Saturday, July 27, 2013

Does Nigeria's BBA Voting Threaten African Peoples Unity?

This week’s Big Brother Africa eviction voting is an uncommon fierce inter-regional popular battle after the recent acrimonious AU inter-governmental election brought Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to the top office in Addis Abeba. It looks like a test of African peoples’ harmony – beyond just unity.

For the first time, there are only three on the eviction ballot and they are from the three most influential sub-regional blocks south of the Sahara: Elikem (Ghana, WA), Annabel (Kenya, EA), Sulu (Zambia, SnA). BBA viewing, commenting and voting weaves an unprecedented Africa-wide online, twitter and TV text bar network of 20 million, generating intense conversation among the continent’s peoples in ways never seen.

With inklings of geo-political jostling and amid raging passionate and acrimonious IT debates, plus with evident voting along national and sub-regional lines irrespective of housemates’ personal qualities, Africa is thus put to test over which sub-region’s population actually carries sway and how much that can reveal of the continent’s diverse population feeling as one people.

The main sponsor of the show this year Airtel runs a slogan “one Africa” which is echoed by Big Brother to housemates during daily Diary Sessions. And, yes, the annual reality show now in its eighth edition is a veritable melting pot of housemates from countries across sub-Saharan Africa, showing off at the same time the continent’s diversity and its sameness on live television 24/7 for three months. But, oh, the acrimony around voting!

So even what appears to be wayward child’s play can mean a thing with far-reaching implications, looking at the vital indicators. That is, beyond the moral concerns over likely promiscuous talk and deeds on primetime TV, and beyond the chase towards the $300,000 prize money, BBA is still a huge billboard emitting a strong revealing message to Africa.

The winner take all voting formula means country votes are equal irrespective of national population size; from Nigeria’s mammoth 170 million through Ethiopia’s 70 million and South Africa’s 50 million to a meagre two million each for Namibia and Botswana. Yet, in case of a tie on number of country votes, national population size may have a bearing on Africa-wide percentage average, the tie breaker.

Who Nigeria votes for may easily win the percentage average. Plus, Nigeria’s huge migrant population across the continent, with noted enthusiasm for BBA voting, may also influence host country votes against the citizens’ voting preferences.

Nigeria’s population alone slightly surpasses all East African participating countries put together and by far all of southern Africa, despite their superior country count (seven out of 14 participating countries). Population size also offers a bigger consumer market for the various businesses involved: M-Net, DSTv, Channel O, Multichoice, Africa Magic, Airtel especially, and others advertising on the show. Could this – as some ranting fans claim – also be influencing BBA policy somehow? Some fans are calling for a change in the voting formula. Nigerians have dominated the show since 2009.

Perhaps that accounts for the semblance of inferiority complex towards Nigerian housemates. It looks like the most realistic alliances are stitched around Nigerians. Botswana’s Oneal was incensed when his Tanzanian soul mate Feza told him that she was advised by friends back home to associate with a Nigerian guy – just any in the house – to enhance her game plan.

“To associate” does not exclude having an amorous relationship, but there is no certainty if Angelo’s hookup with Nigeria’s Beverly followed that calculation. However, Namibia’s Dillish, shadow girlfriend of Nigeria’s Melvin, has won the Nigeria vote two of the three times she was up for eviction. She only lost it once to Bassey from neighboring Sierra Leone.

Generally, other housemates seem to strive to be jolly towards Nigerian housemates, perhaps to keep a good face with Nigerian voters. Hardly are Nigerian housemates nominated even in the secrecy of the Diary Room. Even Beverly, considered in a wave of opinion from home as wayward and a weak link, has never featured on the eviction ballot and has pulled only a sprinkling of individual nominations across nine weeks.

Though Melvin, apparently Nigeria’s hope this year, has been nominated twice, those only came when he was Head of House and fellow housemates, lost for choices, generally said they believed he would use his Save and Replace discretion to redeem himself. Once he even maintained himself on the ballot but won a landslide to survive eviction!

Melvin is a good looking gentle soul with fine manners, no doubt, but he is neither entertaining nor eloquent nor adventurous, if you get the point. His presence in the game creates no drama and generates no suspense. Fans don’t switch on their TV anxious for Melvin’s next move, or something happening around him. But he is Nigerian and many fans across the continent are frustrated that that counts.

Yet, it was Melvin’s swap of Hakeem to the gallows, leading to the hulky Zimbabwean’s eviction that made the East and Southern Africans match together in battle amour. “According to Nando and Bimp, Melvin saved the sexy Ghanaian ‘Selly’ because she comes from West Africa where he also comes from and he put up Hakeem for possible eviction because he comes from the Southern part of Africa,” states a write up on BBA website. The opposition – East Africans, Nando (Tanzania) and Bimp (Ethiopia) and southern Africans Cleo (Zambia) and Oneal (Botswana) discussed an anti-West Africa plan after a Channel O party.

