With less than three weeks to the end of the third season of the Big Brother Naija reality TV show, there seems to be little to look forward to in terms of entertaining content, no thanks to the curious voting pattern of viewers. Like the previous seasons, the current instalment of the franchise has not been without its own controversies. The social experiment that is Big Brother is premised upon the dynamics that play out when a group of strangers live together in a confined space for 3 months. During this time, they rely on the voting public to keep them in the game for as long as possible. And because every one of the housemates has their sight set on the hefty grand sum that comes with emerging winner, it’s not unexpected that they get up to some mischief in a bid to score points with the voting public.
The organisers of the show play their part by selecting housemates with diverse personalities who also come from different parts of the country. In typical fashion, they come into the house as unknown faces whom viewers are indifferent to, but soon enough, their unique traits begin to come through and makes an impression on audiences.
As the game progresses, audiences are bound to have different things that appeal to them in the housemates. Some viewers prefer a loquacious personality who has no scruples being blunt at all times while others align with the one who’s more reserved. It’s safe, however, to say most Nigerians are more at home with the garrulous because they provide more entertainment value.
Nevertheless, a close observation of the voting pattern of Big Brother Naija viewers has left me mulling over the mentality of the average young Nigerian. I am beginning to wonder if Nigerian youths truly inspire any hope that even if the old order of recycled politicians stepped aside and the baton of leadership was passed to young people, there would be a positive change.
Last season, the winner of Big Brother Naija amassed over fifty percent of the final votes. He was loved and tagged “Humble” because he played the pity card well. Nigerians bought his poverty story and chose him over a far more talented, entertaining and striking personality like Bisola, a single mother who had also had things tough but chose not to make her sob story the fulcrum of her campaign. One year later, many admit they made an error of judgement and would cast their votes differently if they had another chance.
However, the course of events in Big Brother Naija Double Wahala shows that sentiment still forms the basis of many viewers’ votes.
This season, a housemate who has been consistently obnoxious, rude, and generally badly behaved is being retained in the house for some inexplicable reason. As the show progressed, I was convinced she would not last in the house. Her quarrelsome, disrespectful and all-around repulsive attitude were negative qualities I was certain viewers would be peeved about. I was wrong.
Cee-C has survived every eviction she has been nominated in, and from the look of things, she’s headed for the finals.
In her place, far more decorous and talented individuals were sent packing. What’s more, the more Cee-c’s conduct descends to new lows, the more vigorously her fans vote to keep her in the game. It’s a paradox, really.
The past week was a good example. Bam Bam and Teddy A were evicted from the show barely 24 hours apart. They didn’t secure enough votes to stay in the game because they were seen as elitist. Bambam was constantly called fake because she would not get into confrontations or lose her cool when provoked, while Teddy A’s self-assured personality was perceived as arrogance.
I was almost certain they would be evicted at the time they were, but, it didn’t make it easier to come to terms with the fact that Cee-c (in spite of her numerous misdemeanours) and Nina, who looks lost half the time survived people with the depth of character BamTeddy possess. I all but gave up on the show upon their eviction.
But beyond a reality TV show, Big Brother Naija gives us a good idea of what’s responsible for the current crop of leaders we have voted to rule us up till now. The uninspiring state of Nigeria can be attributed to the irresponsibility and political recklessness of our past leaders, yet, young people still believe in recycling the baby boomers.
The Buhari-led administration has been a disappointment on almost all fronts; chief of all, its alleged fight against corruption. But this hasn’t stopped some young Nigerians from campaigning for an inept president to get a second term.
The juxtaposition of Big Brother Naija vis-à-vis the 2019 elections point to the undeniable realisation that Nigerians – youths, in particular, will root for you when you are lacklustre, clueless, or ill-mannered. Many of us are at home with mediocrity. That’s why we snigger and resort to name calling when we come across people who are remotely comfortable in their own skin and won’t pander to our need to see people grovel to be appreciated.
Once you are elitist or intelligent in Nigeria, you stand no chance at the polls. It’s the reason a personality like Donald Duke will never inhabit Aso Rock. He may have the most fool-proof strategy or the loftiest ideas that will shoot the country to the stratosphere of economic and world significance, but that counts for little where most of us are concerned. As a matter of fact, a rebel in the mould of Ayo Fayose stands a better chance of being president than a Donald Duke or Fela Durotoye.
Yes, we would much rather have the brash and irreverent Fayose at the helm of affairs than someone who’s well-spoken and respects the rule of law. We are threatened by poise. We equate confidence with arrogance and are comfortable with poor standards.
For this reason, Buhari will be president in 2019 should he decide to throw his hat in the ring once again.
Nigerian youths will make sure of that.