On June 30, 2019, the BBNaija season 4 themed Pepper Dem kicked off with the admittance of 21 housemates, who are all Nigerians.
11 days into the TV show – which is scheduled to last 99 days – the Muslim Rights Concern led by Professor Ishaq Akintola has called on the Nigerian government to shut down the show.
In a statement credited to Akintola, here are three talking points as MURIC urges Federal Government of Nigeria to scrap the show.
Undermining cultural values
Despite the involvement of cultural values in the aesthetics of the BBNaija house and activities, MURIC believes the show is undermining cultural views.
Akintola, the director of the group said, “Where are our norms and values? Is it part of African culture to engage in sex in the open? Where are the authorities? Is the Ministry of Information and Culture sleeping? Is the National Orientation Agency on sabbatical? Who will protect our children from this despicable onslaught? Who did this to Nigeria?”
However, housemates, who come from different socio-cultural backgrounds across Nigeria have come to learn new things from each other during their stay in the house. While some go on to become good friends even after the show, others have become good business partners.
The group went further to say, “We are being forcibly dragged to a world of nudity, shamelessness and open promiscuity. Inmates of BBNaija kiss, romance, and engage in sex openly. BBNaija is bohemian, anti-social, crude and immoral. It constitutes a potent danger to every home. BBNaija is satanic. It is unacceptable.”
Contrary to the belief that nudity is flaunted on the reality TV show, the show – which is censored 18 – has barred the airing of shower hours as well as other parts that are deemed unworthy for the audience. The housemates are young adults, who were neither coerced or forced into making the choice of going into the house. While behavioural development is one of the key essences of the reality show, organisers – through Biggie – caution excesses of the young adults while in the house with measures to help them become better people when they leave the house.
For every edition of BBNaija, the organisers announce the age restriction to the show as well as several ways to block the channel or keep underaged and people with contrary opinion from watching it.
The director of MURIC once again cited materialism as another reason the BBNaija should be scrapped by the Federal Government of Nigeria saying, “Or do we not realise that for every single BBNaija inmate who wins a big amount of money and a car, more than 50 million young people are misled? Qur’an 30:41 says, ‘Evil has appeared on both land and sea as a result of the handiworks of men…”
At the 2019 NECLive conference, MultiChoice Nigeria CEO John Ugbe said though the show did not particularly set out to be a talent show, some of the most creative talents have appeared as participants since its first edition in 2006. “We never think of BBNaija as a talent show. 60% of people believe it’s a talent show. It’s really just about being yourself. It’s a coincidence that we end up with a lot of talented people.”
Given the dizzying pace of the lives of ex-housemates of the BBNaija show, it is safe to conclude that the show has become a continent-wide platform for the average Nigeria youth to advertising their skills to the world.
At different times, Nigerian youths have strive hard to get an opportunity at fame and for the ones that feel swallowed in the creative department, BBNaija provides the opportunity to showcase their imbued talents.
Akintola in his submission to the Federal Government says “This reality show is dragging our children into a life of moral debauchery. It is robbing them of the last vestiges of honour. It is deleting the word ‘shame’ from their vocabulary. BBNaija has alienated our youth from the elders. A yawning lacuna now exists between the young and the old. Irreversible social crisis looms.”
Over the last 13 years, ex-housemates of BBNaija have lived exemplary lives and gone to become some of the best in the Nigeria creative industry. Three months of living with people of the same race but different tribes might see the weak ones indulging in drinking alcohol – which are not in excessive quantity – but definitely not drugs.
It is worthy to note that Bisola’s presentation in one of the show’s tasks in See GoBBe has proved naysayers wrong. In this season, the organisers dedicated ample time to the discussion of some critical social issues to gauge the intellect of the housemates. Bisola made a memorable show of her awareness of fundamental social issues in the country during her presentation. This later earned her a slot at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York as an Ambassador of One Campaign Initiative, advocacy for access to quality education for the girl-child in Nigeria, especially in the educationally disadvantaged states. Where was Bisola’s passion for this cause first discovered? Her presentation at the show on the factors militating against girl-child education in the country.
Parents have – in some cases – come out to support their children and in some cases encourage their children to go for auditions if and when they find them fit for the reality TV show.
From Ebuka Obi Uchendu to Katung Aduwak, Bisola Aiyeola, Tobi Bakre, and Miracle Igbokwe, BBNaija has not impacted on the lives of youths but has also provided jobs with its fourth season holding in Lagos, Nigeria.