There is no doubt that the popular television reality show, Big Brother Naija, is one of the most controversial programmes in the country at the moment. While some think that the show should be scrapped, others argue that it provides good entertainment.
Even more people got talking about the show last weekend when one of the housemates who was believed to be a strong contender for the prize, Tacha, was disqualified for getting involved in an altercation with another contestant, Mercy.
While some people were of the opinion that both personalities involved in the ‘drama’ should have been disqualified, others thought that it was a bad move to have disqualified Tacha barely 10 days to the end of the show.
In a chat with Saturday Beats, former dancer and daughter of the iconic musician, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Yeni, maintained that Mercy and Tacha should have been disqualified from the show. She said, “Watching as an independent person, I think both of them should have been disqualified. In my father’s house, whenever his wives were fighting, the person that made the first attack was usually found guilty. Mercy flipped her hair in Tacha’s face and she (Tacha), in turn, pulled the hair. If I were to judge fairly, I would say both of them should be disqualified. It would have been fair to evict both of them.”
However, actor, Ali Nuhu, fondly referred to as the ‘King of Kannywood’, believed that Tacha’s disqualification was ‘well deserved’. He stated, “(Many) people were talking about Tacha but at a point, she began to overdo things in the House. Big Brother happens to be the godfather of the house, and whatever rules given should be obeyed. The way Tacha pulled Mercy’s hair during the fight was not right even though Mercy provoked her. Tacha has (also) provoked many people in the house and she wasn’t penalised for that. I am not condemning Tacha, but it is very important to learn how to control one’s self wherever one finds one’s self.
“If you observe Mercy’s conduct in the house, you would notice that she has been able to control herself (to an extent), though she has had her own bad times in the House as well. Tacha had issues with almost everybody in the house and it didn’t speak well of her. As far as I am concerned, Tacha’s disqualification was well deserved, and the two strikes that Mercy got were also in order.”
Disagreeing with Nuhu, a former President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Ibinabo Fiberesima, insisted that Tacha’s disqualification wasn’t fair. She told Saturday Beats, “The disqualification was not fair. They should have both been disqualified because they provoked each other. Tacha pulled Mercy’s hair and Mercy also grabbed an electric iron and was going to hit it on Tacha; and that was violence. There was an intent to hurt at that moment, and if she wasn’t stopped and she hit Tacha, things would have been worse.”
Singer and one half of the former music duo, Artquake, Ice K, was of the opinion that ‘sacking’ Tacha from the show was not a smart business move. After making a post on his Instagram page stating his position, Ice K stuck to his guns in a chat with Saturday Beats. He said, “Tacha has been able to gain attention and we know that negative news travels faster. On the day she was disqualified, I figured she was quite toxic, but the person she was having issues with (Mercy) almost did something similar. The organisers of the show made the rules, and they can also modify them. They simply bowed to social media pressure. From a business point of view, I believe that when people start talking about a person like that, that is when the show gets more viewers. They should have found a way to warn Tacha against getting extremely toxic. That particular weekend, the voting margin she had was almost double what the next person had. This is telling you that people are all out to watch her because she was one of the most talked about housemates. One should want to keep such a person on the show because people love to watch her. As an aspiring politician, I am all out for getting results legitimately, but there are times one needs to bend the rules.”
Contrary to what some have said, Ali Nuhu stated that he enjoys watching the show. “I am a fan of the Big Brother show and I watch it. I like the show to an extent because one gets to realise that the housemates have talents and are very intelligent. With a show like Big Brother, they are given a platform to express themselves and make use of the opportunities that would come to them. I am personally impressed with many of the housemates because of the level of their intelligence, and awareness. They have done well as regards the games and tasks given to them. I have a favourite housemate whom I am rooting for. He is Seyi and I have been campaigning for him. He is very intelligent and handles all the tasks given to him well.
“However, everything that has a positive effect also has a negative side. The aspect of Big Brother that I don’t like is the sexual activities the housemates engage in. We are Africans and there is a way we portray certain things. Most of the immoral acts are not good for family consumption.
“I don’t agree with the calls in some quarters that the show should be scrapped. In fact, there should be another edition next year. I only feel that the environment should be more controlled, especially when it comes to the moral aspect of the show,” he said.
Maintaining that many Nigerians were hypocritical about the show, Ice K said, “There are a lot of hypocrites in this country. To be honest, if you are a normal person doing things the normal way, people would rarely give you attention. BBN is neither a platform where they raise wife materials, nor is it a breeding ground for people with good morals. I have never seen them gathered one day to pray before any task. It is a programme in which anything happens, even immoral things.”
Condemning the ridicule Tacha had been exposed to because of her alleged body odour, Nuhu said, “If people have body odour, you don’t taunt them about it. You shouldn’t stigmatise them, rather help out. Tacha is now a celebrity. She is a colleague and I may be on a platform to work with her someday. I do not think it would be right for me to use that against her. Exposing a fellow human being to such ridicule is just not right.”
Fiberesima also argued against stopping the show. She said, “I think the show is fun to watch. It is getting everybody talking and a lot of people are hooked up to it, whether we like it or not. I think the show offers a sort of relief from the regular issues we deal with in Nigeria. Initially, I didn’t agree with a lot of things done in the House, but later I began to. I love the part where they try to inculcate our culture into their activities. We should promote the positive image of our culture and that is what they do. If we have a platform like that, then we can use it to showcase Nigeria in the most positive light to the rest of the world. I do not think the programme should be scrapped; rather it should be used to promote Nigeria.”
Yeni was of the notion that the reality show shouldn’t be banned, also stating that many Nigerians are hypocrites. “I think we can be very hypocritical. The people that criticise the show could also be watching it in their homes. If you want to enjoy your life with it, enjoy your life. I’ll never be one to say the show should be scrapped; it’s really not my business. If I don’t want to watch it, I wouldn’t. We wear wigs and mimic virtually every aspect of the white man’s culture—why can’t that be scrapped too? When I was growing up, I never saw them kiss in Nollywood movies, but now they do,” she added.
On what she would do if her child showed interest in being a contestant on the reality show, she said, “I want to believe that one isn’t eligible for the show unless one is above the age of 18. How then can I stop my child that is above the age of consent from going into the BBN House? Whether I like it or not, the child would do what he/she wants to do. Once one’s child is above the age of consent, he becomes the master of his own destiny. I could just give some advice, but I cannot force him or forbid it.”
Yeni also stated that if Fela were alive, he would have been non-challant about the show, just the same way she was. “If he were in my shoes, he would have been angry that we need sponsors for Felebration, yet people are fuming about BBNaija.”
Ali Nuhu also said that he wouldn’t be against his children showing interest in the show. “I would allow my child or relative go for the Big Brother show if they are willing because when I wanted to become an actor, I faced a lot of issues. Many people were against my decision, but today, those same people are proud of me. I would support anyone who wants to go for the show, but advise that they conduct themselves properly. There are many people who have been well behaved in the House,” he added.