‘Pepper Dem’ Gang: Inside The Spicy Big Brother Naija



In its fourth season, the steamy hot reality show, Big Brother Naija, has chosen a street lingo, ‘Pepper Dem’, that implies a mix of different flavours. Not surprisingly, the series has brought together the mature, the temperamental; the athlete, the video vixen,
the police officer, the lawyer; and believe it or not, the part-time male stripper.
Vanessa Obioha brings you a taste of the different spices that colour the housemates

Bigger and hotter! Those were the words of the Chief Executive Officer of MultiChoice Nigeria, John Ugbe at the premiere of the fourth season of the reality show, Big Brother Naija. Since the announcement in January, fans have gone agog with excitement, particularly with the news that the show would be held in Nigeria for the first time since its premiere in 2006. True to its word, a new Big Brother Naija House was built from scratch in Lagos, delicately designed to exude the beauty and splendor that characterize the famous house. More importantly, the interior décor of the house showcased a beautiful blend of arts, adventure, and culture which were prominent in the artworks that patterned the colourful walls. Some of the features of the house were retained with a few tweaks. For instance, there is still the garden, the jacuzzi, where all the steamy actions take place, and of course, the coveted Head of House title that comes with certain privileges. For this season, the winner gets a tastefully designed master suite for the period of his or her reign.

Bringing the show back home also required the organizers to throw all in the ring. Cutting edge technology, tight security measures were deployed to ensure a smooth and safe season.
However, what really got the public buzzing was its theme. In its fourth season, the show picked a street lingo, ‘Pepper Dem’, a phrase which offers different meanings depending on the context.

But it suggests a mix of spicy flavours. Since its return in 2017, the Big Brother Naija reality TV show has sustained a play on street lingos. The second edition was themed ‘See Gobbe’, a colloquial term that quickly brings to mind the popular song by Davido ‘Gobe’ and as well implies trouble.

Last year, the organizers played on ‘Double Wahala’, a slang for double drama or trouble, and which provenance can be traced to the 1990’s hit song ‘Confusion Break Bone’ by the Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. And it was indeed double entertainment for viewers as they witnessed housemates get evicted in pairs. That edition proved challenging for contestants as they kept their guard up so that their partners would not get them kicked out of the house.

‘Pepper Dem’ generally hints at a show of flamboyance targeted to cower an opponent. Of course, the eclectic mix of spicy flavours from selected housemates certainly would concretize the idea behind this theme as they roll out strategies to win the hearts of millions of Nigerians who will be viewing locally and in the diaspora.

Not surprisingly, the series has brought together the mature and the temperamental; an athlete, a video vixen, a police officer, a lawyer; and believe it or not, a part-time male stripper! At the premiere show on Sunday, the diverse housemates graced the stage, dripping in sauce. So far, the contestants are yet to show their true flavour. The coming weeks will certainly bring in all the drama and spice. However, one of the housemates will likely be evicted at today’s show. Who will be the unlucky one?

The Police Officer Khafi
Not a few were alarmed when Khafi Khareem during the show’s launch revealed that she was a police officer in London. It is not the first time that Nigerians in the diaspora have contested in the reality show, but it is unlikely to find a police officer in the house. Born to immigrant African parents, Khafi in an interview earlier this year said she was inspired to join the London Police Force to inspire women to pursue their dreams. The Ekiti state indigene also hopes to be the first female winner of the reality show. So far, she has been described by viewers as a very nice lady but some doubt if her geniality will be sustained in the coming weeks. For now, let’s enjoy her sweet, chili sauce.

The Athlete Mike
Mike has an accent, and he is not apologetic about it. He is also married and is staying clear of the women in the house. But they got their eyes on him, so do the viewers who are anxious to see if he will keep or break the marital code like the 2017 housemate, Anthony Effiong popularly known as Thin Tall Tony. Already, he confessed to Big Brother during a diary session that he felt a connection with one of the contestants in the house, Kimoprah. Though he claimed the chemistry is similar to siblings relationship, who knows what direction the relationship will take.

Most times, The 28-year-old often keeps to himself unless there is a discussion about relationships. He was quick to advise another housemate Jackye on how not to condone cheating from her man. During the live show, the British and Nigerian high jumper said he just wants to give people a good show but was clear that he has zero tolerance for petty talks, the perfect Aleppo pepper. Mike is also a CEO, owner of UK’s first Black-owned cigar line. Though he was banned from representing Nigeria at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Mike will probably be heading to the Olympics next year whether he takes home the grand prize worth N60 million or not.

