April 13, 2017 – Watching Big Brother Naija Is Sinful: What Do Nigerians Really Want? Are We Hypocrites?
By Jonathan Olajide
The high followership and viewership of the recently-concluded Big Brother Nigeria (BBN) is a manifest of television power. Christians condemned it because it had pornographic contents; Muslims because it was inhospitable to the spread of sunnah among believers; the moralists wouldn’t want to see it because it was against Nigerian cultures and values.
To start with, no viewer of BBN should be condemned for his interest because there was something in it for him. Also, no TV content should be condemned in its wholeness because a certain segment of the audiences would always derive benefits from it.
The first premise for condemning BBN is that the reality show was staged and produced in South Africa– a foreign land, an economic rival of Nigeria, and a slaughter slab of helpless greener-pasture seeking Nigerians. Why should the show be produced in South Africa? Why can’t the sponsors produce it in Nigeria for Nigerians? After all, it is Big Brother Nigeria. As jingoistic as these arguments are, they don’t hold water in view of the rising media imperialism, media globalization and cultural globalization.
Big Brother has continued to spread like California summer wild fires since its inception in the Netherlands as created by John de Mol in 1999. Today, the reality game show franchise is shown in over 54 franchise countries and regions. The rising popularity of Big Brother has been aided by digital satellite television which has promoted pay TV all over the world. Nigerians saw the show exclusively on DSTV, a leading pay TV in Africa. Lest I forget, cable television like DSTV offers audiences various programmes based on “terms and conditions”. This is why regulation of pay TV and their contents is almost impossible unlike that of terrestrial television.
On Sunday, I was not surprised when “the Christians”, “the Muslims” and “the Moralists” poured praises on organizers of the Western show for giving them weeks of fun. Their posts suggested they had been watching the reality show for weeks in their private rooms. Never mind that they condemned it in public.
What do Nigerians really want? Are we hypocrites? Watching a programme in secret place but condemning it in public is nothing short of hypocrisy. This can be likened to criticizing corrupt politicians in public and going to them privately to share from their loots. Again, BBN should not be seen as antithetical to Nigerian cultural values because we are yet to define our cultures and values at the national level, coupled with the fact that our existing cultural values have been eroded by widespread corruption and disunity among ethnic groups. In term of religion, most of us are only religious but not godly, righteous or just.
[About the Author: Jonathan Olajide write from MAPOLY, Abeokuta.]