Northerners Perception of the Programme Big Brother Nigeria

NORTHERNERS PERCEPTION OF THE PROGRAMME BIG BROTHER NIGERIA IN ALBASU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF KANO STATE

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background to the Study    

Historically, according to Chikafa and Mateveke (2012) the concept of Big brother was borrowed from George Orwell’s novel of 1984 titled ‘fictional dystopia of Oceania’ in which he described a world of non-ending surveillance. In the novel, the dictator who watched over the citizens of Oceania was called Big Brother and his terrifying slogan was ‘Big Brother is watching you’. In the Big Brother television show, contestants confined in the house compete to escape eviction in order to win the prize money. Big Brother is a television reality game show based on an originally Dutch TV series of the same name created by producer John de Mol in 1997. The series follows a diverse group of contestants, known as Housemates, who are living together in a custom-built home under constant surveillance with regard to daily life and activities amidst loss of the sense of shame.

The reality TV show debuted on the continent in 2003, and has since then, with the aid of the growth of satellite television in Africa, roused African audience interest and has remained an annual event till date. Big Brother reality show has continued to thrive and at the same time wax stronger mostly among the youth; although the show over the years has been criticized for its display of obscene and vulgar scene which is considers not part of the Nigerian culture and that of Africa in general.

Moreover, reality television is relatively new in the Nigerian broadcasting industry but has been around since the dawn of the millennium in Europe and America. Today the genre remains popular and profitable and accounts for half of all programming on broadcast and cable, and it generates 6 billion dollars in annual revenue (DeVolld 2019). Reality television arguably has some economic benefits to television stations but criticized for promoting violence among other criticisms. Thus reality television, with its functions and dysfunctions, seeks to accord its audience a high level of satisfaction.

However, it appears almost impossible to satisfy the viewing needs of a heterogeneous audience – an audience of different characteristic spread across different locations. Paradoxically, what a section of the reality television audience may consider as immoral or disgusting may serve as a lesson for others to learn. Others may find nothing objectionable with what audiences are doing wrongly.

BBN is a reality television show that begins with an audition of interested contestants who are young persons. A final shortlist of about 20 to 25 housemates or more are admitted into a house where they are expected to stay for a period of 3 months. Housemates are evicted on weekly bases until the last person emerges the winner of the competition. Housemates are voted for a stay or eviction by the television audience who are fans of the programme.

Every winner of each edition is given a cash prize that ranges between 60 and 85million Nigerian Naira (between $156,675.96 and $221, 932.11) in addition to material gifts. The first edition of the Big Brother Naija was first broadcast between 4th March 2006 and 4th June 2006. The next edition came up long after and began on 22nd January 2018 while the last two editions began on 30th June 2019 and 19th July 2020 respectively all on DSTV and GOTV satellites platforms (Akinyoade, 2022).

Amidst the transmission of the various seasons of BBN, many Nigerians have been divided on the idea of supporting the survival or ban of the programme. Those who are supportive of the ban on the BBN claim that the show promotes immorality in forms of sexual acts, nudity and indecency, thereby corrupting the moral standing of viewers. Those who support the survival of the programme argue that the reality show offers educational, informational, entertainment, economic and cultural benefits to the housemates, the viewing audience and the nation at large. The thrust of this paper is to examine the values of the BBN show to the housemates, the viewing audience and Nigeria as a nation and to explore more Nigerians’ reasons for the call of the programme’s survival or ban (Akinyoade, 2022).

Big Brother Naija reality show has continued to receive criticism due to display of obscene and vulgar scene which is considered not to be part of the Nigerian culture and un-African. In line with the above assertion Ojoko (2013) opines that Big Brother reality show has no doubt generated a lot of controversies in recent times and worthy of note is the fact that the sponsors or organizers are near-faceless and the show exhibits low moral values and falls short of what is expected in these days where clamour for the good days when cultural and good moral values was at its peak.

According to Laitto (2015), the disturbing level of sexual immorality being celebrated by the Big Brother reality show is adjudged short of programmes designed for educating viewers. Be that as it may, great number African audiences particularly the youths have continued to emulate the damaging style portrayed in the programme (Oluwakayode, 2013).

