If you have not already heard, let me tell you about the federal government’s latest quarrel with Multichoice and its show, Big Brother Naija. I am not a fan of the show and do not follow the events in the house but being on social media potentially exposes you to discussions around key moments in the show. The highlights and talking points typically revolve around sexual tension, actual sex under the sheets (that may or may not be denied afterwards by the actors), near fights, quarrels, backbiting, treachery, conspiracy theories, allegations that Ebuka, the anchor, is hiding a previous relationship with a housemate, etc. Ebuka has been lucky though, no one has accused him of being gay. They have not added that ‘jara’.
Okay, back to the matter. Otunba Segun Runsewe recently protested that “what is going on at the Big Brother Naija house is terrible especially with the love affairs scenes… a new Big Brother Naija is on its way coming and we are working with Startimes. We are doing BBN that will reflect the true Nigerian culture. We are already working on it, all that will be eaten there will be Nigerian food, the dresses will be Nigerian dresses.” He went on to say he had taken up the issue with the National Broadcasting Commission. Somebody needs to tell Otunba Runsewe that Nigeria, especially under the Buhari administration, is already a full-blown Big Brother House (or worse still, Fuji House of Commotion)! You don’t agree? See, it took a sitting President six months to inaugurate the Federal Executive Council; the Osun State Governor has not even bothered to appoint commissioners nine months after inauguration; the army and police are killing each other on the streets of Taraba and engaging in a tweet fight on Twitter; Naira Marley’s soapy is a chart-topper; Emir of Kano’s emirate was cut down to bits because he dared to speak against evil.
Several months ago, Dino Melaye supposedly threatened and insulted the Lioness of Bourdillon. Months later, Dino ignored the comfort of his bed and ended up at the top of a tree in the forest. In this same country, a serving senator was caught on video at a sex toys shop slapping a nursing mother repeatedly in front of a police officer who did nothing to stop the show of shame. After much outcry, the senator was charged to court but the case has stalled because the victim is no longer interested in the matter. The police will after some time (maybe just after Ebuka announces the winner of this year’s competition) find a way to bungle the case or blame their withdrawal of the matter on the victim’s unwillingness to testify – even though pretty much all that is needed to convict the woman-beater is on tape!
Who says we need a Big Brother Nigeria on StarTimes when Nigeria is already such an entertaining house? A notable female senator allegedly slapped her male colleague from Kwara State a few years ago but was very quick to threaten the one involved with slapping a woman at a sex toy shop with suspension. The threat did not stop the senators from engaging in a war of words with. Weeks later, the same senator involved in the show of shame was named an ‘Icon of Democracy’ by the Intercommunity Consciousness for Change and Growth Initiative in Abuja wherein he proclaimed that younger Nigerians are now learning from him. No problem with all this because the actors eat Nigerian food and wear Nigerian dresses.
Let’s talk a bit more. After reading several publications from the Central Bank of Nigeria about the need for a cashless society, a strange snake was perplexed that JAMB officials converted their offices to a bank and stored N36m. It promptly swallowed the cash for safe-keeping with the hope of becoming a live ATM. Not to be outdone, a monkey in a senator’s farm swallowed N70m belonging to the Northern Senators’ Forum. Do we still need another Big Brother Naija? Did you hear of Invictus Obi? Did you see the video of the “Yahoo Yahoo Boy” that began to run mad because he refused to use his mother for rituals? Have you had any of DJ Cuppy’s gelato? Did you hear of the ‘Fulani herdsman’ that transformed into Igbo boys after they were caught? Nigeria is one big reality show.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is hinging his electoral fortunes on the existence of a server that may or may not exist but by his account, people like Omoyele Sowore, Fela Durotoye and Kingsley Moghalu had no votes even in key states like Lagos and Ondo states. The same Sowore that was suspended by his party for alleged fraud/refusal to account for election funds is threatening revolution without proposing a coherent alternative plan for governance – of course, apart from engaging in a marijuana economy. It is probably his pot that has now landed him in the DSS soup.
Frankly, everyone in Buhari’s administration should be grateful to Multichoice Nigeria for providing Nigerians the much-needed distraction for their customers either in the form of Big Brother Naija or the English Premier League. Governance and government in Nigeria are uninspiring, disjointed and frustrating. Millions of children are out of school, millions of youths cannot find decent jobs but billions continue to go missing from government coffers. Voting for housemates is better organised and trusted by millions of Nigerian than any Nigerian elections yet Otunba Runsewe wants to organise the one where despite Big Brother’s shoot-on-sight order, the people of Okota would be deprived of voting for their favourite housemate because of their tribe.
Our Dear Otunba, why waste more public funds when Nigeria is already a Big Brother House?
Ogheneochuko, a lawyer, lives in Lagos. @senorgodsonNo tags for this post.