through his Ad company, R&R Partners, launched a rebranding campaign for the city. The campaign gave birth to the famous advertising campaign slogan “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas”. It took alot successfully rebrand the city after years of bad reputation.
There is no limit to how much a good reputation can help build a person or society. And a bad reputation can equally cause unimaginable destruction. That is why companies invest huge resources in Ads and branding. Perception plays a key role in development. Few years ago, I could have sworn that politics is the only real threat to Uyo, the state capital city. The craze for political relevance and struggle for supremacy among political gladiators turned Akwa Ibom to a pack of landmines and Uyo was a flashpoint. Nothing was more eminent to destroy this city than politics. But it’s no longer so. The brazen stupidity among young folks in Akwa Ibom is the new loose cannon.
Youth comes with energy – both physical and mental. Depending on how this youthful energy is managed, it can either be helpful or destructive. The recent trends on Akwa Ibom social media space has clearly showed how and where majority of young people in the state are exerting their energy. For many reasons, there is a serious cluster of young people in Uyo and its environs. Recently, these young folks have developed an unusual desperation for popularity and social recognition.
They desire to live the society life at all cost, and dreams like theirs do not come without a price. Of course, the predators are away that taking sex out of the equation, most young people in the city have nothing to offer, hence, Uyo is fast becoming a center for sexual escapades. Wants any help? Sex. Wants to get popular? Sex. Wants to hang out? Sex. A Meet-and-Greet? Sex. Seeing a movie – sex. After church – sex. After party – sex. Crush, bae, boo, slay queen, slay king – sex, sex, sex, sex, sex. Oh! Forgive my manners. They call it “oiling”.
It’s not a problem that young people have chosen to spend their energy exploring their sexuality. The problem is the growing behavioural disorder among them that seems to make them act like there is a gold trophy for indiscriminate sex. Uyo is definitely not the only city where single girls are dating married men, and married women fancy young boys. It’s not the only city where people frequently have casual sex or gang bang. And not even the only city with a good number of lesbians and gay men.
This immorality is a global thing. But our young folks are so indiscret like Uyo is the sex capital of the world. This trend has further given credence to the popular believe that Calabar people are sex addicts. “Calabar people” in this context has always been a general nomenclature for Cross River and Akwa Ibom people, but with Uyo’s rising profile in recent time, there might just be a change of nomenclature to reflect the new reality.
Sexting (texting sexual content) is the new normal among young people in Uyo. Not a day passes that these folks do not buzz the social media with all kinds of x-rated items. They call it fun and do not give the heck about what sane people think. The rate at which they (more specifically girls) flood the social media with their nude/half nude and indecent pictures is turning Uyo to a renowned pornographics market.
A random check reveals that in every clique of five girls, at least two are lesbians. That is no news. The news is that sexual harassment is taking a new dimension in Uyo. Recent trends on the social media indicate that young girls are more sexually harassed by fellow girls than the opposite sex. While most boys choose to appeal to girls for sex, however indiscriminate they do it, girls (lesbians) practically force fellow girls into lesbianism.
For whatever reason, girls are found to be more sexually active than boys in Uyo. For instance, an average guy will struggle to sexually satisfy two to three girls consistently, whereas, a girl can comfortably service a “sugar daddy”, her boyfriend, multiple lesbian partners and still have regular quickies. On their part, the boys have not been any better. Indiscriminate sex has become a pastime in Uyo.
But perhaps, the shame would not have been so pronounced if the boys have been a little discrete in talking. It is a known fact that boys do “kiss and tell” more than girls in Uyo. It has also been revealed that most boys love to talk bad about fellow boys just to get a girl laid. If they succeed, they get back to the same male friends they had rubbished before the girl, to brag about their sexual conquest. Simply say, the boys talk more than they fu*k.
Perhaps, we are yet to fully understand the grave danger that is looming. Let’s talk a little walk down the memory lane. Not too long ago, Nigeria was just fine until some parents in Akwa Ibom started giving out their children as house-helps. The practice was not limited to Akwa Ibom but somehow, the state became renowned for breeding house-helps. Slowly but surely, the reputation stuck.
For years, Akwa Ibom children were subjected to all forms of inhuman treatments in other states just because of the “house-help” syndrome. Akwa Ibom people were severely ridiculed and stigmatized. It took the Godswill Akpabio led administration alot of resources and efforts to destroy the bad reputation. Secondly, Sodom and Gomorrah were just like every other city in the Bible. The only difference were the inhabitants, who ruined the cities through their actions. Till today, Sodom and Gomorrah are synonymous with impenitent sin, and are used as metaphors for vice and homosexuality.
Besides their own mundanity, these young people have turned to social media vultures; they scavenge and feed, feed and feed vigorously on every sex related controversy. Sometime last year, three of Nigeria’s federal lawmakers were allegedly involved in a sex scandal while on duty in the US. The case lasted for a while before it was put to rest. However, while the rest of Nigeria had since moved on, some young people in Uyo are even sniffing the carcass of that scandal. That is why the name of the man from Akwa Ibom is still echoing.
Very recently, two young folks (boy and girl) decided to take this stupidity to another level. They agreed to ruin the boy’s image for the girl to become popular on Facebook so she could have many likes and comments on her post. In return, the boy will have sex with the girl. Well, they succeeded because they became popular and I hope they had the best sex of their lives. More embarrassing was the fact that many other young people were so amused by that sad event. They made all kinds of light and serious jokes out of that shame.
From my interactions with some young people, I have discovered a major calamity that has befallen us already. As long as Uyo is concerned, the young people are too ashamed to marry themselves. They know each other’s body count so they are too embarrassed to even consider serious relationships among themselves.
Nowadays, there are more heartbreaks in Uyo than daybreaks. The sad news, as this stupidity is expanding, Uyo is becoming smaller and very soon, the city will be too small to conceal this bad reputation. It will definitely spread like a wildfire across the country and even beyond, then Uyo will be renowned as a choice destination for indiscriminate sex. Since perception is important, serious corporate organizations, companies and multinationals will also form their own opinion about “Uyo people”, which may likely influence how they regard and treat us.
Being young and stupid is not a crime. It’s a gift everyone gets once in a lifetime. But whatever is taking over some young people in Uyo is more than ordinary youthful exhorbitance. If these people successfully turn Uyo to a sex capital, among other things, the city will likely be vulnerable to regular epidemics. To this end, there must be urgent, sincere and concerted efforts by well-meaning individuals, NGOs, groups and associations towards sensitizing the youths on the impending dangers of their abnormal behaviours.
Parents, guardians, leaders of thoughts, counsellors, the church, lawmakers, and relevant government institutions must collaborate to drastically curb these excesses by young people. Finally, considering the place of Uyo in the state, there is also need for a strong rebranding campaign for the city. We cannot underrate the damage that has already been done.
Edidiong Udobia (My leader, my leader) writes from Uyo. 07034716158
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