Since Multichoice Africa announced that the auditions for this year’s Big Brother Naija reality show would hold on February 1 and 2, 2019, many Nigerians had been looking forward to the dates.
So it came as no surprise that a large number of people thronged the venues of the auditions in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Ibadan, Benin and Warri.
For instance, it was gathered that the Lagos audition centre was bombarded with a massive crowd, who had gathered there as early as 6am on Friday morning. Some online users even stated that many people had been at the venue since midnight on Thursday to secure good positions. Online videos and pictures show applicants at some of the venues climbing gates, quarrelling and fighting while waiting to be auditioned for the TV show.
Some people who went to the auditions, to stand a chance to win the N45m grand prize money, shared some of their encounters on their social media pages.
According to some of them, it was a day of various dramas at the centres, which included fighting and an account of a young man who fainted.
On Friday, a video surfaced online, where a man who had come for the audition was lying flat on the ground and was said to have fainted. It was suspected that it was due to fatigue. Another video that trended online on Friday showed some applicants fighting. The cause of the trouble was however unknown. On some online news portals, it was reported that a man went unclad to one of the audition centres. Interestingly, some days before the auditions began, some hawkers had begun to sell ‘Big Brother Naija past questions’, probably to mentally prepare potential housemates.
However, some others who failed to see the relevance of such a programme to the development of the country also made their views known on social media.For instance, an Instagram user, @caddyrey said, “I’m sure the ones who would make it to the house are not even there for the audition, una jus wan kill una self for there, anyways good luck guys (sic).” Another person identified as Creamieisbel, said, “Waste of time. The real housemates are in their house chilling and waiting for the show to start. THIS IS NIGERIA.”
Mz_laaday, she said, “Wish we could put this same energy and effort into the upcoming elections.”
Some people blamed the problem on the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, saying Nigeria has failed its people, especially the youth. One online user said, “The crowd at the #BBnaija auditions is proof of our flawed value system and our failed government. I am not against anyone going to audition for it, but when this is what majority of our youths see as a way to escape poverty, then we have a serious problem.”
However, while unveiling this year’s edition of the show, the organisers said, “The Big Brother Naija show, which follows the format of the internationally acclaimed Big Brother franchise, is known to offer young Nigerian contestants a solid and credible ladder to stardom by providing a platform to showcase their abilities and actualise their dreams.”