I sincerely appreciate the uproar from most Nigerians about the Big Brother Naija program. I really do, however I sharply differ not in their defence but in the context and time-liness of the expression of our distaste.
Typical of Nigerians to cry over spilled milk, whipping a dead horse and put the baby before the bathwater. In every matter involving Nigeria and Nigerians, we always come last and by that I mean we have become reactive rather than proactive. We see the calamity coming, do nothing and then lament after the devastation.
At what point exactly did we wake up to the immortality and pervasiveness of the Big Brother concept? When? Big Brother Africa launched on the African continent in 2003 and Nigeria was involved from the inception. Three years later 2006, Nigeria attempted their own version of the reality show to the admiration of many young Nigerians. Since then, for every Big Brother Africa organised, the same uproar has been recorded especially citing morality issues. That hasn’t stopped Nigerian housemates from clinching the coveted prize neither has it resulted in a pressuring of NBC to sanction DSTV. No, it hasn’t.
Now, 11 years after, Payporte, a wholly owned Nigerian company in partnership with several nationally respected brands decided to resurrect the decade old Nigerian Version on BB, even giving all Nigerians prior notice with the myriad of advertorials on different communication channels and broadcast mediums. With the benefit of hindsight, nobody petitioned against the show. Admittedly, a greater proportion of Nigerians anticipated the show with subtle frenzied excitement. Even those lambasting it today. Right now, it seems Big Brother just sprung a shocking surprise, pulling a fast one on us. That’s not true, at least let’s agree on that.
Now we are witnessing content we have all seen before, nudity, sex, infidelity, conspiracy, foul language and the likes and amazingly, we are acting surprised. Why? There was a season of Big Brother Africa that was nearly banned coming from pressure from the National Assembly and somehow that story died a natural death. Even for certain seasons, Big Brother Africa could only be viewed with only VIP access especially for private scenes which weren’t showed in the 2006 and 2017 Nigerian versions of Big Brother. Now, every Nigerian with a DSTV or GOTV subscription can view Big Brother at no extra cost. But trust Nigerians, should DSTV had added a kobo extra for VIP Access to watching the show, the same Nigerians would have carried arms to the Internet. DSTV would have hurriedly made amends by cancelling the extra cost. The very same Nigerians vilifying the show today.
Our uproar and semi-public distaste for the reality show is typical and as usual noneffective and half hearted. We all know what Big Brother is about, why didn’t we publicly revolt before its launch and insist that the show be accessed only to specific paying DSTV clients? What are really nauseated about? The immorality? Since when? If we were so displeased, why hasn’t the ratings dropped? If sex sells as is commonly said, who is the one buying?
What is the alternative? Let’s ask ourselves. Music talent hunt? Pageants? Dance Talent Hunt? Ultimate Search? Aren’t those the kinds of things we invest our money in? What is the alternative? What will Nigerians want to watch? Spelling Bee Challenge? Mathematics or Science competition? Entrepreneurs or Apprentice reality shows? Didn’t we once value stuff like these? Do we still value them now?
Why are we disparaging a brand that took almost 12 years to build in Nigeria and taken almost 16 years to take root in Africa? What is the alternative? Let’s be honest about the whole thing, deep down, we are at home with the concept of the immortality displayed on the show, those housemates are full blooded Nigerians, and the best reflection of our present society. Stop complaining and start building a competing brand that shows the good values still existing in society.
The only thing for the triumph of evil is for good men to DO nothing. Notice the “DO” and not “SAY”.
Founder & Chairman at Adrian&BRUCE Ltd,
Founder at Media Skills Academy and
Editor-in-Chief at Sound Foundry