Nando, Bimp and Zambia’s Cleo have since then consistently nominated Melvin for eviction. Oneal and Pokello went the extra mile with sulfurous on-camera declarations against West African domination of BBA, but it is Oneal who has spilled more hate literature. From “I’m no longer impressed by this West African pageantry”, Oneal later said he is so put off by West African superiority airs, he won’t wear West African cloths nor dance to West African music. “General” Oneal might simply have been whipping up morale among “his” intimidated troops. But how far can he go?

Pokello may have already paid the price. She lost the Nigeria vote she had won many times over. Now West African voters are calling the war by its name, crying for Oneal’s blood and lining up behind theirs. Nigerians have particularly taken it badly. Ahead of Pokello’s eviction, a Nigerian fan commenting on BBA website said, “Pokello is ungrateful. She has bitten the finger that fed her. Naija/WA vote Pokello no more. Oneal, we’re waiting for you on the chopping block.”  It is obviously thanks to her man Elikem that Pokello still pulled Ghana even on her eviction.

This feeling of Southern African betrayal is a replica of what obtains on the diplomatic scene. Nigeria often thinks it deserves more and feels betrayed, especially by Southern Africa, with particularly acrimonious rivalry from South Africa. Commentators often recall that during the apartheid challenge, Nigeria left the comfort of far away West Africa to voluntarily join Southern African countries in the trenches as a “front-line state”, putting its might and national resources in the struggle to liberate South Africa and the entire sub-region.

Before the call to arms, West Africa had hardly really shown any block vote. Sierra Leone, Ghana and Nigeria had been more akin to follow their hearts, scattering their votes sometimes as their representatives’ amorous interests go. This week’s vote is their first test on unconditional sub-regional solidarity.

Now, so much bad blood spilled has left fans across the continent lamenting that the dynamics of the game were tending to divide the continent, thus negating the beauty of the game – “just a game,” many insist – and its underlying objective of uniting African peoples. This may only get worse towards the finale.

This week, Ghana’s Elikem can count on Ghana, Sierra Leone and Nigeria (WA) and very likely break out of his sub-region to grab Zimbabwe, home country of his lady Pokello who back home, has been campaigning for him. That makes four sure country votes, at par with Sulu’s assured Southern Africa Botswana, Namibia, Angola and his home Zambia. Annabel may thus trail them with her three traditional East African votes from Tanzania, Uganda and her home Kenya. She has only pulled Ethiopia once. South Africa, Malawi and Ethiopia could be tie breakers. Yet the regional fault line is telling. It is West against East against Southern Africa, and that could leave long-lasting blisters, even scars on African peoples.

The spirit behind the conception of the Africa Union (AU) was the quest for the unity of African peoples, a step up from the shortfalls of the defunct OAU’s elusive quest for unity of governments. Nothing more than BBA voting puts to test African’s perception of each other across national boundaries and sub-regional blocks. Can this be the litmus test for sociopolitical temperature in a dream United States of Africa?

By Franklin Sone Bayen (Freelance Journalist in Cameroon) / Sierra Express Media

38 comments:

  1. Some peopls sha!!! See hw u r making a mountain out of a mole-hill.I read ur write up and all I smell is bias.what r u aiming @ and what r u tryin to brew...dis is jst a means so dat readers buy into ur idea and don't vote for the nigerians abi. I see throu u lk daylight. Mtscheew

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  2. Never liked the BBATheChase reporting since the beginning of the season; it's been biased and unobjective, mostly painting negative pictures of housemates. THAT has been the major influence in the voting up till now, and it has caused the show to lose some of the most powerful/entertaining housemates. Drop the biased reporting.

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  3. This is total thrash, comparing the unity of africa with a voting system for sm1 to win $300k that the fans would not even smell a dime. I can't even begin to comprehend the sanity of the writer. This is africa with real wars, famine, poverty, coups nd HIV/AIDS problems and u dare compare it with a game? That says it all. The height @ which sm elements are willing to go to see that africa hates nigeria is simply alarming. Quick question Mr Freelancer Writer, what is the aim of this write-up?

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  4. The article says it all!!!!It is more than real!!The active population of Namibia/Botswana is not even half of the population of Nigerians living in Namibia,so I totally agree it affects in a way.I believe most of the Nigerians may dsagree wth the article but it is reality!!!!

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  5. I don't actually comprehend where you're coming from or where you're going. Haters will always haters and they will continually remain where they're. No Nigerian, no BBA whether Oneal hate West or not, he's already a looser. He'll surely be booted out like Pokello. Stupid.

