PRODUCTION OF BIG BROTHER NAIJA IN SOUTH AFRICA: SMART OR MEAN?

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I have been bemused by the outpouring of bitterness by my compatriots over the decision of DSTV to export our Big Brother Naija House mates to a South African ‘House’ for the recording and production of the voyeuristic series. DSTV explained on its Africa Magic website that there is a “fully equipped house with facilities required for a successful show” in South Africa. “We have a fully equipped house in South Africa which is used for the Big Brother shows. For the Voice, our approach was pretty much the same. “The venue is already set up with all facilities required for the successful execution of the show; this means that we are able to achieve high production values whilst meeting tight timelines/deadlines and ensuring the show comes to our viewers on time, as planned, and with the same globally renowned quality. “Whilst the house is based in South Africa, the BBN show is 100% Nigerian, with fully Nigerian housemates and content.”

I will not concern myself with the possible legal challenges which DSTV is reportedly trying to avoid with a Nigerian over the rights for ‘Big Brother Nigeria’ which has obviously been renamed ‘Big Brother Naija’. I am rather much more concerned about Nigerians lack of depth in long-term problem-solving. We only go up in arms when there appears to be enough noise over an issue. We contribute our quota of angst and diatribe and very soon go to other matters of ‘survival’. It is therefore not surprising that Nigeria has been on ‘survival mode’ for decades when other countries are busy making real progress.

To all those angry Nigerians over DSTV’s decision, I only wish to raise some posers. Why have we not shown this level of anger when we have been gleefully doing the following:

Keep taking our raw petroleum outside Nigeria to, even non-petroleum producing countries, and buy refined petroleum products at crazy prices to the devaluation of our currency

  1. Keep shipping our big television advertising and musical video projects to South Africa and UK, and paying a ransom to models, actors, producers, directors et al, while when we shoot such projects in Nigeria we offer the producers a shoe-string budget and complain later that the ads are not ‘world class’.
  2. Keep buying substandard foreign software for routine and serious operations at criminally-priced rates when we have a growing tribe of software geeks who only need opportunity in their fatherland to practise their art and grow.
  3. Prefer to buy imported cheap and expensive shoes, clothes and accessories while killing a blossoming Nigerian industry which thrived in the 1980s.
  4. Our leaders keep running to be treated and sometimes die in foreign lands only to be attended to by Nigerian doctors who have been humiliated out of Nigeria with poor remuneration, ill-equipped hospitals, nepotistic employment, crass victimization and scant respect for their contributions
  5. Our children run to universities outside Nigeria for secondary and tertiary education after we have converted our tertiary institutions to homesteads of violent cultism, student-exploitation and absolute lack of appreciation for excellence
  6. All institutions of government treat Nigerian entrepreneurs with contempt, condescension, and see their activities mainly just good enough for all manner of taxes, levies and extortion

My humble take is that if we have not found any need for righteous indignation when all the above-listed and even those unlisted have been happening seriallyover the years, then we should please allow DSTV exercise its liberty to produce Big Brother Naija anywhere it pleases. Afterall, Nigerian government institutions and public/private companies have been doing the same thing over the years.

On the other hand, just maybe we can use this opportunity to take a cue from newly sworn-in American President, Donald Trump, and ‘Make Nigeria First’. Meaning that, where and when it is possible, all projects should be developed and produced in Nigeria to create jobs and all our bureaucrats be reoriented that businesses need to be supported and not miked to death with taxes, levies and extortion for the Nigerian economy to grow. In the Meantime, we of course, need to get our infrastructure right to be competitive. There are bigger things than Big Brother Naija, let us focus on those issues and we will not be discussing issues of ‘opportunity-flight’ in a few years’ time.

Until then, enjoy the show or ‘second-base’ biko.


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