10 Things You Missed From BBNaija2017

Now that it is finally over and we can all rest.

The Big Brother Nigeria RealityTv​ show is finally over. Now we can all rest and begin to clean up all that was spilt in the process.

14 housemates gave up their rights to privacy for 78 days while Nigerians and some around the world watched and I have to say, it has been a really interesting experience.

From the housemates (HMs) plots, twists and turns to social media banter and reactions, it has indeed revealed a lot for those who care to see.

While “it is a game” was one of the most touted responses one got when someone showed too much emotion or passion for the show, the reactions of housemates and Nigerians as a whole, no matter how aloof some may claim to be, were anything but. Even indifference was a real reaction and not a predestined reaction and as far as it went, BBNaija proved to be as much of a “game” as football is, here in Nigeria.

So here are ten things you may have missed while you were shouting up and down that it is a game. Indeed, it was a game,(on whom is left for debate), but the psychological lessons one can extrapolate are useful nonetheless especially as some (many) of us guessed who would be the winner but only waited for events to play out.

One of the glaring lessons I came to was,

Once a lot of people are backing you, you can safely assume that you have what we like to call “god’s grace”. We have defined it, sold and packaged it.

It is that thing that makes you untouchable from bad people and events. It is that thing that keeps you rising and what you go back to refill at your place of worship once any bad thing happens, even though we all know life is made of ups and downs. It is selective too. Some have more grace than others and they become untouchable. Others do not have at all because their actions do not reflect our church’s/mosque’s standards and they are doomed to perish, even if by our own words and actions. It is that thing that is responsible for everyone’s success. From the dirtiest politician to the man who gathers garbage. It is the standard reply to every question. It is the inexplicable statement that ends all statements. When ‘grace’ meets you, it doesn’t matter what you do, you will succeed.

Some people would later say they didn’t understand. For them, 24 year old housemate, Efe, was mediocre at best, and his rap sounded like baritone cymbals clashing in one’s ears, but no one cared. Why, because majority could relate.

We live in a country where the merits of work don’t count or take more effort than it should, and where it seems the only way for one to succeed is through a miraculous interference. We beseech our pastors and spend countless nights praying for this. And now that one has an opportunity, you want to take it away? Mbanu. Efe signified the hope of many, what I would dare call the Nigerian dream. From nothing to something, nobody to somebody, rags to riches, grass to grace. It didn’t matter what was against him. Whether he misyarned as he was wont to do after taking one too​ many drinks on Saturday. It didn’t matter whether he made the same mistakes others were crucified brutally for.

“We love him like that” was the response.

Efe was a reflection of so many. A very relatable element in the delicate fabric that is the Nigerian society.

Be especially wary of a person, most especially a Nigerian, who sees in you, what he thinks he lacks in himself.

Speaking of mirrors, a truly fascinating character, someone who started out not knowing what was in store for her and did not back down in the face of outright hate, introduced herself in what I like to describe as the evolution of TBoss.

Here was a lady who dared to represent what most of us could not relate to. A woman who held up a mirror and showed us the deepest darkest bit of ourselves as Nigerians.

I once read on my timeline that the first mistake she made was to walk into that house prim and proper.

From a different background — one most of us like to imagine is better only because it is foreign — she invaded thoughts and spaces with her personality and OCD.

Then the rumors started circulating; the marriage allegations, the porn star allegations, the misconstrued words, until she finally gave the public what to chew on when she made statements which were thought to be controversial but which was as simple (obviously not) as ABC. Her efforts to project that part of her which didn’t see money as all-in-all, and which hustled for a living like every other regular Nigerian was severely blown out of context. Many would think it’s because we did not understand but in reality, it did not matter what she said. It did not matter the explanation she gave. People are bent on seeing what they want to see. People would say what they want to say. Regardless of your explanation, regardless of your pleas to them to really listen and understand. Even if you cook, sweep and clean for the whole family and extended relations of your boyfriend. They will smile, eat your food, call you Iyawo, and watch your heart get ripped. People’s minds (close minded, that is) tend to be made up from day one.

Do you anyway, and while you’re at it, find a way to make money from it.

I had a love-hate relationship with Housemate Debie-rise’s guitar. I’m sure most people would agree with me on this one. She had a tendency to play this instrument at odd times, sometimes distracting us from conversations we wanted to pay attention to.

