THE first time you met Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, he was like Jon Snow. You could say he knew nothing about show business. But did that stop him from being relaxed and having the time of his life on TV in front of the entire African continent? Heck, no.
This was in 2006. And Ebuka’s Westeros was the Big Brother Nigeria house. Ebuka was charismatic, brimming with fun energy, and, of course, charming. Many viewers easily assumed the prize money was for him to lose.
But that was before Biggie threw a spanner in the works. Big Brother unleashed Katung Aduwak on the housemates 21 days into the competition and everything went to hell—well, that’s a story for another day.
Back to Ebuka. He was great, and his personality stood out. And spoiler alert: Ebuka didn’t win that edition of BBNaija.
That was 13 years ago and, as you know, the dude is still here, more famous than the winner of that contest and Ebuka has been hosting BBNaija itself for three seasons now.
If you think about it, you’re likely to conclude that Ebuka and Big Brother Naija are a match made in TV heaven. And I’ll absolutely agree with you. The thing, though, is that I’ve figured out the secret to Ebuka’s success with BBNaija.
Let’s break it down:
He embodies the original idea of BBN
Big Brother Nigeria has consistently rewarded authenticity. The trick is always how the players parlay that authenticity into riveting TV. Ebuka, even though he didn’t win the game, was judged to be authentic. Plus, nothing justifies the existence of BBN than ex-housemates, even those who didn’t win, becoming stars on the back of the reality show.
He has the looks TV needs
Ebuka once told TONTRENDS that his first choice of work was as a radio presenter. That would have been a waste of face, wouldn’t it? Thanks to Big Brother, though, he found his mojo on TV and that first appearance has birthed more TV gigs. From Friend or Foe on and the Glo Show on NTA to The Spot and Men’s Corner on Ebony Life as well as Rubbin’ Minds on Channels, he’s been a permanent fixture on the small screen.
Ebuka takes chances
Now, we must talk about that time Ebuka broke the internet with one picture of him in that agbada. The funny thing was, before him, others had tried on that style of agbada he wore to Banky W’s wedding but on those people, the concept just didn’t take.
He plays the crowd the way a virtuoso would
If you go on Google right now, there’s Ebuka with answers to frequently googled questions about him. In one he says, “I speak English fluently, Igbo fluently, pidgin English, and sarcasm.” Ebuka has been a popular Big Brother Naija presenter, not because of what he says per se, but how he says what he says.
He’s a dream Nigerian youth
Ebuka, 37, is quite well educated. He studied that course your parents wanted you to study aside medicine: LAW. A graduate of the University of Abuja and the Nigerian Law School, he also holds a master’s degree from the American University Washington College of Law. He’s successful. He’s scandal-free and, obviously, he gets paid to do what he loves to do. Anyone who gets a chance to live in the House would want the exact same thing, so it makes sense that they also get the chance to have Ebuka to look up to.