Big Brother Naija Sees All Sorts

by Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
Big Brother Naija

Big Brother Naija, BBNaija for short, is one television show that no Nigerian can ever escape from.

Whether you like to watch it or not, it is always there in your face because the kids and the wives cannot have enough of it.

If you try to escape to the pub, it is even worse because now that the European football season is yet to start the only show on screen is BBNaija.

With all the debaucheries going on inside that house I feel sorry for “Big Brother” Ebuka Obi-Uchendu who sees all sorts.

BBNaija aptly represents the truism that the path to hell almost always starts with good intentions.

It all started in the African continent in 2003 as Big Brother Africa, the television programme produced by Endemol that initially involved 12 African countries, notably Nigeria, Angola, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Big Brother game entailed each country producing a contestant living with others in an isolated house while trying with all guile and might to avoid being evicted by viewers.

The cash prize stood as the bounty to be carted home for the last contestant standing.

The first edition of Big Brother Africa premiered to audiences in 42 African countries on Sunday May 25, 2003, and ended on September 7, thus lasting 106 days.

Unlike the Big Brother versions in Europe and the Americas, Big Brother Africa created a record of being the first time in the world that participants of different nationalities from one continent would be taking part in the exercise.

The fourth edition, Big Brother Africa 4, became enlarged with 25 housemates from 14 different African countries with the addition of Mozambique and Ethiopia.

It premiered on September 6, 2009, and ended on December 6 of the same year, lasting 91 days, with Ikponmwosa “I.K” Osakioduwa serving as the new host, replacing Kabelo “KB” Ngakane.

The 2010 show, aka Big Brother Africa 5, started on July 18, 2010, ran for 91 days, and was dubbed “an All-Star season”.

The show ran into controversial waters with M-Net evicting Uganda’s Hannington Kuteesa from the house after he hit housemate Lerato Sengadi of South Africa.

The Nigerian version of the show, Big Brother Nigeria, took place from March 5 to June 4, 2006.

An innovative collaboration between Nigerian and South African production companies, it aired on DStv Channel 37 to keen viewership across the country.

The Nigerian show added a twist to the game when two new contestants were introduced on Day 23, much to the excitement of the remaining housemates.

The fans’ favourite for much of the programme was the Stout-drinking Ebuka, now the “Big Brother” show host who sees all sorts in BBNaija.

Due to Ebuka’s popularity he was expected to emerge winner but however became the seventh housemate to be evicted, with the unanimous view of many viewers being that Ebuka owed his shock eviction to the overzealous Joe’s Fan Club (JFC).

Joe was himself soon evicted because of the unbearable arrogance and exuberance of his fans.

In a striking twist to the game, Big Brother on day 79 cancelled the day’s scheduled nominations, thus making the housemates believe they will instead be evicted based on their performances on assigned tasks.

In reality though, no more evictions were held and viewers began voting for the winner who turned out to be 26-year-old Katung Aduwak.

Enough of history as the show has now turned full circle in this current season of BBNaija dubbed “Shine Ya Eye”.

The Big Brother game leaves much to be desired, to borrow an old cliche meant for never-do-wells.

Back in the Big Brother Africa days, the Namibian government slammed a ban on the programme, just as Kano State hisbah police is calling for the ban of BBNaija now!

The show showcases much vulgarity that may end up corrupting the minors, and the idea of rewarding idleness actually goes beyond the pale.

The decadence involved in the doings of the housemates can harm the commonwealth greatly.

Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka dismissed the Big Brother project as empty and immodest, appealing only to prurience, and stressed: “Big Brother Africa represents those decadent, exhibitionist and voyeuristic aspects of American culture that run contrary to the sensibilities of many African societies.”

Professor Kole Omotoso, one of the original promoters of Big Brother Africa, defended the show, arguing that it boasts of some intrinsic African qualities as opposed to those of Europe and America.

Like all imitations from America and Europe, Big Brother Africa has indeed overwhelmed the entire continent, especially Nigeria, with rottenness.

M-Net has obviously continued to make a kill through the airing of the Big Brother programme.

Its success cannot be gainsaid as millions watch the programme, but then, is popularity the end of the matter?

Notoriety is more like it in the overwhelming sweep of Big Brother.

BBNaija cannot win a dime in morality but the winner ends up going home with a cool N90 million.

The damage done to the health of society is a clear and present danger, but it should not be banned because it is a democratic right of all to see all sorts.

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