The Big Brother Naija show in S’ Africa: A gratuitous insult on Nigeria, By Adegbenro Adebanjo


TELL me it is not true. No it must be a ‘January fool’ Joke. Please TELL me that the news making the round that the Big Brother Naija 2017 House being broadcast live to viewers across the world is located and being hosted and filmed in South Africa. If it is true then this is a great insult to Nigeria and those behind this disloyalty must halt it forthwith.

How can a television show involving Nigerians, about Nigeria with Nigerian culture and motifs be shot in South Africa. It does not just make any sense. South Africa hosting Nigerian Big Brother Naija? Have we sunk that low? Where are our government broadcast regulators, information managers and media advisers, where are our fiery pro Nigerian activists and Nollywood veterans and actors?

Big Brother Naija
Big Brother Naija

Before our very eyes we are being told that our country cannot host a television programme of such magnitude. Those behind the show are telling us that there is no appropriate setting in Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, Enugu, Jos or even Abeokuta that can host the Big Brother Naija television show and our compatriots including the host of the show have to be carted to South Africa which has the ready-made ideal setting for such a big show.

Under normal circumstances, the technical crew from South Africa would have been transported to Nigeria and with their Nigerian counterparts get the show going. But in this season of anomy those who should stand up and say no to this gratuitous insult are not defending project Nigeria and its brand. Let’s remember that we are not talking about Big Brother Africa here but about Big Brother Naija.

Africa’s Magic , the show organizers, claim that “The venue is already set up with all facilities required for the successful execution of the show; this means that we are able to achieve high production values whilst meeting tight timelines/deadlines and ensuring the show comes to our viewers on time, as planned, and with the same globally renowned quality. Whilst the house is based in South Africa, the BBN show is 100% Nigerian, with fully Nigerian housemates and content,” is puerile and untenable.

They should spare us such fatuous spin. Setting and location are critical elements in drama. Indeed some would tell you that the location of a play is as important as the theme as it confers significant meaning on the overall message being put across and has a way of affecting the performance of the dramatis personae. Therefore big brother Naija 2017 cannot be 100 percent Nigerian because the critical element of location is completely at variance with Nigeria. The participants have been uprooted; they are not in a familiar setting and therefore cannot give their best and be at their best.

We should not put all the blame at the doorsteps of South Africa and the promoters of African magic. The ploy to foist the superiority of South African setting and location actually started a long term ago with some Nigerian giving a helping hand. It began with the shooting of commercials of products and services, some wholly produced in Nigeria, in South Africa.

We were all applauding the quality of the commercials not minding the capital flight and the erosion of local content and expertise. And our new rave musicians followed the trend by shooting their musical videos in the land of Nelson Mandela. Once again we all applauded the move. It became the fad and commercial of products and musical videos shot in South Africa were carting away awards in Nigeria and everyone was applauding.

And they have now added insult to our injury by taking Big Brother Naija to South Africa. We have lost so many things through this aberration. Apart from the loss of dignity and sense of National pride, the technical expertise that would have been gained by Nigerians working on the show have all gone with the winds.

Painfully too, we have also lost to South Africa , commercial transactions that a show of that magnitude would have provided thereby denying some Nigerians their big break and the chance for others to make ends meet. Also, some Nigerian business concerns would have been part of the deal through consultancy, outsourcing, hotel, transportation and allied services. This is pure capital flight at a time we can ill afford it.

Now, the show must be stopped and the participants and the crew must be made to return to Nigeria for its continuation. All members of the Nigerian society must rise up and condemn this aberration and insult on our fatherland and collective psyche.

*Adebanjo sent this piece via [email protected]

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