The Big Brother Naija (BBNaija) reality show can be likened to a two-edged sword; in the sense that it has impacted both positively and negatively in the lives of Nigerian youths. The show made its debut appearance in the year 2006 and it’s assumed to have borrowed a leaf from the very first Big Brother Africa reality show, which took place in South Africa in the year, 2003, with the Zimbabwean lady, Cherise emerging as the winner of the show. The 1st edition of the show was indeed a blockbuster and promised a lot of entertainment and vibe for viewers all over the country. Nigerians speedily embraced the show as one of the surest ways to ease stress and get undiluted entertainment. It was the success of this first edition that gave birth to subsequent editions which have been gracing our screens up till this moment.
The 2006 and debut edition of the show was made up of 14 housemates, and it’s interesting to note that the current TV host as at the time this article was documented, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu was a housemate on the show, although he didn’t emerge the winner. The winner of the Big Brother Naija show, season 1 was Katung Aduwak, he took home the sum of 100,000 dollars as the grand prize. Eleven years later, in 2017 precisely, the biggest reality show in the country returned to the screens of Nigerians. It was tagged ‘See Gobbe’ and had only 14 housemates in the house of cameras. Michael Ejeba popularly known as Efe bagged the 25 million cash prize and ever since then, the show metamorphosed into a yearly phenomenon. In 2018, there was the third edition of the BBNaija show tagged ‘Double Wahala’ which saw the emergence of Miracle Igbokwe as the winner, but this time, the show got more tasking and intriguing as the number of housemates were augmented from the previous 14 to 20. The fourth BBNaija show came the following year, 2019. It was tagged ‘Pepper Dem’ and for the first time in the history of the show, a lady emerged the winner in the person of Mercy Eke. Today, Mercy Eke is a multiple brand influencer, video vixen and has a lot moving rightly for her.
In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was on the rise and everywhere seemed boring and tiring due to the imposed lockdown, the 5th phase of the show surfaced with the theme ‘Lockdown’, inspired by the situation Nigerians found themselves at that particular period. The BBNaija Lockdown edition was undoubtedly one of the best BBNaija editions with intense drama and entertainment. Olamilekan Massoud Al-Khalifah Agbeleshebioba, popularly known as Laycon emerged the winner of this edition and got a sum of 30 million Naira as the cash prize, alongside other offers amounting to 85 million in total. Today, Laycon is a fast-rising rapper and he’s more breaking grounds in the music industry.
As at the time of documenting this article, the BBNaija season 6 edition tagged ‘Shine Ya Eye’ is ongoing and viewers are actually having a good time. The organizers also announced that the winner will receive a 90 million naira grand prize.
These, however, serve as a background to the main point of focus in this piece, we shall throw light on the impact of the Big Brother Naija show in the lives of Nigeria youths, and in order to strike a perfect balance, it shall be a generic approach, encompassing both positive and negative impacts.
The impact of the Big Brother Naija show in the lives of Nigerian youths
It serves as an avenue for instantaneous popularity: the Big Brother Naija show is undoubtedly a tool that skyrockets individuals from zero to hero. Owing to a large number of viewers across the country, Nigeria, a housemate automatically metamorphoses into a highly-rated celebrity the very moment he or she sets foot into the house. This popularity as a matter of fact is sustained even after the end of a particular season, as they (housemates) witness a boost in their social media pages courtesy of the number of people who followed them as a result of the show. The advantages of having massive followership cannot be overemphasized, in the sense that it gives one the leverage to publicize and showcase to the public his or her potentials, skills, or craft and if these skills/potentials are in great demand, there are great chances of bagging deals upon deals. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Ambassadorial/Endorsement Deals Becomes A Tradition for Ex-housemates: Apart from the massive followership, the Big Brother Naija show presents housemates as highly rated individuals which enables them to bag lots of endorsements and ambassadorial deals with various firms and companies. A shining example is the winner of the season 4 edition of the show, tagged, ‘Pepper Dem’, Mercy Eke who has turned out to be the face of a countless number of brands in Nigeria. Season 5 ex-housemate, Erica Ngozi Nlewedim, despite being disqualified from the show has bagged lots of endorsement deals with companies of great repute which wouldn’t have been so if the show never existed. The season 6 ex-housemate, Yerins who just exited the house a few weeks ago has also secured a deal with a beauty brand, and all these are a result of the influence of the BBNaija show.
The show has built long-lasting relationships which frequently result in marriage: the Big Brother Naija show has undoubtedly been a catalyst that unites two parties which in most cases lead to marriage. Today, we can make reference to some housemates who found the love of their life in the house and are still waxing stronger to date. Some even took their relationship a step further by walking down the aisle. Reality stars such as Teddy A and BamBam are happily married with a child, all because they were once united by the Big Brother Naija show. Apart from the aforementioned, Gedoni and Khafi are another shining example of housemates who found love in the house and recently the couple welcomed their first child. Therefore, one would not be wrong to assert that the show has been instrumental in providing life partners to various individuals owing to the already mentioned unions that are still intact up to this day.
Financial Support Is Second To None: the cash prize received by winners of the Big Brother Naija show is second to none. In the past, winners were issued 25 and 30 million naira grand prize, but in recent times, the organizers of the show announced that the winner of season 6 Big Brother Naija ‘Shine Ya Eye’ edition (which is ongoing at the time this article was drafted) will go home with a sum of 90 million naira, not including some cash prizes won during the in-house tasks. Such a huge amount of money can go a long way to change the life of an individual who is quite prudent with money. The winner can either use the fund generated from the show to set up a business for him or herself or invest it in his career, so long as it yields positive results.
As it is said, whatever has an advantage, would definitely have a disadvantage, and the Big Brother Naija show isn’t an exception. Recall that at the beginning of this article, we described the show as a double-edged sword with both advantages and disadvantages. Having elucidated on some positive Impacts of the show, let’s illuminate briefly a pressing negative impact of the show on the lives of Nigerian youths.
Explicit Scenes: the Big Brother Naija show has received countless attacks due to the raunchy scenes displayed on the screens of viewers. Despite how intriguing the show seems to be, many have criticized it due to the level of indecency that is portrayed in the show. The Friday night Jacuzzi party and the Saturday night party are events in the house that showcase scenes that are considered offensive and have subsequently generated lots of criticisms.
Be it as it may, strict censorship may be a remedy to this and can possibly go a long way to lessen the ever-increasing criticisms from various angles.
The Big Brother Naija (BBNaija) show, ever since it was introduced in the year, 2006 has been an undiluted source of entertainment for Nigerians. The fact that it’s a reality show and not a mere fiction or scripted work of art has drawn a massive audience to it. Today, the show enjoys enormous sponsorships from various renowned companies within and outside the country, Nigeria. Its impact on the lives of the youths is not in doubt at all. The fame and popularity enjoyed by some youths in Nigeria can be traced to the show, this fame has gone a long way to better their lives and aid their careers in different ways. However, its negative impacts are inherent, a slight amendment can remedy the above-stated problem, nevertheless, the show is a distinct and unique sphere of entertainment for Nigerians.