As the 2023 general election inches closer, many Nigerians have raised concerns about youth involvement in the forthcoming democratic exercise following the announcement of the foremost show, Big Brother Titans.
The fun of staying glued to one’s favourite television programme has a mix of advantages and disadvantages.
Outside the beauty of entertainment, in real-time, there are feelings it could starve one’s passion for political participation.
While some Nigerians have expressed concern over the programme vis-a-vis the forthcoming election, the reality show host and media personality Ebuka Obi-Uchendu during the launch of Big Brother Titans in December 2021, stated that ”Nigerian youths are very capable of going out to vote and also coming back to watch whatever they want to watch.”
Unlike other editions, the BBTitans, which will last for three months, from 15th of January to April 2023, would be a combination of both Nigerian and South African housemates. There will be two show hosts: Ebuka Uchendu, alongside South Africa’s Lawrence Maleka.
Following the interest often generated by the reality television show, some Nigerians have expressed worries about youth involvement in the election.
A federal lawmaker representing Iseyin, Itesiwaju, Kajola, Iwajowa constituency, in Oyo State, Shina Peller, had while expressing his worries, also encouraged the youths to invest time in 2023 elections as they would do for the Big Brother Naija show.
But reacting to this, the majority of the youths took to social media to berate him.
Usman A. Ariori: “Simple, put all the presidential candidates or governorship candidates in one house, and we do the voting as it happens there. No INEC, no ballot box hijacking, no godfather, just big brother dictating.”
Chukwu Emeka: “Don’t reference BBnaija. Talk about the energy in EndSars. Stop giving the dog a bad name.”
Akintewe Michael: “Our vote counts at big brother but not in the Nigeria election.”
Akujinwa Oliver Ekene: “BBNAIJA is the only show that drives the youth into happiness. The political class has failed them. They are now finding succour in irrelevancies.”
Emmanuel Cephas: “Big Brother Naija is known to transmit results online while the federal governments believe in the ancient days method of ballot boxes and you expect any reasonable youth to go and risk his or her life to vote in a polling centre. Make the election transparent. Then you will see massive interest from the youths to vote. We are just sick and tired of voting, and it will not count.”
Speaking with newsmen, Dr Sam Amadi, a political analyst, who described the reality show as a major entertainment project, noted that BBTitans will reduce the passion and the fervour of youths’ participation in politics.
“This would affect the election to some extent because of the combination of the South African and Nigeria housemates. Once BBNaija gets on the way, and it’s interesting and compelling a lot of activities, there would be a kind of dulling in terms of young people getting out to get involved politically.
“And maybe if they are yet to collect their PVC by now, it’s more unlikely, but we can see a reluctance of people to hang out too long, especially when there are some editions that will involve a particularly popular person on the show or when there are some expectations and anxiety regarding what’s going on in the house.
“Yes, it will constitute some distraction, but we don’t know how much. But it’s just going to affect the quality time that the young people spend on political issues.”