Big Brother Naija Public Participation and Political Participation in Nigeria

Year in year out, the lamentation is always the same when BBNaija starts and almost every Nigerian can’t but be carried along whether they like it or not, and when it ends and the finale shakes the country based on the millions of people who voted and how during and after the game, almost everyone gets really involved in the burst of sides-choosing, campaign for votes, and the extreme behaviours exhibited in the name of showing loyalty to their favorite housemates, there just always will to be those group of people who will complain about how the starting of the TV show will distract political participants from the core matters and bring out people who are politically apart into having an opinion they just have to air the ways they would never do when it has to do with political matters. It’s the same thing every year; there will always be the people who will complain about how Nigerians don’t participate in communal matters no matter how core they are but will just have to participate in BBNaija somehow. There will also always be people who would argue BBNaija gives the people voice and the sense of participation, which is why they participate en masse in the show, and because the Nigerian politics does not give them same sense is why they don’t participate in politics. LOL. This just has to be the most inaccurate logic of all time! There is no way the reason why Nigerians participate wholeheartedly in BBNaija and not in communal matters can be married; first of all, they are different situations with different factors, other reasons for this I will talk about below.

BBNaija is a social event, and when I say social event here, I do not mean it in the kind of “social” that covers all human relationships and interaction in a community or society, I mean “social” like a happy event. Whereas communal matters always fall in the genre of politics, economics, philosophy and sometimes religious—which are barely happy events because they are more about being aggrieved, fighting for a thing or two, having a point to prove, getting into arguments, and hatred and anger too. Nigerians like to be happy, we just want to forget our realities for as long as we could, we want to abandon things that promise to stress us out. Anything that brings happiness and helps us forget our common sorrows is a goal; we roll over it like ants over sugar. Whereas, politics involves intellects and tasks, politics challenges, and everyone in and out of it wants to make you feel bad about something you say or not say, something you do or not do, something you like or not like. Nothing in politics is there to rob your ego or intellect, you cannot be popularly right and for a long time in anything that has to do with politics, and Nigerians don’t like anything having all these factors. In fact, this is the cause of political apathy anywhere, only that the level of apathy differs from country to country, and it is really worse in Nigeria.

That voting on BBNaija is electronic and multiple and voting at political elections is manual, singular, stressful and dangerous is not why 400 million votes would be counted at BBNaija and only about 30 million votes would be countered at the most recent presidential election when the population of the country was over 250 million; electronic or manual voting is not the reason for these huge difference in participation, Nigerians feeling like they have a voice on BBNaija and not on the Nigerian elections is also not the reason why. Rather, the reasons are grounded in the fact that we are unpatriotic lots. Most Nigerians are only staying in Nigeria, they are not really Nigerians. They are either trying to belong to another country or living in the denial that they are Nigerians. This is the basis for all their attitudes towards public matters. Unless it affects them individually… like personally, Nigerians don’t really feel aggrieved about anything or charged to do something about something. A Nigerians will not see why they should fight against something lest that thing is killing them personally. Lest SARS people have killed or abused you or someone you love, you are not really aggrieved about everything bad SARS do, lest a policy the government make directly affects you, you are not really concerned about it or charged to do something about it, and the list goes on and on.

So if anyone asks you why Nigerians participate in BBNaija at the expense of the real communal matters, don’t join anyone in saying it’s because the former makes people feel like they have a voice or because the voting system in the formal is electronic, no, these are absolutely not right! Even if Nigerians are given the assured chance to make must-come-to-past demands on how their societies will be administered, Nigerians will still be too nonchalant to make the demands. Even if registration for voting and voting are done just by sending REGISTER to 3308 and VOTE to 3309, the changes it would make on voting would still be every slight. Political apathy as caused by unpatriotic behaviours is not a thing to eradicate just by making election processes easier or by making people feel like they have a voice. The black South Africans (who are the majority) didn’t have a voice when they took the administration of their country back via full participation in communal matters regardless of age and gender, and more examples of this are available in countries like France, Russia and Germany. Let’s just admit what’s wrong with Nigerians, as that’s where the hope for a solution begins to rise.

About Olusegun Peters

Olusegun Peters is a businessman in tech and in the academics. He is the founder of www.primerinfotech.com and www.pec-ng.com. He is also a poet who has hundreds of poems published, and a couple of media and literature awards to his credit.  He is by education a Political Scientist at every degree of academics. He believes in the parts social activeness must take in individual development and state-crafting. He believes social involvement is one of the core factors that can bring about the cut-across development. He is passionate about contributing his knowledge to impacting as many people as possible one person at a time. Read more about Olusegun Peters here

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