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  6. But on the real though, Nigeria(ns) must stop being so cocky and think that they rule the show LOL they HAVEN'T ALWAYS been the winner(s) of BBA. Go Keagan, Go Ricco, Go Richard, Go Cherise!!! LOL haha eat that!!!

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  7. They wil never succeed wt ONEAL coz he aint goin nowhere, until day 91st n haters know that 4 a FACT dats why they insult him so much! Unlike their Ornament Melvin he hs no game at all! Population or nt SADC rules BBATheChase!!

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    1. Quick question? 'Wat game does Oneal have dat is so entertaining to u? Gossip???? *Team melvin*

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    2. Anonymous 4:39PM...Talking of who rule BBA??? Pls do not even talk of SADC while Oneal keep on nominating SADC. SULU nominated SADC. I want to believe you too are part of WA hatred train...Come On..This is a game, why the hatred on region???? Have U ever see any WA reps insulting other region through their reps????? That’s respect and respect is reciprocal. Remember do not bite the finger that feed U. Point of Correction, WA or 9ja do not own BBA, the article has just explain it all, this vote count a lots and it count by majority not minority..Take a look at Nigeria population which is more than EA also more than SnA with a large business profit of Multi Choice and all telecommunication companies, and then tell me how do U expect such region to lose, combine with Ghana, Sierra Leone, Cameroon and the rest WA region..One Thing most people do not know is that even a boy or girl of 6years of age just to cut the age short knows how to handle phone and computer, tell me how U expect such literate region to lose out…Talking of WA, is like U people forget this is 8 Edition of BBA and Nigerian/WA only took it trice then where is the rest 4 winner come from…Africa unit and stop discrimination and procrastination.

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  8. People be forgetting that this is just a game show,africa is meant to b united and not fighting over a stupid reality show that is meant to be entertaining.

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  9. Pls can some one, xplain what this write up is all abt? Y ds hate on 9ja ? Its bias in highest order.get a life pls Mitschwww..nonscence

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  10. It can only happen in the event of a tie. Look what happened to bassey nigeria and sierra leone was behind him henceforth he lost. Easy solution, vote correctly..keagan, cherize, richard, rico, and that zimbabwean guy tht win with karin are nt nigerian..

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  11. Truth hurts sometimes... Rules of the game needs to change.

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    1. Anonumous 4:51PM....Will U Please Tell Us Why The Rule Of The Game Should Be Change...Have U all forgot that last year the 3 Nigerians does not make it to the final...Ola & Chris Voluntarily EXIT..Goldie Was Voted Out By Nigerians When She Stop playing the game...What Do U Poeple Want Again???? Year B4 it was Wendal and Karen, Year Before Karen Was Uti, Year b4 Uti Was Who??? Not A Nigerian but year after that was a Nigerian...What U don't know is that all this discrimination is only making Nigeria Stronger...Even I bet it with U, in your own country Nigerians will still win because we enjoy adventure, we are all over and we co-operate much...Have U ever see any WA putting each other on shopping block unless the game get to the point of final 5 standing????? U People Should Learn how to love one another not to love your self alone.....

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  12. Population is a dorminant factor in the World today.

    Nigeria will always be the recognised Black populous Country.

    I thank the Lord for creating me in the land of Green, White, Green.

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    1. hmmmmmmmm...... thats so sweet. thanks

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  13. Big brother has a criteria they use, only the realist person who has stayed constant, with no hating, no gossiping, a person who doesn't contradict themselves and who stay true to who they are is the person who will be the winner. Cleo, Dillish and Angelo are those people, they are from the south. Melvin is the only person from the West with that character and from the east its only Annabel. We should vote for the person who really deserve this money, and not because they are from our country. If this was the case, my country would not be voting because we have no representative to stand for us yet we are still voting. Don't be selfish africa.

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    1. Anonymous 5:07PM...Anabell U said?????Cleo U Said???? Hahahhah lol As for Angelo, U are on point. I Am not South African, am a Nigerian and I have to tell U that guy Angelo is a kind of reserve guy.....I can vote for him if my reps are out but I don't think they will be out until that money is handed over to Melvin....

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  14. Mr Franklin Sone Bayen (Freelance Journalist in Cameroon) / Sierra Express Media, Please be informed that it is articles like this that threaten the unity we enjoy in Africa. I rest my case.

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  15. I am Nigerian but I totally agree,the game has lost its essence to think even the house mates are scared to nominate us..naaaa it aint a game anymore

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  16. The writer says that melvin is not entertaining at all. Please show me which one of the house mate is entertaining? This season of bigbrother is so boring and the theme has lost the game. Whose fault is it if we spend our hard earned money voting for our reps, without nigeria bigbrother will not be existing... Our money goes into that show and without the money biggie may just run into loses.
    Biggie did not enlighten the contestants very well other wise I don't see why oneal, feza and nando will be spiting so much hatredd and bitterness in the game. It's a game, go in there play your game well and if you lucky, you win.

