Big Brother Naija is the biggest reality show in Africa. It is also the biggest Big Brother franchise in the world right now. It has proven to be a major part of pop culture. In its five seasons, the show has created several celebrities and influential figures in the entertainment industry.
Over the course of its recently concluded ‘Lockdown’ season, Big Brother Naija generated over 55 billion media impressions, with 7.7 million accounts using the word “BBNaija” over 20 million times on Twitter alone. This is according to data compiled by leading marketing, media and tech company, ID Africa.
Social researchers, Dr Olusola Ogunnubi and Akinlolu Akinola reiterate BBNaija’s global influence in their research paper, ‘Big Brother Naija: Nigeria’s unlikely public relations campaign?’
The paper asserts that ‘The popularity of BBNaija abroad is enough for it to be considered Nigeria’s most effective public relations campaign. This is because, for the duration of the show, international viewers are drawn in by the drama, while receiving exposure to local cultural elements. From music to lifestyle and the intersections between pop culture and other sectors, everything is laid bare. By showcasing this culture, the show helps promote a positive image of Nigeria to the rest of the world.’
What this means is that every housemate on the show automatically gains a certain level of popularity and influence. However, some housemates are more influential than others. Using the viral social media ranking tool Social Cred, Netng carefully compared all the housemates from the different BBNaija seasons to ascertain who has the most influence. Below are the top five most influential BBNaija housemates of all time.
1. Ebuka Obi-Uchendu: He is the most influential housemate that BBNaija has produced. Ebuka appeared in the first-ever edition of Big Brother Naija, known at the time as ‘Big Brother Nigeria’. Although he finished in eighth place on the show in 2006, he has gone on to have the most illustrious career of all the BBNaija housemates.
SocialCred ranks him as a ‘Socialite’ on Twitter, only three ranks short of ‘Icon’, the highest of all. He has been the host of Big Brother Naija since its return in 2017, and that perhaps is why he has 1,567,528 followers on Twitter. Ebuka also has an original tweet vs retweet ratio of 2241:7 and an engagement rate of 0.12%. His tweets receive an average 38% positive response, 34% neutral, and a 28% negative response.
On Instagram, the lawyer-turned-host has a following of 2,554,368 million, an engagement rate of 1.01% alongside a total 24,536,769 million number of likes. All these amazing numbers fetched him the rank of a ‘Trendsetter’ on SocialCred; the highest by any Big Brother Naija housemate ever.
2. Natacha Akide: Tacha was well on her way to winning ‘Big Brother Naija Pepper Dem’ when Big Brother disqualified her for causing physical harm to another housemate. However, before her disqualification, she had built a cult-like following of ‘Titans’. They have kept her trending every day since she first stepped into Big Brother’s house in 2019.
SocialCred ranks her as an ‘A-Lister’, the second-highest by any other BBNaija alumni on Twitter. She currently has 681,570 followers on Twitter, an original tweet vs retweet ratio of 28:9, an engagement rate of 0.42%, and her tweets receive an average 38% positive response, 46% neutral, and a 14% negative response.
On Instagram, Tacha has a following of 1,472,127 million, an engagement rate of 7.44% alongside a total 9,891,363 million number of likes. Socialcred ranks her a ‘Trendsetter’ on the picture and video sharing app.
3. Mike Edwards: Before the house, Mike had already created a name for himself as a professional high jump athlete and the owner of Britain’s first black-owned Cigar line, ‘Aireyys’. He, however, became famous after his time on the 2019 edition of the show.
Since he appeared on Big Brother, he has continued to grow his influence and currently has 359,878 followers on Twitter. The social media ranking app, Social Cred ranks him as a ‘Big Shot’. He has an original tweet vs retweet ratio of 2:3, an engagement rate of 0.42%, and his tweets receive an average 48% positive response, 42% neutral, and a 10% negative response.
On Instagram, Mike’s page littered with perfect fashion shots, workout videos, and glimpses into his private life has given him 1,419,509 followers. Social Cred ranks him as ‘Trendsetter’, and he has an engagement rate of 2.68%, alongside a total of 12,924,885 million likes.
4. Tobi Bakre: He rose to fame after he finished as a finalist on Big Brother Naija ‘Double Wahala’ in 2018. The 25-year-old who worked as an investment banker before the show has left the banking industry behind. Since the show, he has become an actor, appearing in several blockbusters, a published photographer, model, host and one of the biggest brand influencers in Nigeria.
He receives great support from his fans, many of whom he won over from his days on the show and through his appearance in different movies. As of today, Tobi Bakre has gathered 361,753 followers on Twitter. Social Cred ranks him as ‘Big Shot’ on the microblogging app. He has an original tweet vs retweet ratio of 17:5, an engagement rate of 0.11%, and his tweets receive an average 77% positive response, 23% neutral, and a 0% negative response.
On Instagram, Tobi has mastered the art of sharing photos that give you an instant ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO). He currently has a following of 1,939,776 users. He has an engagement rate of 1.39% alongside a total of 23,819,958 million likes. Social Cred also rates him as a ‘Trendsetter’ on this app.
5. Nina Chinonso Onyenubi: The former housemate became popular after appearing on ‘BBNaija Double Wahala’. She currently has 145,226 followers, an original tweet vs retweet ratio of 31:3, an engagement rate of 0.52%, and her tweets receive an average 46% positive response, 40% neutral, and a 14% negative response. SocialCred ranks her as a ‘Big Shot’ on Twitter.
On Instagram, Nina has gathered 2,037,296 million followers. She is among an elite set of Big Brother Naija alumni ranked as ‘Trendsetter’ on Instagram. She has an engagement rate of 2.14% alongside a total of 11,002,762 million likes.
Chief Executive Officer of ID Africa, Femi Falodun, explains why BBNaija can create stars that wield such influence. He says, ‘Reality TV, more than anything else, offers participants public recognition and top of mind awareness. All a BBNaija housemate needs to do is back up that powerful media exposure with actual talent and value offering for their fans – especially in media, pop culture and entertainment. If a former BBNaija housemate is able to immediately leverage their personal areas of strength, they usually become unstoppable. We witnessed this with Ebuka, Uti, Tobi Bakre, Bisola and others.’
These five former Big Brother Naija housemates have cemented their place as the most influential alumni of the show with their regular social media antics, constant visibility in the media and the immense sway they have on their respective ‘fandoms’.