It’s a well-known fact at this point that the Big Brother Naija reality TV show is a platform that produces some of Nigeria’s biggest stars. Each year boasts a burgeoning higher level of exposure for housemates, amplified densely by social media. In effect, the stardom of housemates each year follows the upward trend of superseding its predecessors.
Courtesy of Big Brother, we’ve seen really average individuals enter the show only to emerge national heroes. But what we have this year with the winner of the BBN Show Olamilekan Moshood Agbelesebiola, popularly known as Laycon is unprecedented.
Contestants who enter the Big Brother house, and somehow manage to garner a cult following are usually met with all sorts of financial opportunities once they leave the show. Their stardom is something brands wish to leverage on, and as a result, lucrative endorsement deals are awarded to some of the more popular housemates.
This inclination is the big break the Big Brother Naija show promises and is the reason why thousands of young Nigerians fight for a spot on the show, but rarely do we see it go any further than that.
Occasionally, some ex-housemates would stumble upon movie roles or some other form of opportunity in the media industry after leaving the show and build off it. Many would go on to have huge social media followings which would in turn open more financial opportunities for them. And some would just be gifted incentives by prospective business dealers or overzealous fans, but that’s about it. Being appointed a government official for an appearance on a reality show is a milestone we were yet to see.
Winner of the BBN show this year; Laycon received a hero’s welcome to his home state, Ogun, as locals in large numbers celebrated his arrival. Laycon was personally received by the governor of the state and other elected state officials.
Moments later news surfaced that Laycon was gifted the sum of N5 million, with a three-bedroom apartment, an appointment by the governor to become the Ogun youth ambassador and an appointment as member of Ogun Executive Council with special responsibility on youth development and civil engagement.
The news of Laycon’s appointment initially drew congratulatory messages on social media but was later met with a more sensible inquiry which brought the priorities of the governor; Dapo Abiodun, to question.
It seemed very discouraging that the governor of the state would rather pay attention to a reality TV show than the people more in need of the government’s attention, and act more swiftly to a somewhat insignificant course than address urgent state issues.
While some may argue that Laycon deserves the appointment, seeing as he is a strong presence in the state and resident youth may be willing to gravitate towards him, the cash incentive is just un-defendable. This is a state government which is battling a former judge on pension payment.
Some weeks back, the Nigerian Labour Congress in the state embarked on a strike owing to the reluctance of the government to implement the newly approved minimum wage, albeit that issue was resolved.
This state also reports a high number of insecurity issues, including the raping of a 13-year-old girl, the killing of a police officer, high level of cultism, flooding of homes, and kidnapping.
With many of such prevalent issues being reported in the news regularly, you would think that the government of the state would put state funds to much better use.
In our estimation, and at the very least, five million naira would go a long way to solve palliative issues incited by the lockdown, instead, it was given without proper justification to a reality TV star, who judging from his winnings in the show is not in need of it like some of the less privileged residents of the state.
It’s also difficult to ignore the fact that the same energy the Ogun government used in receiving a reality TV star has not been afforded some of the actual primary responsibilities of the said government and with this move, it’s hard to tell where the government’s priorities truly lie.