What most of us — me excluded because I said it since the beginning—failed to realise was that, she was slowly selling and making us learn the lyrics to her song word for word, subconsciously. And when the DJ played her song that last party on Saturday, I couldn’t help feeling as happy as she did, like that friend who was there through her struggle finally hearing her song on the radio, and I even caught myself singing along.

The mystery of the “Debie-risers” was astounding as well. Another underdog, though more quiet, her fans surprised Nigerians at each and every turn, letting us know that there was indeed a section of society who related to her person and agreed that it wasn’t a crime to lose yourself sometimes. After all, we have all been lost one time or the other, and it should not be the reason to kick out the other good aspects of us.

At least once.

Living in a country like ours, its easy to see double standards like a common thief burnt with a tyre around his neck while a big thief who steals millions, your destiny and your children’s future will be praised.

It’s common to see pastors being “touched not” for the attitudes and words said that don’t even match up to the man they say they follow.

BBNaija was no different. As the king pin of double standards, we didn’t fail to disappoint by condemning what some called “whorish acts” from HM Gifty who was accused of speaking in fake accents but tolerated the talented Bisola who had no problems expressing her sexuality and healthy appetite.

This could also be seen in the case where HMs Bisola and Debie-rise were called stupid by HM Efe for not serving food before having their bath while similar statements arising from a female might have come back with severe​ backlashes and requests from the public to go back to her father’s house.

Again, in the widespread outage that followed HM Tboss’ declaration that her life is not about money, but in the public stamp of approval given to HM Efe when he declared “25m no be money.”

We see this again where HM Kemen was brilliantly welcomed in his home town after a sexual misconduct which he basically received a public pardon for after an apology that still managed to lay blame on the woman involved. As usual, like seen in society, the actual act carried out in the four minutes of that moment was not enough evidence for some as the cause has to be backtracked to hours or days before the main event. Our quickness to judge women and forgive our men of misconduct also prevailed even after housemates became aware of the situation. HMs like TTT still had their reservations, counting himself a worthy friend who made it clear that he should be the one to be approached and told of the situation.

Unsurprisingly, like many men, most only realize the gravity of an action when it is done to their sister or mother, and find it difficult to see every woman — regardless of her status, choice, tribe, sexual activeness, clothes — as humans, worthy of the respect they have for their sisters and mothers.

“At the end of the day, Kemen would be fine.” was a tweet I saw on my timeline one evening later.

And indeed, in a country like ours, he will be.

Best be prepared so you don’t get heartbroken even in the fight against these standards.

For those who are aware, this is a sad reality to face. Text messages come flooding in every Sunday, even from those who have not contacted you all week with one very important question, “Did you go to church?” And any Nigerian worth his title understands what comes after if you say No. Nobody cares if you have doubts or questions, just go to church.

You had a heartbreak, it happens. It’s not that serious. You’re a man. You learn to say you are fine.

Having marital problems? Go back to your husband’s house. There’s no room for divorce, your parents did it for the children, you should do the same.

There is no room to fall apart or act like you don’t have your life all figured out.

And this was all too clear to see when HM Tboss, who, granted, finds it difficult to apologise for her own part in a fight or argument, refused to apologise insincerely.

An apology from HM Bisola over a previous argument, although insincere and clearly trash, gave her names like “mature-minded” and “humble”, even though the so-called apology did nothing to clear the air as one could clearly see she was still brewing.

Suck it up and act like it, we all say.

And we train our children to do the same and say there is no problem because like we say, Im don apologise. “She has said sorry na!”

And then we get surprised when someone bursts out in uncontrollable rage and kills their spouse,

Or jumps of third mainland bridge.

It’s really subtle. But most of us don’t know how to give true compliments. Most of our compliments are based on the relative dragging of another human being who may or may not be in the picture.

“Your eyebrows are really lovely” is different from, “your eyebrows are really lovely, it’s not like all those nonsense that other girls do.”

You feel happy because someone, usually a man, has rated you higher than other girls.

“I like natural haired women” is different from, “I like natural haired women, those who wear weaves are so fake.”

You feel happy because someone has validated your “realness”.

So imagine my lack of surprise when it seemed people could not support HM Efe without castigating HM Tboss in the same breath. It was just too easy.

“I love Efe”, is different from “I love Efe, not that useless Tboss, (Tbores, Tboobs, insert other demeaning name here).

