THE Big Brother Naija Season 5 kicked off on Sunday, July 19, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. This year’s edition is themed “Lockdown” and the auditioning for the TV show was done online – a virtual audition where interested contestants submitted a two-minute video stating why they should appear on the show.
The show started when all Nigerians seem to be talking about is the coronavirus pandemic, the increasing number of cases and other issues arising in the country. This time around, like always, the grand prize for the winner has changed, increasing from N60million to a whopping N85million grand prize which breaks down to N30m cash prize, two-bedroom apartment, SUV from Innoson Motors, trip to Dublin, trip to Dubai, trip to watch the UEFA Champions League finale, home appliances, one year supply of Indomie noodles, Munch it chin-chin and Colgate toothpaste, one year supply of Pepsi, branded chiller, brand new Oppo mobile smart phone.
Due to the pandemic, the organisers of the show have promised to obey and follow global best practices, precautions and preventive measures throughout the show. The measures include: Guests won’t be allowed to enter the BBNaija House or have physical contact with house mates and the number of “ninjas” would reduce, all audiences for live shows and evictions have been cancelled allowing the presenter host Sunday Live Eviction Shows in an empty studio, crossing live into the Big Brother House, there’d be compulsory daily temperature checks for all production crew and guests who would visit the house, regular cleaning and disinfection of all house and production facilities especially surfaces/objects people use always, psychologists and medical doctors would be on standby to support housemates and crew. Ultimately, house mates had been quarantined for 14 days before they got into the house.
However, some, Nigerians have reacted to the impact of the reality TV show, Big Brother Naija and its relevance amid the coronavirus pandemic, stating the positive and negative sides of the show.
Precious Chiwendu claims the show impacts both positively and negatively but more of the positives for her, “I think it’s impacting Nigerians positively. Although I wouldn’t say positively entirely because everything has its cons and pros; we just have to be sure that the pros outweigh the cons and with BBN, I think the pros actually outweigh the cons.
One positive thing I’m getting from it right now is being very passionate about my dreams; other people may think that it’s nothing but it is something to me.
Just like we learn moral lessons from stories and movies we watch; just like we learn from each character, that’s how we learn from each housemate and their lives too.”
Favour Chidinma agrees to the claim of the show impacting positively and negatively, “positively, It gives the winner money to start up something and it also gives them popularity when they come out.
On the negative side, she claims, “the sponsors can also use that money and build industries and empower the youths. Do you know that while voting for your favorite house mate, you can use at least more than 1k just because you are voting? That money can be used for something reasonable”.
“The TV shows we grew up with are no more being aired and that would be because they lack sponsorship. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire was sponsored by MTN and people are being kept on “hot seat” to answer questions and the ultimate amount they can win is N10 million and nobody gives them extra unlike BBN winners that get extra packages from other people who aren’t initial sponsors of the reality TV show after they get to walk away with very large sum of money and other packages. I’d prefer the old shows, Gulder Ultimate Search, Project Fame, Nigerian Idol and then it’d be better if the sponsors of BBN would be part of the sponsors for those shows that are more educative and entertaining,” claims AmaraAzuka.
Another student of Federal University, Ndufe Alike, Ikwo, Amarachi Isabel says: “I’m totally against that show though I have never watched it. I have been asking my friends who enjoy watching the reality show what it’s all about and from their responses and my findings, the show is crap. I find it stupid to sit and watch a number of people in a house living together and sometimes, indulging in nasty acts on live TV for a huge sum of money that should be put into credible things. It’s a waste of time and money as far as I am concerned. It’s having a negative impact on Nigerians most especially the youth.
“It’s overrated amongst the youth. BBNaija are making their cash and the platform is great in elevating the life of contestants.”
Miss. Nnaji perpetual, a secondary school teacher who resides in Enugu State lamented that “BBN is not impacting anything positive to the society at all. “Of a truth I have never for once sat down to watch it. I always hear about it from friends and watch short video clips from people’s WhatsApp status. Through it, I got to know it’s full of immoral things but somehow, it’s fun to them. To me, it is boring.
“After the show is over, they will start throwing shades at themselves; we all can see what’s happening between the last season housemates.
“It’s not impacting any positive thing in the youths and little children who watch it. Let them bring back Maltina Family Dance Show, Street Dance, Nigerian Idol, Gulder Ultimate Search or Project Fame. Something that will inspire you and you can watch with your family members especially the younger ones.”
Victor, who works at a bread factory in AkwaIbom State said, “personally, I think it’s useless. The show just occupies people’s time and creates new celebrities even if it’s short term celebrities. The country is too hard, most persons are just going for anything that gives them joy. So I think most people watching are just using it to get themselves relieved after the days struggles; but to me, I don’t find it entertaining- just watching people that aren’t funny for 24 hours who wouldn’t impact anything to me for three months, it’s not worth it.”
