Organisers of the popular television reality show, Big Brother Naija (BBNaija), have announced that season seven (7) of the show will begin on July 23.
Teeming millions of Nigerians, as usual, who are fans of the show have been waiting for such news as the activities in the BBNaija house are always among the highest trending topics across the country especially among the youths.
The spokesperson for Multichoice, Busola Tejumola, on Tuesday while announcing the date also announced that the winner of this season which is expected to run for 72 days would be blessed with a grand prize of N100million.
A breakdown of the prize according to Tejumola, showed that the winner will receive a N50 million cash prize and N50 million worth of other prizes from the show’s sponsors.
Meanwhile, apart from the grand prize, BBNaija housemates usually have the opportunities to win various games worth millions of naira, cars and foreign trip tickets.
Some past participants and winners of the reality TV show have also come out as millionaires and nationwide celebrities.
Not a few have been won endorsements from companies while some have been offered appointments by their state governments.
SaharaReporters observed that this is in stark contrast with best graduating students and First Class graduates from various federal and state-owned universities in the country who have repeatedly been awarded paltry sums of N2,000 and N5,000 after four to six years academic labour.
Worst of the unfortunate reality in the Nigerian academic sector is that there is no government-owned university in Nigeria where undergraduates or even postgraduate students enjoy half of the luxury of life the BBNaija participants enjoy in the BBNaija House within the period they spend there.
SaharaReporters last year reported how the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) in 2021 rewarded three best graduating students with 4.63 GPA each with a cash prize of N500 each.
The award tagged Sir Odumegwu Memorial Prize for the best graduating student was valued at N1,500 in which the institution boldly indicated that the three best graduating students were to share the prize among themselves including Nwankwo Esther Nnenna of Department of Accountancy, Okoye Emmanuel Obinna and Ugwuanyi Chinenye Callista of Department of Banking and Finance.
Similarly, a Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation Prize valued at N1,000 was given to the same best graduating student.
More ridiculously, the Anambra State University, Igbariam, now Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU), in 2017 rewarded a Mass Communication Department best graduating Student, Best Somadina, with a tuber of yam and a fowl.
Somadina in an interview with the BBC after his graduation said people wondered if he was a native doctor to be given yam and fowl for a sacrifice.
“People expected me to get a gift related to books, but when I got yam and fowl they started laughing, wondering whether I’m a native doctor. If I had got a laptop, or N500,000 to help me for Master’s degree, it would have made more sense,” he said.
But that was not all because the Ekiti State University (EKSU) in the same 2017 awarded the best graduating student of the Department of Civil Engineering, Bamisaye Tosin N100 (one hundred naira) on award tagged ‘AdoEkiti Patriotic Front Prize Award.
Also, the University of Ibadan prides itself with Chief M.K.O. Abiola Prize in University Sports with an annual prize of N200 awarded to the best all round sportsman and sportswoman of the year in the entire University, and Dr. Moji Oyebola Prize for the best disabled graduating student in the University, valued at N750.00 (seven hundred and fifty Naira).
The ridiculous list is numerous from various federal and state-owned universities in Nigeria, the “giant of Africa” and the most populous African country with over 60% of its population as youths, most of whom are graduates.
Only few private universities, for instance, Caleb University, Imota in Lagos, which have gone as commendable as awarding the sum of N5 million each to its 2020/2021 three best graduating students, including Iredia Ejehi of the Computer Science Department who was the overall best female graduating student with a 4.92 CGPA, Ifezue Humphrey of the same Computer Science Department who was the overall best male graduating student with a 4.84 CGPA and Mrs. Olufunso Fasuyi who came out as the best graduating Post Graduate Student.
Despite the country’s richness in mineral and human resources, the Nigerian education sector has not only continued to deteriorate but is completely dead and forgotten.
The Nigerian university students have been at home for over four months because the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been on strike since February 14th over numerous issues including funding of government-owned universities; but the current priority of Nigerian leaders is the 2023 general elections, with unrewarded, forgotten and jobless graduates being used by the politicians for one destructive selfish interest or the other.
In the 2022 federal budget, only N355.47billion was allocated to the Ministry of Education for 44 Universities; N112.46 billion allocated for 33 Polytechnics and N77.62 billion allocated for 27 Colleges of Education across the country. This sums up to a total of N545.55 billion allocated to universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in the country, whereas the country is expected to spend N3.87billion on debt servicing based on revised budget.
While the National Assembly – the Senate and the House of Representatives were allocated the sum of N139billion with N5billion for a Library project and another N300 million for e-Library projects.