It is no longer news that Efe (Michael Efe Ejeba) has emerged as the winner of this year’s edition of Big Brother Naija (BBN) carting home N25 million plus a brand new Sorento SUV after 78 days in the Big Brother house alongside 11 other contenders.
There is celebration in the land with Efe savouring a heroic welcome and basking in the euphoria that normally accomplishes such a feat. Many organisations, individuals and states across the country, including Delta State, his home state, are rolling out the drums to celebrate the young Nigerian for his achievement.
But if only Nigerians for a moment would stop and cast theirs mind back to the early days of the airing of the live TV reality show when news broke that the event, which was principally a Nigerian show, was being staged outside Nigeria, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Not many people were pleased with this development and there was anger in the land with many calling for the government to order an immediate stop of the programme.
Those who held such view saw it as an affront on Nigeria, as it short change Nigerians and a sabotage of some sort of the nation’s economy and a deceitful act by the organisers.
The organisers of the programme, MultiChoice Nigeria/M-net, quickly came to the defence of the programme, giving reasons for hosting the reality show outside the country.
To douse the rising agitations in the land, especially when it was also noted that The Voice Nigeria, another reality TV programme, was staged in South Africa last year, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, hurriedly intervened.
He announced to a bemused and angry people that the Federal Government was looking into the case and pleaded for calm as a matching order had been given to the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to look into the matter and determine whether any extant NBC’s code had been breached. He, however, did not look at the economic ramifications as the crux of the matter went beyond mere broadcasting code.
That bought some respite for the programme and before long the majority of Nigerians forgot about the angst and even the moral issues that were raised and were totally sold on the daily airing as it eventually took over both the social media and public space and even dinner hours in most homes.
But sadly, the minister has forgot his promise to the nation likewise the DG of NBC both of whom waxed poetic about not allowing Nigerians and the nation to be cheated or short changed even as the vocal Nigerians then who led the agitations got enmeshed and moved on to different preoccupations.
This is a sad commentary on the Nigerian state and perhaps one of the principal reasons why this country has remained prostrate and Nigerians beggarly and hardly earned the respect of any nationals just as we saw with the xenophobic killings in South Africa by South Africans while Nigerians where busy boosting their economy through huge investment in BBA.
Just a week to the end of the show then over N30 million was said to have been spent by Nigerians on SMS. This figure is outside the gross from sponsorship deals, services, consumption, tourism, entertainment, airport transfers, tickets, personnel, set and others.
By the time the final figures on the show would be released, Nigerians would be shocked by how much they have enriched South Africa’s economy within such a short time. It is very clear that Nigeria government care less about what happens to its people and the country.
Even the people themselves don’t bother as they are very weak in holding the government accountable as can be seen in this instance. Otherwise why would Mohammed and his NBC not tell Nigerians over the space of 78 days what their findings were in respect of breach of NBC’s code since that was the only concern of the government has it never bothered to address the economic issue, which for many was the weighty issue and not a mere broadcast code.
National interests, especially those of the economy, brand/ image and territorial integrity are the rule of the game.
President Donald Trump has given a new meaning to this by elevating protectionism to a new height, making it know that what counts now is America’s interest. MultiChoice/ M-net is gearing up now for the second edition of The Voice Nigeria, which will again be held in South Africa.
Obviously, Mohammed and NBC are still digging deep into NBC’s code and by the time they are done South Africa economy will be the better for it while Nigeria remains poorer in terms of the gains from investment by its nationals on the programme save for the diadem claimed by the winner. What a shame of a nation!