By Ada Siekpe
Shortly after MultiChoice Nigeria on 15th January 2019 officially announced that Big Brother Naija; the biggest reality show in and outside the shores of Nigeria will commence this year’s audition on 1st and 2nd of February, the news about the call for audition went viral. In just few minutes, I noticed that the DStv Instagram followers increased by over 2,000 new followers; as if this was a prerequisite for being selected as a housemate at the audition venue.
Indeed, for several weeks the call for BBNaija audition remained a trend on social media. Social media and online conversations shifted from politics and politicians and focused on the BBNaija audition.
Young Nigerians in the diaspora discussed about how they would plan their trips back to Nigeria for the audition, while some talked about what the judges will looked out for at the audition venue, still, others talk about how they prefer watching BBNaija instead of going out to cast their vote.
Kudos! to the organizers of the reality show for heeding the call of many Nigerians to host the show in Nigeria. Again, it’s even a well-thought-out plan that the organizers planned to commence the show after the general elections, that way, Nigerians will not say that some Nigerians have been disenfranchised.
Personally, I am astounded as to what this reality show is all about. The simple response I got from my 18-year-old niece is that; “Once you enter the Big Brother House as a nobody, you come out as a Star”. As pedantic as her response sounds, I still believe that she is not far from the truth. The reality show has over the years helped to groom local talent into big players in the nation’s entertainment industry.
Prior to 2006, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, who has played host to the reality show twice was not known in the entertainment industry. But after the reality show, Ebuka signed endorsement deals with a major telecommunications brand as well as a popular brewing company and as such hosted Friend or Foe on NTA, the GLO Show, also on NTA, as well as Guinness’ Greatness TV. He also maintained a weekly column called Contrast with a Nigerian national daily newspaper, Thisday for upwards of 4 years and has written for other publications including What’s New & Ace Magazines. Ebuka was also a presenter on Ebony Life TV.
I am certain that his achievements since the first edition of Big Brother Nigeria made the organizers of reality show invite him to host the show in 2017 and 2018.
Another 2006 BBN housemate that has achieved a lot in the nation’s entertainment industry is Gideon Okeke. After appearing in the first edition of the reality show, Gideon joined the cast of M-NET daytime series Tinsel, as Phillip Ade Williams, the arrogant son of a media mogul. He remains one of the longest serving actors on the show. Gideon has also appeared on the South African TV series Jacobs cross. In 2014, he played the role of Bernard in the Iroko TV series Poisoned Bait, directed by BAFTA LA award-winning director Leila Djansi. In addition, Gideon was the host of the DStv game show Money Drop.
Since the first edition of the reality show in Nigeria, the list of young Nigerians who have made their mark after leaving the BBN house is endless. In 2017, Bisola Aiyeola, first runner-up among other things, was nominated for City People Movie Award for Revelation of the Year (English) alongside Zainab Balogun, Somkele Iyamah, Seun Ajayi. In 2018, Bisola won the Trail Blazer Award at the AMVCA. Today, her new single Controller is hitting the air waves.
Many other ex-housemates of the reality show are busy making their mark in the entertainment industry. The zeal and passion of these ex-housemates has been a source of inspiration to many young Nigerians who see the reality show as a platform to launch their career in the entertainment industry.
For those who may end up not being selected as housemates, it’s not the end of their career. They should look at the bigger picture. They should key into other opportunities that the reality show provides. Look at the economic implication of hosting the reality show again in Nigeria. The economic eco-system is enormous. Caterers, Stylists, Fashion designers, Makeup artist, TV production crew, several big and small business will benefit immensely just because the reality show has once again returned to Nigeria.
Considering the huge investment involved in organizing the reality show, I once again give kudos to the organizers of BBNaija show. True, the BBNaija reality show is huge. Millions of young Nigerians are ready to watch and vote for their favorite housemate to win the reality show. But the question is; Is BBNaija all that MultiChoice has to offer us?
Out of curiosity I visited the MultiChoice Nigeria website and I discovered that beside BBNaija, the company has made and is still making tremendous investments in Nigeria.
I discovered that in the past 4 years, MultiChoice has spent over N64 million in training industry stakeholders alone. Just last week, they even had a MultiChoice Talent Factory Masterclass in collaboration with Dolby Institute on Sound technology. In 2014 and 2015 alone, they spent over N9.98 billion in production and content acquisition and from 2011-2015 they have spent over N29.4billion in investing in leading edge broadcasting technology. This is indeed a welcome development. It’s a strong indication that MultiChoice is determined to groom local talent through original productions that will ignite Nigeria’s creative industry.
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