BBNaija: A veiled porn or attitudinal contest? by Michael West

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Patronising exotic products like food, fashion and arts is part of benefits of the global community; but Africa’s incurable addiction foreign stuff need to be moderated so as to enhance self-worth, self realisation and true independence from colonial mentality. Sadly, our folks are not in the least thinking or seeing the need to appreciate and appropriate their negritude.

There are several foreign programmes that have been replicated or adapted in Nigeria and some of them have really promoted innate potential of talented young and enterprising Nigerians. Notable among such reality shows and aptitude contests include “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” the “Idol” musical contest, the “Big Brother” and a host of other individual copyrighted shows like Jerry Springer’s show replicated by Agatha Amata and so on. The “Guilder Ultimate Search” is an indigenous reality show that commands massive viewership. However, of them all, Big Brother show attracts the biggest cash price.

Big Brother is a Dutch reality competition television franchise created by John de Mol Jr. It was first broadcast in the Netherlands in 1999, and subsequently syndicated internationally. As of September 2019, there have been 448 seasons of Big Brother in over 54 franchise countries and regions.

Over the years, Africa has demonstrated the ability to replicate and adapt foreign works of art and entertainment. However, we tend to violate our cultural norms when we attempt to replicate the unAfrican lifestyle of foreigners we set to emulate. The immoral aspects of the famous Big Brother reality show glamorised by America are fast becoming a norm as we see nothing wrong in romantic scenes, adorning loose, seductive dresses and even having sex in the house. Africa detests such lewdness in its entirety. Apparently, it is such indecent part of the show that seems to excites the viewing audiences in their millions.

Some have argued that there’s a parental control feature in the decoder through which the show could be blocked from viewing of children or minor but how about adults? In the just concluded BBNaija Lockdown edition, Dorathy Bachor, as calm, mature and decent as she tried to present herself in the house to the viewing public, her near bare show of her boobs was an assault to visual sensibility of viewers. It is funny, but unbelievably true when my son told me that Dorathy will not only make it to the last five, she will most likely be the first runner-up to the eventual winner, which he predicted to be Laycon. He said this in July, adding that the open show of her boobs will take her far in the show. Now that some of the determinant factors to succeed in BBNaija are largely immoral, should we continue to support the show? Some people argued on social media that BBNaija show is meant for adults and the housemates are adults, so, whatever they choose to do with their lives is nobody’s business. On this note, I beg to defer. Yes, they are at liberty to do whatever they like with their lives individually but strictly in their private environment. Coming to the public view to demonstrate infatuation and act like love-bemused ducks in the name of playing a game is absurd.

These days, the propensity for money making at all cost is driving our youths to a maddening level. At the venue for auditioning prospective BBNaija housemates two seasons ago, a girl in her mid-20s wearing a popular Pentecostal church band on her wrist gleefully boasted on a national television that “I will rock the house if selected. I will do anything to win, I mean anything at all, I will do it to win the money. I surely need the cash please.” With this kind of mindset, what else can the society expect from such youths? It is therefore no surprise when they see the likes of Hushpupi, online scammers and Yahoo guys many of who now engage in money rituals, as models.

What is the parental role in all of this? It is regrettable that today’s parents, mothers in particular, are largely compromised. They look the other way while their children engage in illicit businesses and shady deals. They excuse themselves from blame by saying it is the trend of this age. “Nigeria herself is a scam, so, what do you expect from the deprived youngsters?” That was the response of a woman whose son was alleged to be “doing well” as an online scammer. I also remember some women that were arrested some time ago for providing spiritual fortification for their sons involved in kidnapping and online scams. So, what do you expect from such parents if, by dint of grace or luck, their children make it to the BBNaija reality show? What matters to them is the money – the ultimate prize. Whether their optimism will take them to the zenith of the game is another thing entirely. Parents must research, regain and apply the lost discipline, virtues and cultural values that signpost African parenting.

In the course of the BBNaija lockdown edition, some dissenting voices were practically calling for its cancellation. Some parents and Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s minister of Information tacitly canvassed the shutdown of the show but overwhelming viewership tied to the commercial value of the lockdown edition made the calls somewhat inconsequential. The organisers announced during the week that over 900 million votes were recorded.

Grapevine claims that it is mandatory for the incoming housemates to sign an agreement. The content of the agreement is said to insulate the organisers from mandatory fulfilment of some promises and winnings. It attributed the condition to why a few of the previous participants were said to be complaining. In case it is true, unspecified “terms and conditions” attached to unfulfilled winnings could be actionable in court if the winner suspects any form of shortchange. Such untidy and noncommittal clauses are nothing but a scam.

The influx of corporate sponsorship of the show is preference for frivolity against meaningful and impactful shows. The star price is staggering, at least, in our clime. Going forward, BBNaija’s organisers should review the conduct and modalities for the show. In particular, indecent dressing and romantic indulgences should be outlawed. It is said to be a reality show where individual character traits, skills, talents and team spirit are evaluated, appreciated and rewarded. Their tasks and wagers are about the most interesting part of the show but the greater part of their time was devoted to treachery, gossiping, making advances for momentary relationship that often fail outside the house, and, in some cases, crush on one another leading to sex with camera filming the detestable scenery. All in the name of playing games.

It is immoral on the part of the organisers to exploit the lustful moments of housemates by asking randy viewers to pay for a code that would enable them to access the pornographic scenes. It is a filthy lucre. It should be discontinued.

Let me salute the winner, Laycon, who, along with some others, demonstrated self discipline and restraint from involving in messy acts. The irony of the whole thing is that many of the parents and critics of BBNaija are addicts and followers of the show. Raise any issue that happened in the house, they will continue and conclude it for you. Is that hypocrisy? Do enjoy your weekend.

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