For the past three weeks, I and a lot of other Nigerians, young and old alike, have become glued to our TV sets both at work and home by the Big Brother Nigeria show. It has come at a time when a lot of people need to fill a void in their lives which work could not fill. A lot of us have found an escape from reality in the voyeuristic experience typified by the BBN house. It is vintage entertainment at its best when you can watch all the things happening in the life of twelve people that had never before met being locked up in a house for 13 weeks and you dangle a juicy $100,000 American before them. It definitely makes for some interesting viewing when the housemates begin to outwit and try to outlast one another to win the prize.
It is no longer news then that the Big Brother Nigeria show has since claimed its first casualty after two weeks. Two housemates had been nominated on Monday the 13th for eviction by the housemates. They were the braid-wearing, six feet eight inches tall, self employed musician Yinka Oremosu and the lovely, ever-smiling Benue-born 21 year-old Ichemeta Ochoga. They had gotten five and eight nominations respectively. The choice of who would be leaving the house on Sunday the 19th was then left to viewers all over Africa to decide by their sms votes. After one week of anxious voting and suspense, the nominee with the highest number of votes has now been cast out of the house.
Ichemeta emerged out of the house with head held high full of smiles and not betraying any sign of disappointment having lost the chance of winning the grand prix. She emerged into great applause and went into the warm embrace of her parents who had come in to witness the memorable event. Chem as she is fondly called was full of joy and didn’t lay any blame on the doorsteps of any of the ‘friends’ that had nominated her saying, ‘I don’t hate any of them… it’s just a game and everybody wants to win the money’. Great spirit girl!
I met her when she came into the Edgwaters Hotel lobby at about 7:20 pm led by a bodyguard and a BBN official. The staff on duty who had been informed of her arrival was excited to see her and had welcomed her with hugs and kisses which she had warmly responded to. She informed of her gladness at being free again and that she would think twice before ever letting go of her freedom again. She was checked in and quickly ordered a sumptuous dinner from Room Service. Everyone knew she was famished and deservedly so after all the interviews she had granted and the formalities she had had to go through on leaving the house.
Later that evening she had asked to be given our collection of old newspapers especially of the past two weeks that she had been away. I felt that was good as she was trying to keep abreast of happenings after being out of circulation for a while. I met her later on and asked if she had gotten enough information about the world. I was not too surprised when she told me that she’d only been too interested in reading stuff about the BBN house as reported by the papers. She had held out a page detailing her nomination status and had read it with curious eyes trying to know what had been written about her. I had observed how unaffecting she is. I proceeded to inform her of some of the major headlines of the past few days top of which were the 3rd term debate palaver and the recent removal of Chris Ngige as the governor of Anambra state. To this she had retorted, ‘these PDP people have done it again’. All attempts to explain that it was not really a PDP decision fell on deaf ears as she maintained that the PDP and Chris Uba must have had a hand in it all. Sometime later she had asked to be filled in about the progress of her favourite characters Paloma and Diego in the hugely popular Mexican TV soap Cuando Seas Mia (When You Are Mine) which personally used to be opium for a lot of us before the coming of Big Broda to Nigeria. She would later on ask us to help her with the web address of the soap. What an incurable romantic she is!
She told me later that her going into the house is the best thing to have ever happened to her and that she’s going to ride on the fame for as long as it takes. So what are her plans for the immediate future? ‘I’m going to take Nollywood to Hollywood’. How? ‘ Right now I’ve got a first class ticket into Nollywood ‘cause I know producers have started calling my agent’. Do you think there’ll be a BBN2? She said definitely but we got into an argument when I made her realise that the previously held BB South Africa and the more inclusive BB Africa had had no sequels. To this she had concluded that I am a pessimist, ‘ Bros, don’t you want it to?’ That wouldn’t be for me to decide considering the mortality rate of these money-guzzling productions. At the last count, BBN has taken a whopping sum of five hundred million naira and its still in its fourth week.
In the coming days, Ichemeta will be treated as a celebrity by all of us who knew she was in the BBN house as well as those who will get to hear about her. Will this bring about a change in her attitude and lifestyle? Nah, she had quickly chirped in. Won’t her new found fame change some things about her? Not really she made me realize. ‘I’m just going to continue being myself, try to keep it real’. What about her plans for the future? With an ever present smile on her face she said, ‘I don’t know, but I believe the future now holds a lot of promise’. Well said Chem. Methinks Big Brother has just succeeded in producing one rare young Nigerian with a positive mindset. If it will take all young Nigerians an experience such as Ichemeta’s to become positive about the future, then I say ‘by the left quick march’.