The first season of the Big Brother Naija reality TV show aired from March 5 to June 4, 2006. It then went off-air for 11 years until it made a comeback in 2017.
Since it first aired as ‘Big Brother Nigeria’ in 2006, there have been six successful seasons of the show. Each season takes on a new theme that speaks to the pop culture of the time in the country, current happenings and the type of characters (housemates) in the house.
Aside from being wildly successful as a show, the MultiChoice Nigeria-owned series has also become one of the surest ways to attain celebrity status. For every year it has aired, it has produced at least two major celebrities in the entertainment industry, some of whom are winners of the show, and others who simply caught the attention of fans.
Here are the winners of the last six seasons and what they have been up to so far
Season 1 (20o6) – Katung Aduwak
The first-ever season of Big Brother Naija was held from March 5 to June 4, 2006, and was called ‘Big Brother Nigeria’. The show was hosted by Michelle Dede and Olisa Adibua and saw Katung Aduwak emerge as the winner.
Katung was 26 years old when he won the debut edition of BBNaija in 2006 and went home with the $100,000 prize money.
His achievements over the years include bagging a doctoral degree from the Digital Film Academy in New York. He is now a filmmaker who produced and directed the movies “Unwanted Guest” and “Heaven’s Hell.” He also directed a number of music videos for Chocolate City, Styl Plus, Gabriel Afolayan and starred in EbonyLife TV’s “Desperate Housewives.”
Season 2 (2017) – Michael Efe Ejeba
The second season of the reality tv show was held over a decade after the first season of Big Brother Nigeria. The show returned entitled “Big Brother Naija” instead of the former “Big Brother Nigeria.” It was themed “See Gobe” and premiered in January 2017 with 22 contestants vying for the N25m grand prize.
Ex-housemate, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, from the first season, hosted the show that saw Efe Ejeba emerge as the winner.
Following his emergence as winner of the show, he moved from Jos to Lagos in order to kick-start his music career, releasing an EP called “Lagos EP.”
He also collaborated with superstar rapper Olamide on the song “Warri.”
The graduate of the Faculty of Economics has released other songs like “Based on logistics” and “I love you.” He continues to pursue his music career to date.
Season 3 (2018) – Miracle Igbokwe
The show returned for its third run on 28 January 2018 and was themed “Double Wahala”.
Ebuka returned as host once again for the 12 weeks that the show aired with 20 housemates who competed for the N25m cash prize.
At the end of the season, Miracle Igbokwe, from Imo State, won the grand prize. He was presented with a brand new Hyundai Tucson SUV, a N25m cheque, home appliances worth N3m and a trip to an exotic location for two to total N45m with of prizes.
He became the Imo state education ambassador and acquired his Private Pilot License.
Season 4 (2019) – Mercy Eke
The fourth season of Big Brother Naija launched on 30 June 2019 and was dubbed “Pepper Dem.” Unlike previous seasons, the show held in Nigeria and aired for 99 days with 26 contestants for the N60m worth of prizes. For this season, Bet9ja Coins were introduced as a new house currency.
Mercy Eke emerged as the winner of the show and became the first female to win the reality TV show. She carted home a total of N60m, including N30m cash, Innoson Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) valued at N25m, a trip to Dubai and other prizes.
The video vixen and entrepreneur, on March 14, 2020, received the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Award for Best Dressed Female. She also bought a house in Lekki, Lagos. She and her love interest during the show, Ike, have gone on to launch their own reality show “Mercy & Ike.” She also launched her own real estate company, Lambe Homes.
Mercy, earlier this year, talked about wanting her old life back due to the responsibilities that come with fame.
Season 5 (2020) Olamilekan “Laycon” Agbeleshe
Fondly called Laycon, the president of the Icons ― as his die-hard fans are called ― was the winner of Big Brother Naija Season 5, also known as Big Brother Naija: Lockdown.
This edition was a peculiar one due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Interested applicants were asked to do a virtual audition to select contestants for the show.
Video submissions were received between May 20 to May 30, 2020, during which interested contestants were asked to do a two-minute video stating why they should appear on the show.
At the end of the online audition, over 30,000 contestants showed their interest, out of which 20 housemates were selected.
Born on November 8, 1993, the reality show star, professionally known as Laycon, is a media personality, rapper, singer and songwriter.
On October 6, 2020, he was made the youth ambassador of Ogun State, Nigeria, in addition to other achievements recorded since winning the reality TV show.
The news of Laycon becoming a Brand Ambassador for GOTV was a huge one for his fans and the celebration was also huge across all social media platforms.
Also, he has launched his own reality television show on Showmax titled ‘I Am Laycon’. The reality show sheds light on his life.
Though Orijin drink company was part of the sponsors of the BBNaija 2020 edition, Laycon never saw an ambassadorial deal coming while he was on the show taking the drink.
OPPO consumer electronics also announced on social media for people to like, comment, and retweet Laycon’s picture if they wanted him to be their ambassador. The engagement on the post got Laycon the deal and he was unveiled in grand style.
Furthermore, Mentos sweet joined the league of companies promoting their brands with Laycon’s image and fan base. He was seen in different videos and pictures promoting Mentos products as an ambassador.
As a son of Ogun State in the South-Western part of Nigeria, Laycon was honoured by his state Governor, Dapo Abiodun, as a Youth Ambassador. He was not just honoured with the appointment, he was also given a sum of N5m and a house.
Laycon is the first BBNaija lockdown housemate to be verified on Twitter.
Season 6 (2021) White Money
Hazel Oyeye Onou, popularly known as Whitemoney, a 29-year-old entrepreneur, emerged winner of the reality show, ‘Shine Ya Eye’ edition with N90m grand prize.
Whitemoney, who is currently basking in the euphoria of the moment, has built a name for himself in the field of entrepreneurship.
When he arrived in Lagos, he went from being an Okada man to becoming an importer and exporter of luxury shoes and lip balms.
Whitemoney earned a living barbing, selling hair products, retouching, and working on telecommunication towers before entering into the importation and exportation of designer shoes, which he now does.
Whitemoney is now an ambassador to GOtv and the Enugu State Government and was hosted by the governor of Enugu State, Lawrence Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, at the banquet hall of the state house.
Whitemoney, who is an illustrious son of the state, was appointed as the ambassador of Enugu State on Creative Arts.
Months after he won the show, he was also appointed an honorary member of the Liberian Senate. An official government vehicle was assigned to him as part of his appointment benefits.
He also bagged a deal with Binance, the world’s leading blockchain ecosystem and cryptocurrency exchange, in collaboration with other housemates, Ikechukwu Sunday Okonkwo (Cross) and Pere Egbi (Pere).
White Money also is an ambassador for the mobile phone brand, Tecno.
In his music career, Whitemoney has released two singles, ‘SELENSE’ and ‘Na We We’. He featured rapper, Zoro, to unlock this Amapiano sound in 2022.
‘Na We We’ is a follow-up to his previous tune, ‘SELENSE’, which was produced by Masterkraft and mixed by Mix Monsta with extra strings provided by Fiokee.
In this single, Whitemoney tells a story of joy and jubilation after overcoming difficulties or conquering various life hurdles.