By Reno Omokri
When I read how much was spent on making the Big Brother Naija House COVID-19 safe for the 2020 edition of the reality show, I was stunned. Yes, this money is being put up by a private company, and not by the government, but they are investing their money, not to create jobs, but to exploit the Nigerian people by making them vote and then reaping huge profits.
Nothing is being produced. No jobs are being created. No tangible physical value is being created. There is no treasure in this venture, only pleasure.
It cost N2.5 BILLION to build the 2020 #BBNaija house. Our economy is in recession because of #COVID19, and this is what we invest in. And you wonder why Nigeria is the world headquarters for extreme poverty?
As a nation, we do not have a scheme to fund young entrepreneurs. Banks give out business loans at double-digit interests. Our Bonny Light Crude is losing market share in the features market. Yet, we can fund young slay queens to have public romps with young studs for the delight of our youths.
No wonder our population is the only thing that is growing in Nigeria. The N2.5 billion could have empowered 1000 youths with a seed capital of N2.5 million to start a business. But who needs a business in Nigeria when you can look at big buttocks?
And why are we even still running this show in the year 2020? I would instead think that Nigeria needs a TV competition, like The Apprentice, where youths compete on how to succeed in business, and the winner gets a large sum of money to spend on their business and employ other youths. It will be far more productive for the minds of our youths than BBNaija! Even in The UK, where our version of Big Brother originated from, Big Brother ended in 2018. We are the world headquarters for extreme poverty. Our population is growing twice faster than our economy. We need shows that promote youthful business, not BBNaija that promotes youthful sex! We need more jobs for our youths, not more babies and abortions! We need shows that make the youth think of money, not shows that make them horny!
And it gets even more annoying when I see young Nigerians nursing hatred against each other because one set is #TeamNengi and the other is #TeamLaycon. I mean really? This is what Nigerian youths are fighting about? Chinedu Echeruo is a young Nigerian who made a billion dollars selling his app to Apple. Sadly, there are no #TeamChinedu in Nigeria!
Our youths have not formed #TeamDangote, or #TeamElumelu, or #TeamOtedola, to ask to be mentored so that they can grow in business. Instead, they form #TeamNengi and co, just to discuss big buttocks and big other body parts that I cannot and will not mention here.
This is the same way our youths idolised Hushpuppi and ignored the many young Nigerian entrepreneurs who were creating jobs for them, like Ayodeji Adewunmi and Deji Oduntan, who were forced out of business in Nigeria, when the Lagos state government banned commercial motorcyclists, thus rendering their business Gokada, which was employing hundreds of thousands of our youths, obsolete. No protest. No marches. But, let the Nigerian government ban BBNaija, and you will see the mother of all protests!
The focus of our youths is what won’t add value to your lives in the name of #BBNaija!
Big Brother originated in Europe and has since died a natural death there. Now, Europeans are focused on reality shows like Deal or No Deal, and Dragon’s Den, that promote industry, while Nigeria is stuck in yesterday because of our love for debauchery! Other than Nigeria, which countries still do Big Brother? The world has since left that debauched show behind. But not us. Rather than copy what will bring progress, we like to copy what breeds degeneracy!
And it seems the inept government of President Muhammadu Buhari is quite happy to go along because the show distracts the attention of the public from their maladministration. See how they have cleverly increased the price of petrol to N150 per litre in many parts of the country, because they know that the minds of our youths are preoccupied elsewhere. Oh, what a pity. What a pity indeed!
Before I end this piece, let me take a moment to praise Tony Elumelu, the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, who has devoted his life, since leaving UBA, to philanthropy and the grooming of young business leaders, through his Tony Elumelu Foundation.
Through the Blair-Elumelu Fellowship Programme, Tony Elumelu is grooming Young Africans to strengthen Africa’s economy by developing the private sector to be the driver of Africa’s future growth. And it is working. It is working big time!
In proof of this, just go on the Tony Elumelu Foundation website and click on the success stories tab. It features a long list of TEF success stories amongst African youths across the continent. Tony Elumelu is the type of leader we need in Africa. One who climbs on the success ladder, and then lowers it down for others to likewise climb. God bless him.
I urge other successful Africans to please emulate Tony Elumelu by giving back to society in a systemic and sustainable manner, and not just sporadically and episodically. Recreate more of yourselves in your continent.
Africa has the lowest level of intra-regional trade, because we still see ourselves as strangers. Whereas 68% of Europe’s trade is intra-regional, Africa has an abysmal 18% intra-regional trade. We need people like Tony Elumelu and the debonair Strive Masiyiwa, to groom a new generation of African youths who have the capacity to think Africa and not just their countries. Young men and women who can take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to increase African intra-regional trade to the point where it is at least 50%.
Africa cannot grow rich selling more commodities to Europe. Our wealth will only come when we add value to our agricultural and allied products and trade with each other, to achieve continental food security, and then sell the excess to the rest of the world.
But to do that, we need a critical mass of young entrepreneurs, who have the education, discipline, and vision to lead that change. And that is where people like Tony Elumelu, Strive Masiyiwa, Pat Utomi, and others come in.
*Omokri first published this article in ThisDay of 9 August.