By: Timi Olagunju
Recently, I listened to a Kenyan who said he wished #BBNaija was a reality show covering leadership, business, and entrepreneurship, where young entrepreneurs get to find solutions to real problems, while creating value and employment. For me, that was quite instructive, especially coming from a non-Nigerian. However, rather than agonize with my friend, I thought of a solution around it using #BBNaija as a tool to promote leadership and deliver good governance in Nigeria through entertainment.
It is trite knowledge that the use of entertainment (including sports), to promote civic education and good governance isn’t new in any way. In 426AD, the Greeks who invented the idea of democracy, would gather citizens together for theatrical performances, with bigger plans of further discussing important issues on the economy, governance, and citizenship.
This method is also applicable in modern age. Mandela used Rugby as a leverage to drive economic cohesion, unity, and integration in South Africa. Some musicians, actors, producers, in the United States and around the world, regularly volunteer to support and donate towards a cause bigger than them (or a foundation), especially in the areas of education, civic engagement, and environment. Nigeria can learn from this.
Last year, on “The Platform”, Segun Odegbami talked about the benefits of leveraging the power of sports (and entertainment), for driving education for all and skill development. According to him, after returning from Amsterdam, he took what he learned and started a school in Ogun state, that combined sports, entertainment, to get the most difficult kids (without any passion for learning) in becoming knowledge hungry, and currently scholars in the United States and Europe. According to him, Amsterdam had a place called the “arena” (a stadium) – where young people meet once every two weeks. Interestingly, football (or entertainment) is the least activity in the arena. The young persons go there to learn about life skills, personal development, finance, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths) in practice, but powered by leveraging football (and entertainment) as a force to pull them in. But look us – neither the Abuja National Stadium or the Lagos Stadium in Surulere has anything structured to drive education. However, this is something Big Brother Naija could learn from, going forward. Would #BBNaija step-up and become like the Amsterdam “arena”, or would it return in its lowest ebb, like the National stadia?
I would like to state who a Big Brother is (in African parlance). A ‘big brother’, can be referred to as someone who sees farther and guides a much younger person – one who inspires a younger one to achieve much more or/and not be misled. Therefore, ‘Big Brother Naija’ can live to the true meaning of its name, by tailor-making its programmmes to encourage young Nigerians towards civic leadership, especially in getting and using their Permanent Voters’ Card (PVC), because when leadership works in Nigeria, the entertainment economy improves; whether for individuals or businesses. It’s a win-win – and #BBNaija can lead this cause.
The recommended programmings to promote civic leadership (PVC usage and acquisition) through #BBNaija, can be designed for a day or two (especially on one or two Saturdays out of the 85 days). An example, is getting the Housemates to wear a T-shirt or cap promoting the use and acquisition of PVC for two to three days in a roll. It could also be the idea of getting two or three facilitators to come to the house to discuss civic engagement and importance of civic leadership and voting in elections, on one of the Saturdays. A last idea could involve giving the housemates a task that teaches a higher morale about citizen’s participation in civic advocacy, voting, and leadership in Nigeria. Whilst this is being done in the house, viewers (especially millennials) can be better for it.
These kinds of innovative inclusion is necessary to uplift the #BBNaija programme from its entertainment value into a formidable force for public good and leadership development for Nigeria and Nigerians. This will make it a ‘double wahala’ for bad governance and ‘dead-body’ leadership.