This show holds a fascination for Nigerians since the early days of its inception. The show started as BBA (Big Brother Africa) but the African giant nation singlehandedly forced results once it started participating. This compelled a wholly Nigerianised version, Big Brother Naija. However, this moniker is misplaced and unrepresentative. It should be renamed Big Brother Diaspora Naija.
Aside from the issues of conflicting moral and traditional values that the show espouses, it continuously garners wide coverage and followership. It is safe to say it is one of the highlight TV events on the Nigerian reality TV entertainment scene
I am however conflicted beyond the moral rectitude. I don’t know why the show would blatantly be marginalising ‘real, on ground’ Nigerians in favor of phoné speaking somboris from the abroad or those deep fakes and wannabes. Do we not have young Nigerians, nation situated individuals who can string together simple sentences? Do we need the abroad to validate our Nigerianness?
The saddest part is that the ‘marginalised’ local Nigerians are the most ardent followers. They pick sides and form alliances. They miss the point that they are disenfranchised for the accident of being in Nigeria or lacking in exotic phonetics. Some have said it is to target a particular middle class audience. I beg to differ because the middle class actually do not have sufficient interest to drive the trend. In fact, the most active participants are not in the middle class. To capture it in our pidgin English, Slavery get levels.
It is instructive that this sad development is representative of everything wrong with the country and makes a mockery of our loud calls to promote the Nigerian Brand. Corporate Nigeria favors abroadians, politicians and governments favor abroadians. What opportunities are left for Nigerians who have limited options outside of Nigeria? Sadly little. They have been reduced to second class citizens in their own country. And they are celebrating the enslaving achievement.
Dear young Nigerians, as long as you are in thrall and awe of western idiosyncrasies (Note: not their progressive values), you will continue cheating yourselves. Basically, you are endorsing the impression that you are not good enough for consideration in weighty and mundane matters. You hold the keys to your own enslavement buy, you wear it as an ornament like a sheep on market display. You are doing yourselves a disservice
Why are you further entrenching their identity even as we steadily erode your own? You cannot change your heritage, but you can craft the future you desire. You cannot achieve this without a sense of identity. It is just entertainment, you say? Its all fun and games until someone loses an eye. In your case, it is more like losing the self.
Are we ashamed of being ourselves? Even if we were to aspire for the best in western culture, do we have to sacrifice our identity? The Oriental nations adopted western progressive ideas and used them to their benefit. But never once did they lose their identity, their nativity. They accepted their limitations and chose to build on it without losing their identity. We can see the result of such astute understanding of the problem. However, we have chosen to make ourselves ‘the problem’. A problem cannot solve a problem.
We are quick to condemn and complain but rarely are our agitations beyond partisan interests along ethnic, religious or political divides. I use we because generations before this fell under the spell of Western is Better. It is shameful that a more exposed, enlightened and better educated generation has refused to free itself and its future from the binding and subjugating chains
One may be led to believe we have nothing in the country of worth; neither people nor resources. Before you rush to agree, please note that you are implying that you yourself do not have anything of worth to give. This would be a grievous self indictment. I will suffer no protestations to the contrary if you choose to abide by your submission. If however you ask “Why?” and do not agree, them open your eyes and see; even in little, insignificant issues like reality TV show, we reveal our insecurities and jaded perception of ourselves.
What a collective shame. Can you imagine anything about China, America, Singapore, Brazil etc. not indigenizing such a show. We dey import personalities for a TV show… Means we have agreed that we are not good enough
These are the real issues. These are the unintended consequences of a protracted identity compromise. We complain about the symptoms but ignore the illness. The Nigeria we all desire starts with a proper identity and awareness of the self. The media is an instrument for promoting narratives. We can set the tone for what we want broadcasted in and about our country. Real change and development requires controlling the narrative Time to arrest and stop the ‘little person’ mentality masquerading as a big brother.
This article is not an attempt to suggest Nigerians in diaspora aren’t entitled to equal opportunities, its objective is to challenge the reasoning behind disenfranchising Nigerians within Nigeria and somewhat conferring a second class value on their worth, culture and efforts. Above all, it is a soul searching reference on defining ‘What/Who is a Nigerian?’