“It’s both impacting the public negatively and positively. In the positive argument, I see BBN being a well needed distraction from the spiraling that is our current everyday life, from the tension of coronavirus to the increasing poverty rate in the country. BBN is giving Nigerians a reason to not over think, to not get depressed under this enormous weight. Negatively, as much as a distraction once in a while is acceptable, this distraction came at an unfortunate time in our country’s history; a time when people should pay attention to more important news like that man fainting in the House of Assembly and stuff like that. The young people should be looking for a way to secure a better future and not get obsessed with the show.” Arthur Ogbo, undergraduate of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
Another student at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, who identified herself as Chidimma said, “It impacts negatively and positively. The positive side is that it sometimes serves as an avenue for learning, people see different cultures and be exposed to new things in the comfort of their homes while the negative side is that it tends to approve morals which the society frowns at like the issue of exposing body parts while dressing, nudity, use of foul languages and the likes of it and also have premarital sex and all that.”
Speaking on the issue, Success Pere-kunde says, “it’s affecting the youths and society in both ways. In the positive side, we see that they keep the viewer on some intellectual things like through arena games, enlightening the viewer on how they, the house members became who they are and most of their achievements, making people want be like them, be it body wise or accolade wise and other important stuff. On the negative side, we see the house mates who think they are invincible and can do whatever they want, forgetting that people are watching them and trying to be like them. They are causing more harm to the society because since such things can be shown on life TV without being censored, they too can do it and no one would query them. Take for example, Teddy A and Bam Bam had sex in the shower. People kept talking about it even after they left the house. Now, youths have made sex a public thing. If you are asked for sex and you decline, you would be tagged as an outcast. Again, we see fans that are rude, make trouble with other fans just for the sake of getting the persons approval.”
“Every program has a target audience. Like it’s written in the scripture; God uses the wise things of life to teach the foolish, while he uses the foolish things to teach the wise. Hence, BBN has its own purpose which it fulfills. Notably, the idea is to bridge the gap of social status. Take for instance, different people from different families, culture, ethnicity coming together, staying in one place; what does it tell you? It only tells that humans are meant to adapt to one another. However, there’s vulgarity and explicit scenes exposed on the screen by the housemates. Well, I can’t blame them. The word, entertainment revolves around sex,” Ifeayi Ndukwe added.
“I wonder why they keep picking rich people. I’ve come to the conclusion that the reality TV show is sponsored by the poor for the rich. The house mates are set of rich people that you begin to wonder if they really came for the auditions when it wasn’t done online and even now that it’s done online, I’m sure those people who aren’t so buoyant submitted videos, stating why they should be in the show but they weren’t picked. Like Ezekiel Bright “Brighto”, Osemudisme is a sailor, Ngozi “Erica” Nlewedim is an actress and a commercial modeler; the rest are entrepreneurs and have other works. Anyways, I think it’s so because they’re the ones that’ll promote the show better.”
“On the positive sides of the reality TV show, we see different characters being portrayed there. It helps you see different kinds of people on TV, but you tend to learn different kinds of character and know how to manage another person’s character.”Eneh Ifeanyi Chidubem said.
Ezun Emmanuel, resident in Lagos State, said, “I’m influenced by the stereotype of some people of the show. Most people say the show is nothing to write home about. When I saw it, it wasn’t pleasing and first impression matters. So for me, I think from what I have heard people say, it’s affecting me. I can only pinpoint negatives from it; it supports immorality that the society should frown at.”
A lady who wants to be annonymous said: “Most of the activities are educative, for example, today, they had a challenge on medical terms; I personally learnt a lot from that. It’s a far cry from what it first was, The BBN Africa. I mean, its a reality show, so yeah, when males and females are in a place for a long period of time, things are definitely going to happen. It all depends on what you let in.”
Another person who wants to be annonymous too added that “Right now, it’s more positive that negative. I feel what spoilt most people’s thoughts on it was they had a very wrong approach from the start. I even hated it but now, it’s better.
They’ve certainly made improvements; nothing immoral really happens anymore; which is good.”
“Nigerians, we indulge in frivolities a lot. Can you imagine you go on live TV and show cleavages and you stand a chance of winning N85 million and even get advertised on billboards and TV stations. As a student, I’ve been reading all my life acquiring degrees and gathering certificates but you’re not even guaranteed three square meals after school not to talk of a paying job.
“Intelligent people are making inventions everyday but there’s no support either from government or private individuals but we’d clamour and support somebody to be given N85 million just because she’s got massive boobs and isn’t afraid to flaunt it. Nigerians just love mediocrity a lot.” John Nnamdi added.