The Musician Avala
Blessed with good looks and tenor, 30-year-old Avala is in the game for the money and she is not shy about it. The single mother from Ogun state is usually in a cheerful mien, regaling her housemates with her childbirth experience. Sometimes, the imagery is gory and Avala does not know when to stop. Nevertheless, getting hooked is not in her books. We hope she keeps it that way!

The Funny Model Omashola
The 38-year-old model promised to entertain viewers and so far, he has been doing a great job of it, staying true to his Warri roots, Omashola converses mainly in pidgin language, adding the popular wafi flavour for more amusement. One of his trending videos on social media is his diary session with Big Brother where he revealed his discomfort with some of the housemates who speak with accents. He didn’t mince words when he told Biggie that he is indeed worthy of the coveted crown of Big Brother Naija winner. And maybe he is on his way there as his video seemed to have increased his fanbase, though some suspect he is copying the ‘Warri’ strategy of the 2017 winner of the reality show, Efe Ejeba.

The Chef Diane
You may be forgiven if your first impression about Diane was a cool-headed young lady. The young lady showed her fiery side when she got into a heated argument with fellow housemate Ella over kitchen duties on Friday. Not one to be bullied easily, she stomped her foot on the ground and refused to be silenced by Ella’s insistence that the kitchen must be kept clean. She will certainly make a good Tabasco sauce. The model and aspiring chef is also a graduate of the University of Debrecen in Hungary.

Complicated Corporate Frodd
With just a few days spent in the Big Brother Naija House, viewers are getting to see how complicated Chiemeka Okoye who goes by the moniker Frodd (a play on the words ‘Fresh and odd’) is. One moment he is crying to his housemates as he narrates his ordeal in clinching a spot in the show, the next minute, he surprises them with a romantic kiss with another housemate, Isilomo. The gesture so far has not gone beyond the kiss. Is he probably giving Isilomo a reason to stick with him just for the game? Before you could blink, he is blaming Avala for the team’s loss in the Friday Arena games. How oddly misleading can the corporate guy from Anambra state be? As misleading as black peppercorns?

Jungle Girl Ella
For one who almost doesn’t like wearing clothes, Ella is not feeling the Big Brother Naija House as she is forced to cover up most times for fear of catching a cold. Describing herself as a jungle girl, the 30-year-old Anambra state indigene openly said that she is single but unavailable. Ella, however, seems to be having more contenders in the house. Tacha confided in Big Brother that she doesn’t really like her and follow the confrontation between her and Diane on Friday, is she gaining more foes in the house?

Overconfident Model Ike
With his accent, Ike was very confident that he would attract the female contestants and eventually, win the grand prize. But having spent a few days in the house, he realized that he may not be the hottest guy in the house. A native of Anambra state, Ike, who is also a model confessed to Mercy, his love interest in the house at the moment that he is facing stiff competition in the house. He is also scared of forming cliques because he prefers to be a one-man squad. However, he doesn’t mind been attached to Mercy. You can call him a smooth operator.

The Two-Faced HR Manager Isilomo
The HR manager from Edo state was one of the trending topics on social media on Monday after she appeared without her wig. She appeared totally different and masculine in her cropped hair. But that is not all that got fans of the show speculating about her personality. After sharing a romantic kiss with Frodd whom she bonded with from the onset, fans were shocked when she revealed to Big Brother that she found the young lad irritating. She said she found him a bit immature and talkative. In another session, she disclosed that she found Omashola attractive. For one who claimed she hates people who talk from both sides of their mouth, Isilomo is doing a terrible job at practising what she preaches. Will she ever show us her true flavor?

The Social Media Sensation, Tacha
Fans of the social media sensation Tacha were expecting a lot of spice and drama from the housemate but the Rivers State young lady has mostly stayed in her cocoon. Prior to her feature in the show, Tacha garnered a significant following on her social media channels through her sexy dance videos. She is yet to whet the appetites of viewers. However, her altercation with Isilomob over food portions was recorded as the first in this season. Her cool attitude has got fans wondering what game she has on her sleeves or is she just biding time?