And we all feel better because once again, we have done what we always do, bring another down while supporting those we want.

I look forward to the day when we get true independent ratings. And even when we relate, we relate their actions or the issue at hand, instead of putting down a whole human being or colouring them all bad just because they have flaws like everyone else.

And it’s not because they are trying to make the world a better place.

You can get angry at this fact, choose to ignore, or maintain double personalities. One for you and the other for the Nigerian public.

The only thing Nigerians hate more than the woman — usually tagged “home breaker” and “whore ”— a married man cheats with, is the married man himself. Unfortunately for HM ThinTallTony, he must have realised this after being evicted from the house as some Nigerians felt a moral responsibility to send him back home to his wife, even though the wife was apparently in full support.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s one thing to say, “I’m not a fan because of his dishonesty”, but it’s another to outrightly say, “Let’s help send him back home. His wife needs him.”

We do not really care though — whether you starve, have a messed up life or you die. Just go back home so we can fulfill our moral obligation to a society so deep in morals and yet, ironically, so glaringly deep in decay and corruption that the whole world is on its defenses against us.

I can’t count the number of times HM Marvis was chastised for her love of eba. Add that to her constant presence playing cards with the guys and you could tell we, the Nigerian people, were deeply offended. Some even went as far as calling her a man.

Other female HMs earned the ‘go-back-to-your father’s-house’ card with their actions and HM bisola was praised for being a “pillar”. According to Efe, she was the kind of woman who “go dey by her guy even if he messes up outside” as he explained to HM ThinTallTony during a private discussion.

And never for once was the place of the man ever debated.

Conversations like HM Debie-rise’s seven point agenda, sorry, seven ways to know if a man loves you, and other such discussions kept reiterating and revolving around a woman’s place, or a woman reaction, with respect to a man.

The bashing of Bisola’s actions by those who were so concerned about Bisola’s motherhood also reinforced the change we (esp. women) expect a woman to make once she is married(she has a man now) and has a child. And I personally loved that Bisola did not subscribe to such nonsense.

Conversations designed to lift women up and instill their worth in them, to make the Nigerian women as a whole realize that they are whole all by themselves, were very few, if at all there was any.

I never forget the many girls that were paraded by my seniors and some of my mates for being witches when I was in secondary school. But that was then when we were young right? Wrong.

Right before us, on Live TV, not Nollywood, was the microcosm of our society.

Regardless of the fact that the HMs had read the rule book, passed through many auditions and understood the processes, regardless of the fact that they themselves nominated their fellow housemates, the blame for which housemate got evicted rested on HM Tboss, who was the scapegoat of the house, one who had no street credentials and whose “nigerianness” was questioned over and over especially when she forgot some lines from the Nigerian anthem — which by the way, most of those who have more than ₦25million of the country in their hands do not know, and who then proceed to spend or invest such money outside the country, or use it for frivolous activities such as the elimination of mystical grass species.

But the highlight of my disappointment was the seriousness with which HM Efe tackled the issue. He would not touch or go near HM TBoss’ bed or her person, and even admitted to instilling arguments between them so that she doesn’t get close, and also advised others to do the same.

The fans outside, to my fake astonishment, were even more aggressive with enforcing this notion. Proceeding to use names such as white witch, which HM Bisola herself called her, each time another HM was evicted.

Days later, a doctor jumped into the Lagos lagoon after which people chastised those who were attributing the cause to some sort of mental illness like depression catalyzed by the state of the economy. According to them, it was simply unusual and a form of attack from one’s village — because that’s​ where all the evil people reside — for a man to jump down from his car, (he even had a car sef), and into the lagoon.

Currently, the country is dealing with the outbreak of a different strain of meningitis and a governor was said to have claimed that this is a direct punishment from God to the people for their various sinful acts.

It appears this train of thought prevalent among the Nigerian populace seems to have escaped time, education, and modernization.

Okay, I lied. There’s one more point but you’re here already sooo… moving on,

Communication is a real problem. So much can get lost along the way. Even more so for Nigerians who are yet to grasp the nuances beyond the spoken word. Concepts such as sarcasm and satire are usually misunderstood or poorly represented and housemates of BBNaija and their fans were not exempt from this reality.

