BBNaija: A Necessary Distraction?

Different strokes for different folks they say. Even identical twins have different taste and perspective to life. My form of entertainment might just be noise to another individual.

In the light of the situation of the country (kidnapping and killings everywhere, the ever present corruption of our leaders and the very recent xenophobic attack on foreigners, especially Nigerians by South Africans), some people need some form of entertainment to keep them sane or so they claim.

Now, is BBNaija (a South African entertaining initiative aired on the cable TV owned by South Africans) the distraction Nigerians need? This is an excerpt from my discussion with a number of people who are either fans of the show or anti-BBNaija.

Some have called the show a necessary distraction for the mind, a timely one with little or no value. But what is entertaining about watching a bunch of people living an unrealistic life inside a house with people they’ve never met but are supposed to cohabit with, I might ask.

It can be argued that the show rewards lazy, talentless and unproductive individuals as long as they’ve got a strategy and enough pepper for the house.

People have asked repeatedly, What is the goal of this show? To what purpose has this show been established? The purpose of the show is to entertain the public which some will say it has been. But there are also other entertaining shows like Project Fame, WWTBAM, The Apprentice and The Next Titan; all with the purpose of promoting and rewarding creativity, intelligence and entrepreneurship.

So, how about a purpose for Biggie? It is however worthy of note that the arena games, Head of House competitions and daily tasks have been a tad bit intellectually stimulating.

Now, some will argue that the purpose is the provision of a platform for Nigerians to sell their brands, especially for those with interest in the entertainment, which is good and highly commendable actually. Let’s do a quick analysis of the housemates with ‘sellable’ brands in Biggie’s house.

  • Mike Olayemi Edwards: The CEO of Aireyys and also an athlete. He was banned from representing Nigeria at the commonwealth games because he had represented Britain 10 years prior. And according to him, his mind needs to be well prepared and trained for the 2020 Olympic games (The mind is the battle field after all) and he believes BBNaija will provide him with such platform.
  • Gedoni Ekpata: A fashion designer who says the show will give his brand the platform, stage and exposure it needs.
  • Omashola Kola Oburoh: A realtor and a club owner. According to him, he needs this platform for exposure as he plans to open a club in Nigeria.

Others include Enkay, Joe, Jackye, Seyi etc.


Now, the question is how many will make judicious use of this platform to promote their brand?

Mercy’s brand will be her body right? And as one of my engagements noted “if Mercy wins, that’s an entire step back for feminism. For an already vain generation, convincing the girls that the brain is an asset will be an herculean task given the mentality that all you need is a banging body”.

Some people argued that the franchise BBNaija has lost their relevance. They attributed this proposition to the fact that the show was previously a lifestyle show where the housemates were picked randomly.

The housemates, they argued, were people with little or no social media status, fame or popularity who came to showcase their talent and culture. The platform gave these people (Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, Karen Igho, Uti Nwachukwu etc) fame. This year’s housemates reportedly are people with influence, affluence and social media presence.

It can be construed from this action that the organizers of the show are only concerned with their investment, hence would invest in a more viable option i.e people with things going on for them. It can also be perceived that the choice of housemates this year should resonate with the theme #PepperDem.

Another concern expressed was the issue of morality. BBAfrica was notorious for its provocative scenes. Housemates engaged in indiscriminate sexual activities which was the top highlight of the show.

One of my engagements said that “The only thing he was always interested in watching was the shower time by 10 am back then in Secondary school”. Thankfully, DSTV introduced a feature that allows for parental control and the show has been rated 18 but has this been able to control the widespread of sexual scenes from the show?

BBNaija is being shown in public places and it has even dominated social media particularly Instagram. One doesn’t have to watch the show or follow one of the housemates before you get a notifications on the twists of the show. And the younger generation now have access to smartphones and social media.

The show’s fans will argue that no one has had sex yet or that the sexual activities on the show has reduced but viewers say Khafi has. Although Khafi denied having sex with Gedoni in the house, she claimed they were involved in other sexual activities. Can anyone also deny that there hasn’t been any sexual activity between Ike and Mercy?

How then can we curb the widespread of these provocative scenes? Another angle is that even without these shows, sexual and obscene scenes have always been available on social media in the music videos and movies being watched. So, this particular show which is just for three months, might we add, won’t hurt. But then, are we trying to encourage or discourage obscene images?

In the end, it’s all perspective and individual preferences. Entertainment is relative and subjective.