The Software Engineer Jackye
Jackye came into the house with one mission, to have an amazing experience. But she was clear on her relationship status. Already in a relationship, the first few days saw Jackye talking about her relationship and portraying herself as a faithful lover. Things, however, took a different turn for the 23-year-old software engineer on Friday night when Jeff confesses his love for her. Will we see Jackye breaking her own rules?

Beauty Queen KimOprah
Beauty queen, KimOprah is among the housemates trending on social media. In her own case, her fake accent is getting her attention. She describes herself as a manipulator and is not a big fan of Isilomo. Nonetheless, she is a sight for sore eyes. Her fans are hoping that her good looks will keep her in the house for a long time. She is also a TV presenter.

The Video Vixen Mercy
From her grand entrance at the launch to the house, Mercy, the sexy video vixen has proven that she is the real Habanero pepper. She’s been dishing all manner of spice and drama since the show began. Open-minded and friendly, she is the first to jump into the jacuzzi and twerk for the guys in her sexy bikini. At first, she was cozy with Gedoni but all the while had her eyes set on Ike. Will the two finally be an item in the show?

The Banker Sir Dee
He left his banking job without notifying his employer and he has no intention of returning to the suit and tie job if he wins the Big Brother Naija competition. The Kogi state indigene so far is just chilling in the house

The Part-time Stripper, Tuoyo
Big Brother Naija is known for its diverse mix of personalities but the audience was not expecting a part-time male stripper to be in the combo. Strippers are mostly seen as a job reserved for women in a society like ours. Tuoyo who hails from Delta state is not shy to reveal that his side-hustle is in the sex business. Surprisingly, his fame on social media is not related to his stripper job, rather the psychotherapist and fitness trainer is viral for his bald head which fans have described as very shiny. We hope the shine keeps him in the game!

Mr. Universe, Nelson
Tall and handsome, Nelson from Rivers State is a pageant boy. He is confident that his good looks will make him a favorite in the show. Moreso, with his magic hands, he is confident that he will find love in the house.

Obafemi Awolowo’s Grandson, Seyi
If the late first premier of the Western Region in Nigeria, Obafemi Awolowo were to be alive today, would he have supported his grandson to be a contestant in the reality game show? Seyi caused quite a buzz when he revealed his identity. No one was expecting that the son of a politician would be in the game but as he disclosed to host Ebuka Obi-Uchendu during the live launch show, he is just there for the experience. An entrepreneur and a brand, Seyi is having quite an experience in the house. He has already become a meme for being talkative. Time will tell how long his loquacity will keep him in the house.

26-year-old Thelma from Imo state promised to be real. She has not been doing a great job at that. She hates pretence. But she’s been pretending to have an accent since she came into the house. She has been pilloried on social media for her fake accent. Quite outspoken, she sometimes mixes her spoken English with Igbo, a flair that amuses fans on social media. Notwithstanding, Thelma is a hot spice on her own. She bares her mind and if it leads to a confrontation, she doesn’t run away. What may however not work for her is her fake accent, unless she loses it.

The Lawyer and Part-time hustler, Esther
At the live launch show, Esther a lawyer from Lagos state promised fire and thunder. Viewers are yet to see that side of her. Born Esther Olaoluwa Agunbiade, the 22-year-old Lagos-based lawyer was called to the bar at age 21.

The Fashion Designer Gedoni
The 31-year-old fashion designer from Cross River state is one of the good-looking guys in the house, but things have not been that rosy for him. During a bonding session with other housemates, he narrated how he lost all his savings to the popular Ponzi scheme, Mavrodi Mundial Moneybox (MMM). He fell into depression and at a time slept under the staircase of a friend. A beacon of hope came his way when a church employed him. Winning the Big Brother Naija will be a great turnaround for him.

The Cool Banker Jeff
His cool demeanor makes him harmless. It wasn’t surprising that the majority of the housemates voted for him to be the first Head of House this season. However, some of his female housemates did not see the banker as a fair player after he relegated them in one of the tasks. Despite that, Jeff was a hot topic on Twitter Friday midnight as he was spotted revealing his feelings to Jackye who was reading her Bible in bed. His choice of lines ‘You are pressing my chest’ went viral for a while as viewers hoped for a steamy encounter between the two. Will he be able to melt Jackye’s resolve to stay loyal to her man?