On Sunday, September 27, Laycon the unknown artiste who entered the Big Brother Naija House with 19 strangers emerged winner of the fifth season of the popular TV show. His iconic win marked the end of the show which defied the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not a few imagined a postponement of the show due to the raging pandemic that crippled many social activities. Even when the show finally began on July 19, there were still doubts about the success of the show due to a few changes introduced. From the shortening of the duration, non-contact with outsiders, to the absence of audience participation at the Sunday Eviction live shows.
However, on Wednesday, September 30, when the winner Laycon was awarded his prize in a televised programme, the organisers MultiChoice revealed that the season was successful.
“Big Brother Naija Lockdown Edition has set an unprecedented record, living up to its reputation of being Africa’s most-watched reality television show,” said the CEO, MultiChoice Nigeria, John Ugbe.
First, it shattered the voting records. While last year’s season recorded 240 million votes, the Lockdown season garnered a whopping 900 million votes.
Part of the smashing figures came from the Awoof voting campaign that allowed fans to predict, vote, and lockdown their favourite housemate to clinch the grand prize.
Notwithstanding, the new record speaks volumes of the popularity of the show which is viewed by Africans in the continent and the diaspora.
Also, Ugbe added that the ripple impact of the show on the Nigerian economy cannot be overemphasised.
“Over 1,000 people directly or indirectly supported the production of Big Brother Naija Lockdown edition, and cumulatively over the years it has provided over 10,000 jobs for fashion designers, content creators, decorators, logistic companies, prop makers, makeup artists, photographers, housekeepers, carpenters, caterers, and many more.
“I think Ebuka (the host) has provided the workflow for a thousand fashion designers in just four years. The entire team worked tirelessly to maintain the usual quality and standards that have come to be associated with the show.”
Although some of the show’s elements were relaxed for the safety of contestants and production team, Ugbe disclosed that it didn’t save cost for the company.
“Rather, it’s the other way round. In just reconfiguring the backend of the show, we had to get a larger space, get more rooms, move equipment, stable power, and other things. We are not complaining, we have to face these challenges when we meet them. We had to think very creatively, take out some elements of the show, and replace them with new elements. At the end of the day, we tried to create a balance.”
“For us, it’s more about how do we still bring the same things we are doing differently in light of the COVID-19 situation,” added Channels Director, Africa Magic, Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu.
Perhaps, the biggest milestone the show recorded this year was the number of prizes won by fans and contestants.
Unlike in the past edition where the winner carted away N60 million worth of prizes, this year the winner Laycon took home N85 million grand prize.
His prizes included N30 million cash prize, an SUV from Innoson Motors, a trip to watch UEFA Cup finals courtesy of Pepsi, Scanfrost home appliances, a year supply of Indomie noodles, Munch It snacks, and Colgate toothpaste, a Travelbeta sponsored trip to Dubai with a loved one among others.
The first runner-up Dorathy will also join Laycon to explore the Guinness House in Dublin, Ireland.
During the show, lucky contestants won prizes from different sponsors including the lead sponsor Betway.
To cap the winning spree, 30 lucky fans who participated in the Awoof voting and predicted Laycon as the season’s winner were awarded one million naira each. The winners were picked through a raffle draw out of over 38,000 DStv and GOtv subscribers that participated.