Big Brother Naija, formerly known as Big Brother Nigeria, and popularly called BBNaija, is back again for a second edition. The third edition of Big Brother Nigeria recently began airing on Sunday, 28th January. Ex-housemate from season one, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, is the host.
The Big Brother Nigeria series is a reality TV show based on the Big Brother TV series in which a number of contestants live in an isolated house and compete for a large cash prize. The contestant who stays until the end of the show by avoiding being evicted by viewers is crowned the winner.
The show began in Africa as Big Brother Africa and first premiered on Sunday, May 25, 2003. The show had participants from different countries where MultiChoice has a presence, including Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Angola, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Organizers went on to pick South Africa as the host country of the house in which contestants would live in.
Big Brother Africa ran for nine seasons before being stopped for unknown reasons. According to a statement from its producers, Mnet, the show was under re-evaluation for a strategic direction. Big Brother Nigeria, at this point, took centre stage.
One would think that with this current reality show being only for Nigerian contestants, the house in which the contestants will live in will be situated in Nigeria. But that is not the case.
Organizers of Big Brother Nigeria, which came back after a 10-year hiatus, has said that it will be done in South Africa. They have gone ahead to receive a lot of backlash for the house being situated and the programme being shot in South Africa despite having all-Nigerian housemates.
The show’s organizers say the need to put out quality content “whilst meeting timelines/deadlines” is behind the decision to transmit Big Brother Nigeria to Nigerians from South Africa.
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Public Relations Manager at MultiChoice Nigeria, Caroline Oghuma, in a statement explained that the show’s choice to film Big Brother Nigeria is hinged on the availability of a “Big Brother house” in South Africa which is used for filming the main Big Brother Africa TV show, as well as other Big Brother shows on the continent.
Oghuma was quoted as saying:
“We have a fully equipped house in South Africa, which is used for the Big Brother shows. This means that we are able to achieve high production values whilst meeting tight timelines and ensuring the show comes to our viewers on time as planned and with the same globally renowned quality.”
“The house has played host to other Big Brother countries including; the general Big Brother Africa, Mozambique, Angola and now Nigeria. The past 10 years and successes of other Big Brother Africa shows have provided opportunities for improving on the show and now we are ready to give the best version of the show to Nigerians,” her statement went on to say.
The backlash, however, prompted Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to respond to the matter. The minister said that concerned Nigerians had bombarded his office with calls to complain about what they regarded as an anomaly of shooting outside the country a show meant for Nigerians.
He urged concerned Nigerians to remain calm, adding that he has directed the National Broadcasting Commission to investigate the reason for the show’s hosting in South Africa. He said that the show could be violating some rules, as well as a possible ‘deceit’, seeing as the viewers of the show were not informed of the actual venue of the show.
“As a country of laws, only the outcome of the investigation will determine our next line of action,’’ he said.
The Big Brother TV series has had a number of country-specific shows in addition to its Big Brother Nigeria show. Big Brother Angola is the Angolan version of the Big Brother reality tv series. The show, which is in its third season, has included contestants from Mozambique. And like the main Big Brother Africa show, it is also filmed and situated in South Africa.
Past winners of Big Brother Nigeria are Katung (2007) and Efe Ejeba (2017).