By Gbenga Bada
With another edition of the Big Brother Naija reality TV show kicking off this July, fans are already warming up to remain glued to their DStv and GOtv screens for another two to three months.
The reality TV show has not only, over the last decade, garnered so much popularity amongst the Nigerian – and Africa by extension – populace, but millions of dedicated fans.
The fans have consistently shown dedication through votes. In 2019, the BBNaija Pepper Dem edition had groundbreaking 240 million votes gathered from all the voting platforms – SMS, website, mobile site, MyDStv App and MyGOtv App. While in 2020, the BBNaija Lockdown edition shattered the records with an unbelievable 900 million votes across all voting platforms as well.
One of the interesting features of the BBNaija show is the winnings. Aside the major prize to be won by the last housemate standing, every housemate is a potential winner. From branded tasks to sponsored activities, a housemate stands a chance to win cash prizes and other valuables.
The major prize of the show has always attracted attention from viewers, fans and housemates alike. The first edition had Katung Adwak smiling home with a prize money of $100,000. Efe Ejeba and Miracle Igbokwe, who won second and third editions respectively won a prize money of N25 million and a car aside other emoluments. In 2019, the prize money was upped by the organisers and the first and only female winner – so far – Mercy Eke won a grand prize of N60 million. Like an oliver twist, organisers increased the grand prize for the fifth edition and Laycon walked away with N85 million grand prize. For 2021, organisers have again upped the ante to announce a whopping sum of N90 million as the grand prize.
If the grand prize regularly attracts thousands of Nigeria to audition process of the BBNaija show, the task, game and competition winnings are enough reasons to be tempted to do all that is necessary – in line with the show’s requirements – to be on the show. From hundreds of thousands of Naira to household equipment, branded merchandize, cars, endorsements, all-expense paid vacations and many more, ex-housemates have benefitted from in-house winnings despite not being the eventual winner. At least, 85 of all the 102 ex-housemates that have featured on the BBNaija franchise have had winnings despite not winning the show.
In 2017, Bisola Aiyeola, a finalist and one of the ex-housemates of the BBNaija See Gobbe won herself an ambassadorial role with One Campaign Organisation for winning a task while in the house. Tobi of the BBNaija Double Wahala won several amounts of Naira while in the house and Khafi of the BBNaija Pepper Dem won herself an Innoson IVM Fox car alongside other prizes and cash sums in tasks conducted while in the house. Same goes for Laycon, Vee, who also got themselves an all paid expense tour to Dublin, Ireland, courtesy Guinness, during the Guinness Smooth Hunt task in the BBNaija Lockdown edition. In the same vein, Ozo and TrikyTee won themselves an all expense trip by Pepsi for winning a challenge while in the house. Ozo also won himself an Innoson IVM Caris car, courtesy Innoson Motors during a task.
As the show’s popularity continues to rise with new housemates, unexpected intrigues, and thrills, the organisers continue to get new sponsors, and entrepreneurship in Nigeria continues to grow.
Unknown to many fans, Multichoice Nigeria, the franchise owner of the BBNaija template, has continued to grow SMEs in the country with every edition while enjoying a favourable business environment – an unusual symbiotic relationship.
The reality show’s impact on the sustainable and continued growth of entrepreneurship and SMEs in Nigeria began in 2018, when the organiser, MultiChoice Nigeria, decided to hold the fourth edition, BBNaija Pepper Dem, in Nigeria after the maiden edition, Big Brother Nigeria, held in Lagos, Nigeria in 2006.
On its return to Nigeria after two editions held in South Africa, an immediate impact was felt by a large number of Nigerian entrepreneurs and SMEs, who benefited from their involvement in the reality TV show. From production crew to the BBNaija house designs, cloth stylists, hair brands, hairstylists, and guests, a long list of Nigerian entrepreneurs and SMEs have continued to get a share of the BBNaija cake.
In 2020, the BBNaija Lockdown house left fans and viewers alike in awe. The 20 housemates couldn’t stop talking about the aesthetics of the abode that housed them for almost 90 days. The name Olajumoke Ogunnaike might not readily ring a bell, but after 2020, the young interior designer behind Lefteye’s signatures became the toast of the town.
“Without mincing words, every work comes with its own challenge. The experiences and challenges faced during other projects we’ve handled made us better prepared and made our work experience much easier talking about handling the pressure that came with the BBNaija. To add to this, there was a positive energy around me from the team that gave me the, yes, I can vibe,” Ogunnaike told The Nation on her working experience with the BBNaija team.
Beyond the strides that the BBNaija show – since 2019 – has made in employing people directly, creating jobs for even more people in adjacent industries, training talents, and building infrastructure, the show has continued to find a way to give back to the housemates, who have appeared on the show, despite being a winner takes it all show.
From the first winner of the show, Katung Aduwak, who is currently a filmmaker, to Laycon, who is quickly finding his feet on the Nigerian music terrain, ex-housemates have leveraged the platform provided by the show to achieve their aim in various fields of entertainment – and in other sectors.
An ex-housemate, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, has gone ahead to make a name for himself on the Nigerian television scene as a master show host. Not surprising that he currently hosts the show since its return in 2017 with BBNaija See Gobbe.
Expectedly, a record of ex-housemates that have continued to rule the film world remains on the top of the mind. From Gideon Okeke, Bisola Aiyeola to Seyi Awolowo, Ifu Ennada, Mercy Eke, Teddy A, Bam Bam, Diane, and Frodd, they have leveraged on the platform to blossom in the film world.
Other ex-housemates, who have gone ahead to become entrepreneurs while leveraging the BBNaija platform include Khloe, Miyonce, Ozo, Mike, Isilomo, Omashola, Khafi, Mercy Eke, Lilo, Lucy, and Wathoni. Some others have found their feet standing strong in the world of media and they include KimOprah, Elozonam, and many others.
As viewers await the start of season six of the BBNaija with bated breaths, the fans can’t wait to pitch their tent with their favourite housemates, Nigerian brands are still struggling to get a feature on the show while Nigerian entrepreneurs and SMEs continue to smile to the bank.