This has led to several calls demanding for its ban and censorship. For instance, in 2007, the lower legislative chamber otherwise known as Nigerian House of Representative directed the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission to discontinue the airing of the Big Brother reality show as it is unhealthy for public consumption (Ralvy, 2007).

 Despite these outcries and the moral panics, the reality show has neither improved in moral tone nor level of viewership reduced. The number of viewers have rather increased from over forty million in 2012 to seventy (70) million in 2014 and in 2017 had an estimated vote of twenty-six (26) million. This shows that there is a large followership amongst the Nigerian youths as the reality show practically seems to have a lasting influence on the social life of youths (Nwafor & Ezike, 2015). Hence, it is against this backdrop that this study focused on the investigation of northern perception of the programme Big Brother Nigeria in Albasu Local Government Area of Kano State.

 

Northerners Perception of the Programme Big Brother Nigeria

1.2     Statement of the Problems 

It has been observed that, the Big Brother Nigeria reality TV show has been heavily criticized for promoting immorality through its display of obscene scene and use of inordinate languages which seem to be alien to Africans. This according to critics such as the Nigerian noble laureate, Wole Soyinka as cited in Lengnan, (2013) is not part of the Nigerian culture and that of Africa in general. Soyinka and his fellows described the show as “pervasive and debasing” (Lengnan, 2013).

According to Nwafor and Ezike (2015), the TV reality show has displayed uninhibited sexual frolics in open cameras, accusations, STD’s being passed around, shameless smooching by hormonally charged housemates and ear-tingling swear words are the predominant values being shown, which lamely try to project positive African cultures and traditions which is ironical because such modern franchise like Big Brother Naija are Neo-imperialist means of eroding the very essence of Africanism.

However, due to the desperations of the contestants to smile home with the ultimate price and other numerous gifts the housemates seems to forget that virtues such as morality, dignity, self-respect, posterity, discipline, decency in dressing and maturity exists, they all have their eyes fixed on the price, throwing caution to the wind as they display all manner of promiscuity, immortality, envy, immaturity, indecency, violence, jealousy with reckless abandon.

Considering these problems, and since television is seen as an audiovisual medium through which some youths are influenced in their day to day activities as a result of what they see on reality television shows. These therefore necessitated the research on the investigation of Northern perception of the programme Big Brother Nigeria in Albasu Local Government Area of Kano State.

 

1.3     Purpose of the Study 

The main purpose of this study was to investigate the Northerners perception of the programme Big Brother Nigeria in Albasu Local Government Area.

Specific objectives of the study are:

  1. To find out the perception of Northern parents on youth’s consumption of adult content in Big Brother Nigeria Programme.
  2. To determine the strategies employed by Northern parents to prevent their children from viewing of adult content on Big Brother Nigeria programme.
  3. To determine the effectiveness of the strategies adopted by the Northern parents in shielding their children from viewing adult content on Big Brother Nigeria Programme.
  4. To investigate other factors that can affect Northern parental intervention on their youth viewing of Big Brother Nigeria Programme.

Northerners Perception of the Programme Big Brother Nigeria

1.4     Research Questions    

The following research questions were set to guide the study:

  1. What is the perception of Northern parents on youth’s consumption of adult content in Big Brother Nigeria Programme?
  2. What are the strategies employed by Northern parents to prevent their children from viewing of adult content on Big Brother Nigeria programme?
  3. Are the strategies been employed by the northern parents effective in shielding their children from viewing adult content on Big Brother Nigeria programme?
  4. What are the factors that can affect northern parental intervention on their youth viewership of Big Brother Nigeria Programme?

 

1.6     Significance of the Study

The study will be of importance in the following ways:-

  • This study will be beneficial to agencies that educates and train parents on how to raise their children in a moral and upright way.
  • It will also be beneficial to parents as some of them requested for a copy upon completion.
  • The organizers who can learn to improve on what they broadcast on Tv to the viewers who are also children who can be easily influenced.
  • Parents as they can be influenced to pay attention to the negative aspects of Big brother Naija such as sex scenes, violent and adult content and act accordingly.
  • The learned Community as school information can be sought after when a research similar with the topic is considered.
  • It will be beneficial to whoever encounters it as it provides knowledge on the subject matter.
  • Also, it will add to the list of existing knowledge on the subject topic which will be beneficial to the future researchers in the subject matter.
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