In recent years, Nigerians have been captivated by Big Brother Naija. Having recently experienced the reunion show, which I thought was a recipe for embarrassment, I began reflecting on the impact the show has on Nigerians. BBNaija is a good show to watch if you want the high of cocaine without actually taking it. Your high can last for days with such entertainment. It is possible to sit in front of the TV all day and watch a bunch of adults obsess over relationships and want to bite each other’s heads off.
There have been debates over whether or not the show is beneficial for us as a nation, whether or not it contributes significantly to our growth as a nation. I asked eight young Nigerians what they thought of the show.
BBNaija to me is just one of the major distractions to youths. I don’t think there is anything beneficial, aside from its ‘entertaining’. Young people do all sorts of immoral or inhumane things just to win the heart of the audience. There’s no talent discovery whatsoever, no research. It has caused disunity among youths as youths now go against each other, all in the name of supporting different housemates. There are now youths who focus less on education because BBNaija seems like an easier way to make money.
BBNaija is the peak of reality TV in Nigeria. The show keeps many Nigerians, Africans and people beyond Africa engaged. It’s a great platform to showcase different cultures and personalities from Nigeria. It is an opportunity for people to be successful by promoting themselves. Such opportunities don’t come so often, especially in a country like Nigeria. I do believe for these reasons, it’s very much beneficial for us as youths; as it provides both opportunity and entertainment. However, just because it’s a reality show and it portrays realism, there will be imperfections and vices but it’s something most people can relate with.
I didn’t have so much thought about it before. Like that Tâcha era, I didn’t care. But everyone keeps talking about it. Everyone is an elite or an explorer or whatever they call themselves. Is it beneficial? I don’t think so. It’s been a source of entertainment, but aside from that, I don’t see any other beneficial thing. It’s a reality show. In the long run, the people who go get to win big in life. Good for them. I believe the show promotes obsession and an unhealthy stan culture that could lead to actual rifts in real relationships. I’ll be one of the very indifferent people. I just don’t like the noise it attracts.
I’m not a fan so there might be a little negative bias but I think it’s good entertainment. Apart from the fact that it helps create careers for people who otherwise might not have been successful, it also helps create more jobs for other people. No matter what the job is, I think it helps in a county of mass unemployment and increasing poverty.
Like all fan-driven content, it can lead to unnecessary online hate and fanaticism. It also helps empower people who might not have a definite talent or intelligence with a large following. One can tell what they can do with this. Such shows should never be taken so seriously. At the end of the day, ‘na cruise’.
The show was created for entertainment. I think they’re doing a good job of entertaining young people and old people. So if we leave it at entertainment, that is quite alright. If we’re talking about whether the show has benefitted us as a country, I think it has been beneficial to Multichoice. It’s also beneficial for the people who get accepted into the show because of the exposure.
In the long run, what comes out of the show is people who have built a community. In some cases, these people are not aware of how much social power they wield. Because they have such a large following, they can instigate a certain kind of violence through their views and belief systems. They can also join in the fight for the greater good of our society.
I think that BBNaija is a programme that unifies us as Nigerians because outside this, I don’t think there’s any programme that brings Nigerian youths together. I wouldn’t say it brings youths together for a good cause but it unifies people, despite odds. Probably because of a housemate or whatever is going on in the house.
On the other hand, I think some values displayed in the house shouldn’t be portrayed publicly. Values like backbiting, gossiping, envy and jealousy. At the end of the day, it doesn’t add much value in terms of good value.
I also think if BBNaija organisers could work with the federal government, they would generate a lot of revenue and encourage apathetic Nigerians to participate in social activities. The programme has been beneficial in the sense that it provides job opportunities. There’s no value-based system.
I find the show very entertaining. I look forward to it every year because there’s always drama, a subject of discussion and all that. It is in a way beneficial because it draws attention to Nigeria and Africa in general. BBNaija is the biggest out of the Big Brother franchise because there’s Big Brother Canada and some other countries’. The stars of Big Brother go far because they’re well known so it’s beneficial in that way. For me, the good side of it outweighs the bad side.
About the BBNaija Show, let me start from the origin of the term ‘Big Brother’
Basically, Big Brother is a character from the book ‘1984’ by George Orwell. In the book the big brother is a brutal dictator who requires those he presides over to subjugate themselves absolutely to the state. The citizens have no liberties and freedoms and are not allowed to question the Big Brother. Everything from how they eat, dress, move around, etc, is dictated by the state. The citizens are monitored via tech devices, so their every move is watched and anyone deemed to have taken actions that go against the ideologies of the Big Brother are severely punished.
Now some people will try and dismiss the concept of the book on the basis of ‘fiction’, but that’s naive; the book is more of a prophecy of what the world is tending towards. Obviously things won’t play out exactly the way the book predicts (because the writer is not God), but if you observe the world around us today, we are tending towards the type of Dystopian future painted in the book.
Considering the advances in surveillance technology and the advent of social media in the last two decades, we can infer that humans have already given up much of their freedoms and privacy. Governments around the world already monitor their citizens at alarming rates. In advanced countries, CCTV cameras are everywhere and more sophisticated devices will be introduced as time ticks, so that the surveillance will be absolute.
In China for instance, they already have a social credit score. Anyone who has a low score (you will mostly get a low score if you are considered a rebel by the state) is locked out of the system (you can’t take a loan, travel, buy a car) etc, and with the advent of Digital Currencies, the process becomes seamless.
Big tech companies know more about us than we know about ourselves because we give them so much of our data for free. They are also into censorship now as we have seen on platforms like Twitter and FB (all their platforms), they can delete your posts and ban you indefinitely if whatever you post is out of place with them.
The culmination of all these things shows what we are tending towards already. We already have various forms of ‘Big Brothers’ all over the world in the name of Governments and Big Tech Corporations.
I had to give that background so we ask ourselves some important questions and carry out critical thinking about this whole thing.
So about the show being beneficial to the country, definitely not. We have a lot of problems in our country, we are not the USA, we like living like them, meanwhile they sorted out most of the basic problems that we are still dealing with a long time ago. The show is an unnecessary distraction that runs for three continuous months in the name of ‘entertainment’. The biggest winners from the whole thing are those who run the show, they keep raking in billions of Naira each year and in return, we get nothing tangible from it.
There used to be shows like ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ (which was very educative), ‘Project Fame’, ‘Maltina Dance All’ (which both promoted talents), even ‘Gulder Ultimate Search, but all of them have been swallowed by the might of the Big Brother Show. I mean why do you need to ‘suffer’ yourself and be serious with school and all, when you can just make it into a show that offers no real value and become very famous, get hosted by Government officials and at the same time walk away with all sorts of prizes (including cash). Meanwhile, the Best Graduating Students from most Universities in the land don’t get more than a handshake, a certain one was given N10,000 a few years back. What an aberration! what does that say about our values as a people?
I even have an assertion, the event that triggered the EndSARS protest last year (a guy was recorded being shot by SARS in Delta State, I think, and they made away with his jeep). This took place a few weeks after the conclusion of BBNaija Season 5. My assertion is that if the incident occurred while the show was on, there would have been no EndSARS protest, why? Because the youths will have been so engrossed with the show on social media, the video won’t even have trended; but again, we will never know, would we?