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Wrong BBNaija praise

Wrong BBNaija praise

3 October, 2020




IT has been a phenomenon of entertainment, and has become a sort of visual mecca for television buffs, youths and even some adults. It has morphed into a money spinner not only for its originators, producers, the television portal but also mobile networks. But Big Brother Nigeria is a perfect example of how delinquency transforms into a cause celebre.

In spite of this, two governors and a state government have endorsed it by lining up behind their citizens for “distinguishing” themselves in the show. Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State  and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State congratulated their citizens who excelled in what we now describe as the reality show. The winner was Olamilekan Agbelesebioba, otherwise known as Laycon, and he hails from Ogun State. The runner was Dorathy Bachor who comes from Delta State. Governor Abiodun directly congratulated Laycon on his twitter handle. Governor Okowa congratulated Bachor through his chief press secretary, Olisa Ifeajika.

Governor Abiodun expressed his delight at Laycon’s victory, described him as a “pacesetter” and attributed his great moment to “your brilliance, intellect and maturity.” He even said that Laycon is “the face of a positive revolution.” He characterised the so-called feat as being in sync with his administration’s goal to empower youth with jobs and harnessing their energy.

In his hearty congratulations, Governor Okowa praised Bachor who he described as “our daughter” for her exemplary conduct, and for surviving evictions and standing out among the many women in the contest.

The #BBNaija, as it is short-coded, is often a hit not because it extols the higher virtues and values of a nation or a people. It attracts such a huge following for its racy tendencies. The youths stay all night, all day, distracted from work, from studies, from some of their more profitable endeavours, so as to keep up with the tensions, erotic advances, romantic follies and foibles, schemes and intrigues, manipulations and cynical salvoes among the inmates. It started with the Big Brother Africa, and it was a hit across the continent. That seems to have collapsed because the Nigerian content became too much for the rest of the continent, and a conspiracy of other nations meant the Nigerian felt disenfranchised. So #BBA became BBNaija.

BBNaija has not stirred the imagination to patriotism, to either piety or moral nobility. Rather, the conversations have often veered towards who was sleeping with whom, who was dressing with little task for the imagination, who was more handsome or titillated the sexual fancy. Who was mean, and who should be removed for being too mean or too uninspired in the hierarchy of vain men and women, who was more entertaining, who was less ignoble? Those are the questions that rave.

For all these, some have said it is a good thing for the country. One argument is its commercial value. The visual patronage is huge. Millions were glued to it every day. In an era that many are too poor to feed or pay school fees or rent, the same youth who complain about high school fees and deprivation of basic infrastructure commit millions of Naira every day in sending messages and comments.  They also war in the social media over who is good for the prize and who is not. But the takings at the end of the day are never unveiled, but the harvest estimates run allegedly into billions of Naira. True, it is a great business model. The question is whether it is good for the Nigeria spirit. We have had some better and ennobling reality shows in this country. We have had real talent shows for singers in this country and even real-time affairs like a treasure hunt sponsored by a corporate concern, like the Gulder Ultimate Search.

Some have said, BBNaija is a temperance test for the youths, to test their ability to live with others without crossing the physical, verbal and gestural boundaries or decorum and learning social and emotional skills, especially since the inmates come from varying social, ethnic and religious backgrounds. But that can be achieved without allowing the inmates to turn into either vixens for amorous excitations or men with macho tease.

But that sort of model will not seduce a generation hitched to bare bodies and libido. The question as to whether reality shows are what they are defined to be ought to be interrogated. Those who participate know it is an act, a theatre in front of millions. They show the part they want the world to see, a mean person can act as benign, a gentle fellow may provoke attention for being a calculating clown, or a prude may play prurient. It is not their reality that viewers see, but a canned façade, an artificial self or other of the inmates. They create the audience by recreating themselves. They are actors, while the viewers are voyeurs.

If we must make good money, we must also make good values.  We cannot compromise the one for  the other. It only gives us a false society, and it brings the country down to a low and footloose value system. Some religious leaders had in the early years railed against this kind of shows. They have given up unfortunately. But more voices ought to rise against it, and the federal government ought to raise its voice against it. The lawmakers should look askance at it, and legislate reality shows that ennoble us but does not turn us, in the name of crass commercialism, into a society of voyeurs. The society makes viewers like peeping toms from their closets.

The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission has often prided itself on restraining what it sees as hate speech or inappropriate speech on air. Its laws in this regard are military-era hangovers about an establishment afraid of coup and anti-government emotions, whereas the written word is even more enduring and more lethal. The NBC should also address salacious content. The western societies where freedom of expression is much higher such content never gets on air.

That is why we frown on the two governors who have congratulated the winners of #BBNaija. There are more important work that should earn gubernatorial plaudits.

The post Wrong BBNaija praise appeared first on Smart9jaMedia.

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