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    1. All dis entertaining rubbish. Wat do u guys want dem to do? Jump up and down d house? Oh puleeaassee!!! Dese pple are normal pple like u and I, dey shldnt be killing demselves thinking of wat to do to entertain africa.

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  17. Mr writer ur a big fool.if melvin isn't entertaining then who is?? Bimp,angelo,oneal,feza,delish,cleo,ananbel,nando,elikeem,bev.Leave Melvin alone ur naughty writer.

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  18. Sm tyms I tink all dis writers jst write rubbish, hw cn dey say Nigeria population is nt enof to alwys kip us in BBA, DSTV is frm South Africa, MTN Netwrk is frm South Africa, if DSTV n MTN loses nigeria frm dia customa list dey kno wot it wil b 4 dem.so Mr writa we wil alwys b in d Game to kip biziness rollin 4 DSTV n MTN.

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  19. I agree the top 5 are Melvin Dellish Cleo Bimp Angelo.and the winner is!!! Melgeria.... let's unite and accept it like this.the fighers and gossipers will soon return to their various boys quarters and read success reality show of Melgeria.

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  20. Nxla sis!!ds game is nt abt de nigerians,if it it y ddnt u js h0st it thr!!nxla nigerians b all 0ver south africa

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  21. If only I ws goin tto hv a share in ds mani myb wud b votin accordin to my country cz aint gonna get a share wl dftnly vote accordin to entertainer ....wheter niger wht or wht I dnt ker ...ish blck wl olws b blck

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  22. Ka Boooooom spot on writer I give it u Bassey left we are only left we borites why dnt they nominate Nigerians ? cos their scared they will loose votes close BBA it aint fun anymore whether we like it or not people hve a wrng perception of the game let dis be the lst game .

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  23. Honestly frank, I looooove dis write up. I've always blivd dat wen u kip plannin hate towards nigeria, dy wil only get better. Drs no cheatin wit d vote since its country vote. So pally wit a country to get dia votes. SIMPLE! Y can't ppl undastnd dat. If u say melvin isn't entertainin,I agree. But I would rather vote him dan vote dat SLY FEZA, or d HATEFUL ONIL, or d CONNIVING BIMP,or d PSYCHIC/MENTAL NANDO,d STOOGE SULU,or d CONFUSED CLEO, who to me are not good brands for d word "UNITY". Don't u get it? If u can't beat dem,join dem. Dat we r d most populous nation is not our fault. Onil and feza wil sure end up d way poky did. If Onil wunt use W/african products, who givs a fuck! Botswana has nottin to offer nigeria and her peoples, rada,its d oda way. So haters, kip hating whl we keepin getting beta. PROUDLY NAIJA

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  24. I wish we all in Nigeria cud decide not 2 take part in dis bba tin anymore, let's see how much u guys can vote, seriously d hatred and insult is becoming 2 much. we Nigerians are very supportive of our reps and we spend a lot of money 2 vote 4 dem, we are not always winning bcos we r all over d different countries, we can b dere and still not vote, buh bcos we have each oda's back, we vote 4 our pipo in d house. Stop d hate and stop dividing africa.

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  25. Its time Beverly gets nominated to see how strong of a competitor she is. As for Oneil and Feza they are probably the least liked contestants in this game. They represent everything the game is not. Annabel should win the money, she is what BBA is about. She is honest and and doesn't gossip, but most importantly, she doesn't suck up to anyone. Its about time Kenya won the money, don't worry, Nigeria will get it next year and every year after that, we don't care anymore!

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  26. I am enjoying every comment and write up on this blog. D fact remains, Feza was doing better b4 she aligned with O'Neal,Nando had a good game b4 he assumed his 'hate' attitude 2wards W/A. O'Neal was this unassuming, quiet, likable young man, b4 Feza Drew his attention to Naija's domineering on d game. Hakeem, Pokello are victims of this distraction. Pls we've all made our points, Nigeria has d voting strength across Africa, but if we play without bias, d best man wins. S.A, Angola , Tanzania, Zambia had won inspite of d 9ja factor. Lets just get entertainment....

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  27. 4 those of u hating nigeria, Nig will show u guys d stuff dey r made up.

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  28. Please, we should be careful with the kind of writeup we publish here. this writeup brings division and not unity among Africans.Bigbrother is just a game and one should not bring up regional discrimination among the voters. i believe people are voting whom they want and like and not the country or region the person is coming from. Please be wise and vote wisely.

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  30. Oneal Kicked out!! U dnt mess wid Nigerian or West Africa at large

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  31. Oneal Kicked out!! U dnt mess wid Nigerians or West Africans at large

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