This was particularly evident when terms like “gossip” came up after the many malicious gatherings of housemates, Marvis, Efe, Bisola, and Bally against HMs TBoss and Debie-rise. The gossip sessions, frequently​ punctuated with venom-filled hisses, eye rolls and exclamations of “Useless!”, were carried out with a tone that suggested that the subjects​ of their discussions may have blatantly insulted them or carried themselves in a derisive manner, which was hardly the case.

Later, this term “gossip” would be flung out as an accusation against the team of two, Debie-rise and TBoss, to describe the discussion they had while they talked about their predicament, how they felt about it and who they both had in mind to nominate.

Maybe we need to come up with more words and we’ll start from “gossip”. One to define the malicious version which seeks to pull a person down and another for the version which seeks to understand your situation with respect to other parties involved in a situation or environment.

If I’m angry with my mechanic for not fixing the problem with my car and I call my friend, Omojuwa to tell him, am I gossiping with Omojuwa? And if not, what word should we call that then?

At the end of the day, I’ve come to the conclusion that most of us don’t know who we really are.

The average Nigerian has many cloaks to hide in; his parent’s wardrobe, his pastor’s house and his leader’s power and money, which he uses to tell himself lies until he actually believes them.

After an outburst in anger at HM TBoss, Bally later apologized saying that “that was not him”, despite the fact that it was his face on camera.

The responsibility for his outburst, I guess, lies with the “devil ”— surely a different version of the biblical character conjured specially to take away the blames of Nigerians.

The words spilled by Efe as he downed bottles of drinks during parties were said to be another side of him, even though you’d expect someone who made so many claims to be “real” to have no difference between his sober and drunk self, but that fact was obviously lost on most of us. As for the reason, refer to my second point.

When the responsibility to vote in a candidate is left in our hands, how do you vote right when most of us already have existing prejudices conditioned especially by the environment we live in?

We have all been conditioned to want out of this hell with precarious living conditions and anything which promises to lift us out or give us even a glint of hope that it is possible will prevail.

From the story of Olajumoke, to the man who had no shoes, to the change of 2015, to the young man from the street on BigBrotherNaija2017, the winner is usually very obvious to see.

And as long as that is so, judgements can never really be fair as qualified candidates are not always from the same background, and many lessons as a result, remain unlearned. Or totally missed.

We are all waiting for that one big change, that miracle, that helper that will change our circumstances, help our solution. The religious business thrives because of this, yet, things hardly ever change.

For most of us at least.

Because you actually have to ‘be’ better to ‘see’ better to ‘want’ better.

And as most of us already know, it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a man to look into a mirror, see his true reflection and do the work of refining it into the image he wants to see, by himself.

We experience it when we want better bodies but can’t clean up our diets and work out. When we want better husbands, wives, families, but can’t seem to muster up the courage to turn that finger around to ourselves. When we want better lives but refuse to invest in ourselves, laying all blame on our circumstances, while we undermine the challenges of others we think have it easier than we do. It’s not an accusation. I do it too. For most of us, information is only a click away, but that’s no longer the problem.

Implementation na die — it’s not just leaders of the country that lack that — and it’s all to easy to step back into the comfort zone and what parents, friends, relations have told you about how to live and what to expect from life. But imagine the rewards. Imagine that 20 people decided to be better and act better, directly influencing 20 more people who directly influence 20 more people — the whole country will gradually learn to implement and demand implementation which your children’s children will reap from. What else do we do with life?

Some people would argue that we all voted based on sentiments. I disagree. I’m willing to bet that the HM you voted for, reflected a part of you to yourself. BBNaija was only a mirror, and who you really voted, was you.

We read stories and share and laugh because we relate, because we can totally say — this is me.

Following this, I would say about 60% of Nigerians are Efe, and this, not including those who didn’t vote or have no data/internet. If we included those, that figure may rise to about 75% not including children.

For me, this is a near accurate representation of the unseen dynamics present in our country and one can better understand the threats of rigging or violence that would prevail if a contestant ordained by ‘god’ does not win.

However, I was a bit impressed that despite that, strong segments from HMs Bisola, TBoss and Debie-rise stood strong. My hope is that we get to the point both individually and as a nation, where we have and appreciate all the diverse personalities represented on our screen (in our neighborhood, in our country) without bias because only then will we say truly,

May the best man win.

Happy detoxing.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Adaku Nwakanma

Adaku Nwakanma

I write about digital product design.