Hard lessons Nigeria must learn from Big Brother Africa 9

It is unfortunate that the conniving tactic among African states to discredit Nigeria time and again, has finally found its way to the Big Brother platform.

The just concluded Big Brother Africa Season 9, can at best be described as a reality television show which now has adopted the conniving twist that utilizes the gang-up function against Nigeria as has always been the case in the politics of the African continent.It is unfortunate that the conniving tactic among African states is to discredit Nigeria time and again, despite its contributions and sacrifices to the liberation of the continent on the political terrain, has finally found its way to the Big Brother platform which ought to be a means of unifying the present generation.Rather than so do, the BBA platform has become a tool that drives amongst African youths an intended political agenda by some power thirsty countries whose aim is to segregate and isolate the Nigerian state from participating as a major determining stakeholder in the affairs of the continent.More unfortunate is the fact that such manipulative scheming is reduced to a game that sees representatives from the various countries acting like their desperate leaders who engage in a back stabbing conniving show of shame that pays no heed whatsoever to any act deemed honourable.Let it be stated for the records that the seed which the Big Brother Africa show is promoting on the continent now is no more than a celebration of mediocrity and the chastisement of merit.For a stand-up act, if Tayo Faniran, the Nigerian representative to the show didn't deserve the Hotshot title, then our continent and today's generation is headed down the path of doom.A pry into Tayo's character on the show leaves the following impressions which I dare Big Brother to falsify if incorrect. Besides being loud, he remains the most consistent amongst the house mates; his personality demonstrates commitment, loyalty and unwavering focus. Never once was he caught up in an emotional mix that led to a sexual escapade with any female house mates.Asides these qualities, his sense of judgment never strayed, neither did his character for being an open book which led to several confrontations with other House mates.It cannot be denied too, that Tayo entertained the sea of Africa's audience, one that necessitated that he be kept on the show till the end, for without him on board, this year's BBA season would definitely have reeked of the stench of boredom. The organisers, Endemol, would also have felt the sting of loss, for they clearly are not blind to the financial benefits and prospects tied to Nigeria's participation on the reality show.But, in the end I guess, Endemol achieved their aim after all which was to use Nigeria for huge monetary profits, and at the same time provoke the enmity of other countries against the generous and accommodating giant of the continent.If the organizers or BBA however disagree with me, I suggest they read through comments pouring out on various social media, particularly ones on facebook, so they get a first-hand appraisal of the situation on ground.

Never in all my years of internet sojourns have I seen such collective full force of vile hate coming from the youths of other African countries, and whose comments malign Nigeria in huge proportions.The Big Brother Africa show is nothing more than a platform playing to the manipulative agenda of a government using the tool of television.To set the records straight, a trip down memory lane at this point may very well be helpful in educating the misled youths of these other African countries who have made Nigerians very bitter enemies for apparently no justified reason.What they do not know is that if ever the chips are down, Nigeria remains the pinnacle of hope, whether or not they like it.Past accounts show that Nigeria as a founding member of the OAU channeled major policy initiatives through that organization, though its relations with other African states took place outside the OAU framework but were guided by OAU principles.Nigeria's past efforts and commitment led to the liberation of the continent from the last vestiges of colonialism and to eradicate apartheid in South Africa.This commitment was pursued most actively after Murtala Muhammad successfully backed the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola's ascent to power in Angola in 1975 by providing the swing vote in the OAU decision to recognize the MPLA.Nigeria played a role in the independence of Zimbabwe and in the late 1980s was active in assisting Namibia to achieve independence. In the latter case, it contributed about US$20 million to assist the South West Africa People's Organization in the 1989 elections and other preparations for Namibian independence.

The country also contributed financially to liberation movements in South Africa and to the front line states of Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, which were constantly harassed by South Africa. That is not even to mention Nigeria's contribution in Liberia which claimed so many lives of our gallant soldiers.My Point: "Being our brother's keeper" has caused Nigeria more harm and no good. Since such isn't working as an approach to ensuring unity, the country might as well assume a "give and take" stance just like the United States of America. If Nigeria stands to gain nothing from foreign relations which requires a sizeable share of commitment, we might as well say "good riddance" to same and withdraw from making any input or contribution.Nigeria must also review its diplomatic relations with other countries in a way that fosters reciprocity.

Every diplomatic gesture must be met with "an eye for an eye" treatment.Our country cannot be continually used for about just everything. I was shocked when one of the BBA participants, Sheila from Botswana, who after being evicted raised votes in support of the Tanzanian winner, Idris, expressed interest in pursuing an acting career in Nigeria's movie industry, Nollywood. How ridiculous and slimy can one get!Here's a word to the likes of Desmond Elliot who desires to create an opening for such characters: Never think of it! Nigerians are watching you, as I have placed the beam on you now.Also, the Nigerian government should at this point send to the National Assembly for consideration and passage, executive bills that make the patronage of local products and service mandatory. That way, dependence on services rendered by other countries will be out rightly severed.The government should through the Nigerian Communications Commission, put in fastidious and urgent work towards ensuring that patronage is redirected towards services rendered by Nigerian investors in both the broadcast and telecommunications industry.

It is time to shut out the likes of MTN and Multi-choice or Dstv from raking billions annually from the millions of Nigerian subscribers who patronize their service. It is after all a known fact that South Africa's telecommunications company, MTN, has ripped Nigerians severally despite poor services rendered.I also hope the news flying around about a petition seeking to withdraw Nigeria from participating in next year's season of Big Brother Africa is not just another attention seeking rant. Let same be made good by matching action for words, for it remains the only way the country can keep what is left of its badly trampled honour.

By Ezrel TabiowoTabiowo is a Public Affairs Analyst in Abuja, Nigeria.


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