The Big Brother Naija reality show has kicked off again and as expected, the controversies are slowly emanating with the momentum growing. The usual Saturday party took place days back, with the 20 housemates partying under the influence of alcohol. The joyous activity seemed harmless and fun until an awkward event took place. Terseer Waya, popularly known as Kidd Waya, grabbed the breast of a fellow housemate, Erica, on the dance floor. Erica appeared startled, she swiftly moved away from the 27-year-old son of a Nigerian billionaire, Terry Waya. Kidd Waya expressed no sense of remorse about his action, he even requested to have more time with her which she turned down.
A short video clip of the incident was recorded and uploaded online; it sparked discussions. Many called for the sanctioning of Kidd Waya to serve as a deterrent to other young men who enjoy preying on women and taking undue sexual advantage of them. But nothing of such ever happened for the public to see. It would be recalled that the seemingly unwritten codes of conduct guiding the participants of the reality show forbids sexual harassment and other forms of delinquencies of human beings. It was on this note that Kemen, a participant, was disqualified and evicted in the year 2017, after he appeared to have groped a fellow housemate, TBoss, in the middle of the night. How come Kidd Waya isn’t being reprimanded for his odious action in the house? Is it because he is promising and the organizers of the show will be seeking to make some cool cash from his presence in the Big Brother house? Why the double standard? Have the rules changed again? If so, what are the rules? Are women safe in the house?
Sexual harassment as the new pandemic
The issues of sexual harassment and rape in Nigeria are beginning to spread as fast as coronavirus with the majority of the cases going unreported due to the stigma attached to the victims. In Lagos state alone, the police revealed last month that residents had reported 32 separate cases of defilement, rape and other offences related to sexual intercourse, all within six months. A similar crime record is in Kano State. The northern state recorded 42 rape cases in the state between January and May, this year. There is hardly any day that a rape incident isn’t is reported on social media, blogs or the mainstream media. But we live with the menace like the new norm in human society.
Since the Big Brother Naija show is being followed by millions of people, the organizers had a chance to make a bold statement against the objectification of women by at least penalizing Kidd Waya with a strike or two. Him going scot-free is an endorsement of his criminal activity, which if not curtailed will snowball into a larger problem that could make the society unsafe for us all. This is the time to put financial interests and ratings aside, to pursue a cause that will better our society.
History of sexual harassment on the BBNaija show
This is not the first time the prying lens of the BBNaija high definition cameras is looking the other way in the face of harassment in the house. The previous season recorded about two clear-cut incidents of sexual molestation which were never looked into. Instead, the video clips became part of the highlights of the show which created more publicity on social media. It appears the initial success of the show is also measured based on social media trends. The show presenter, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu boasted yesterday that the show trended on Twitter on a global scale sometime last week.
Frodd’s off and on ‘relationship’ with Esther looked interesting until he once crossed the line. While lying on the same bed with her on a fateful night as they were covered with a duvet, Frodd appeared to pull down his briefs as he leaned on Esther who expressed resistance. It took the intervention of Big Brother who spoke to Frodd off-camera, to stop him.
Omashola who had earlier barged into Thelma while she was in the bathroom soon marked the infamous register. After the usual Saturday night’s party, a drunk Omashola that paraded his erection with pride was seen simulating sex behind a mother of two, Venita. Despite being resisted by her, Omashola seemed persistent. The incident was caught on camera and the videos were circulated online. It was followed by the usual social media engagements but nothing happened. Omashola got away with the incident and even had the gut to give Venita a nickname on stage in front of a large crowd, at the end of the show.
A chance to do the right thing
Kidd Waya is a young man who exudes so much confidence. He is handsome, exposed, well-travelled and hails from a wealthy family. He doesn’t hide his background and privileged life. He brags about being confident and it works for him. He appears to be the everyday ‘Alpha Male’ figure who just go for what they want according to the spate of the hunger. This mentality might not be far from the scandal that rocked the U.S president, Donald Trump before the presidential election in 2016 after an audiotape of him bragging about his exploits with women leaked. The severity of Kidd Waya’s move was written over the face of the hapless Erica., but he didn’t see it as a big deal. That sense of entitlement was boldly written all over his face. Being tipsy isn’t an excuse to touch women inappropriately.
From all indications, the organizers missed a golden opportunity to contribute their quota to the war against sexual harassment in our society, but it is never too late to do the right thing. Kidd Waya can still be given strike(s) or disqualified from the show in the spirit of fairness, equity and justice. I guess Kemen will be shaking his head in surprise and disappointment as he watches Kidd Waya being let off the hook for material gains.
The reputation of the show is already on the line. Come to think of it, BBNaija hardly trends on an educative note. It is all about controversies and scandals. The themes of the show in the past also reek of the expectations of the organizers. Themes like See Gobe, Double Wahala, Pepper Dem Gang reek of one trouble or the other which the housemates are hypocritically punished for when they push their luck too far to gain popularity and entertain the viewers. The essence of the show needs to be redefined as it is losing its initial goals and objectives.
When an offence like this goes unanswered, it is bound to multiply in the nearest future. The authorities of the show are sleeping in a house with a burning roof.
Written by George Osayimwen