BBNaija & Nigeria’s skewed reward system by Adegbenro Adebanjo

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Let it be stated from the onset that the angst is not against the humongous mouthwatering prizes totaling N85 Million earmarked for the winner of big brother Naija Season 5. At the end of the 10-Week show, a riveting spectacle pandering to sheer entertainment and momentary pleasure, a new Multi- millionaire will be minted.

The problem is the pittance usually grudgingly given out to those who perform excellently in the country’s higher Institutions and other levels of education.

Some best graduating students still take home N5,000 and books totaling, may be, N2,500 after finishing with First Class and working at it through four or five years and Seven or Eight years in the case of medical sciences. In most cases Students who excel in competitions at Secondary and University levels get only plaques with little or no monetary reward.

Worse still students and experts who invent products that can lead to industrial breakthroughs and development of the Country like Dr Ezekiel Izuogu, whose invention of an indigenous car was Killed through government tardiness and sabotage , are never supported.

There are so many inventions and products gathering dusts in many Institutions and research outlets due mainly to lack of government support leading to frustrations on the part of the individuals responsible for their conceptualization and development.

But when it comes to the big stage of entertainment, exotic prizes, recognition and the big monies and multiple supports come tumbling down from all corners including corporate bodies and even Government agencies. Prime time television and the information super highway join the frenzy. Everybody including fans in diverse places wants to be part of the party and wants a piece of the action.

For the record the winner of Big Brother Naija Season 5 for just ‘acting ‘ and creating an impression for about three months will win the following: N30m cash prize; a two-bedroom apartment; a top of the range SUV, a trip to Dublin, appliances, a trip to Dubai, a year’s supply of noodles, toothpaste; a year’s supply of a popular drink, a branded chiller and a trip to watch the UEFA Champions League finale; and a brand new mobile smartphone according to the organizers. Interestingly the prizes were donated by national and multinational companies whose corporate Social responsibility to Education is, to use the known cliché, nothing to write home about.

And the members of the new generation are taking it all in and it is shaping their ways of life. Little wonder the ‘Hushppupi’ aberration is catching on. They have noted the way those involved in schemes of everlasting benefits to all are maltreated and neglected. And the way those who perform for personal gains are not only celebrated but also generously rewarded.

It is therefore no longer an impression but a stark reality. The country’s reward system is warped and skewed against excellence and endeavors of lasting values. Inanities are well compensated while those whose acumen can lead to a better us and better environment are either completely neglected or not given their just reward .No wonder more and more Nigerian youths are headed in the wrong direction; that’s soulless debauchery and unbridled love for materialism and lust for money.

There should be a paradigm shift. Those youths who burn the midnight candles and post fantastic results at our education institutions should be rewarded and celebrated too. They also deserve the big stage and focus from prime time television.

The country and those who have a say in the reward system must give our budding scholars and inventors the platform to deepen their excellence through adequate compensation. They should be fully supported for the good of all. Grants and sponsorships should come in torrents for them. After all the country stands to gain more from them than those who appeal only to our emotions through make believe reality shows.

Of course in spite of the Corona Virus odds the big brother show must go on while the schools would still have to wait. The Authorities gave the go ahead and the organizers found a way round the pandemic for the reality show to be staged with little or no encumbrances.

It is therefore right, just and in the national interest for the Authorities to also find a way round the dangers of the pandemic in order for schools to reopen for the good of students and the country.

* Adebanjo sent this piece via [email protected]

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