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Banky Wellington: The Other Winner of Big Brother Naija

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Now that the furor around the show has finally subsided a bit, it’s time to take a look at who most people don’t realize is low-key the other/real winner of Big Brother Naija. A lot has been said on and offline, about the housemates and the way they played the game. In my opinion, the show is, among many things, one big social experiment on human behavior – it reveals who we are, and I’m not just talking about the contestants. Viewers themselves get so engrossed in the sheer spectacle of it all, and the drama between fans online (twitter, blogs, etc) actually rivals what is going on inside the house. People end up hurling so many insults at each other, all in the name of supporting one contestant over another, that it is reminiscent of the tumultuous Nigerian political terrain during election season.  

This year’s winner, Miracle, walked away with a prize package worth a whooping N45 million – but that amount pales in comparison to the insane revenue generated by the machinery of the show – with sponsorships from Pay Porte, Heritage Bank, MiniMee, Pepsi, and Dano Milk, among others. The exact sponsorship figures are never released, but it’s safe to assume that the Organizers of the show were swimming in profits even before they ever shot scene 1 on Day 1. And then there’s the “small” matter of the profits generated by fan voting – a significant number of the 170 million total votes recorded came from SMS votes; exactly how many, we’ll never know, but it’s clear to everyone that this reality TV show is a money making machine. So while we are all squabbling back and forth, the Organizers are the real winners here, smiling to the bank at the end of every season. 

With that being said, most people don’t realize that outside of the Organizers, and the contestant who emerges victorious, there is yet ANOTHER winner from the reality show every season, and he goes by the name of Ebuka Obi-Uchendu. Ebuka actually got his start in Entertainment from the very same platform – he was a contestant on the very first season of the show in 2006. It’s worth noting that although he garnered a decent number of fans in his time as a contestant, he was by no means a favorite. He didn’t win. He didn’t come 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th. Ebuka finished in 8th place. 8th!!! I don’t even remember who came in 8th this year, and I suspect neither would most people. 

Somehow, Ebuka has parlayed his brief stint on the show into major superstardom; I daresay he is probably, at this point, the most successful and most relevant Big Brother Naija contestant, ever. It’s ironic that as a contestant he didn’t even crack the top 5, and yet here he is – a brilliant example of how to play the cards you’re dealt. What most reality TV contestants don’t realize, is that winning or losing on such a platform, means very little in the long run. The truth is that winning the prize money, is kind of like winning the lottery – problem being, 70% of lottery winners end up going broke and filing for bankruptcy. And that’s just the winners. Most of the contestants on the show are so focused on winning, that they don’t realize that you can win in the game and lose in life. 

Not Ebuka. Mr. Obi Uchendu has become so successful in multiple areas that it’s getting hard to keep track of his accomplishments. He’s the definition of dreaming big but starting small – immediately after his brief stint as a BBNaija contestant, he started his career with a little known TV show on NTA called “Friend or Foe”. One suspects that most contestants today would see that as beneath them, but Ebuka went there to learn from scratch. He went on to become a certified lawyer, having graduated from the Nigerian Law School in Abuja, as well as earning a Masters of Law from the American University in Washington DC. He also became an accomplished writer that has been published regularly in Newspapers such as ThisDay. He’s received and won numerous awards, including the award for Outstanding TV Presenter of the year at the Nigerian Broadcasters Merit awards for his stellar work on “Rubbin’ Minds”, a weekly show on Channels TV that showcases Ebuka as one of the most astute, intellectually sound, and charismatic Presenters of our time. He does an impressive job anchoring the “Men’s Corner” show on EbonyLife, the same way he did on “The Spot”. As an On-Air Personality, he has no limits and no “comfort zone” – he’s just as comfortable talking to Presidential candidates as he is discussing sports, celebrity lifestyle, fashion and everything in between. 

And let’s take a minute to discuss Fashion. At this point, I believe it’s fair to say that Ebuka is unarguably the best dressed Man in Nigeria, and possibly Africa. When you think of TV show hosts, even the extremely accomplished ones like American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest… you never really notice their style. They tend to blend in to the show and become a part of the fabric; Ebuka, on the other hand, doesn’t blend in, and doesn’t just stand out… he SHINES. He has completely shattered the TV presenter mould; viewers look forward to the weekly Sunday Eviction shows to see who was getting kicked out, but ALSO just to see what Ebuka wore. He turned Sunday nights into his very own personal fashion show. His outfits trended online as much as the contestants did. In a business where stylists have to beg, plead, sweet talk and cajole designers into lending their clothes for use in productions, Ebuka turned the table upside down. Designers are instead the ones scrambling to get him to wear their pieces. This is because he has a singular transformative immediate and long lasting impact on their market. Case in point: Circa “#BAAD2017”, Designer Ugo Monye had less than 4k followers, and was reportedly charging an at-best modest amount for a very innovative take on the “Agbada”; he had infact displayed that style of Agbada for over 6 months, with very little fanfare or success. And then Ebuka wore it. What happened next is astonishing: the designer’s followers got up to 30k in the first 24 hours, and now sits north of 75,000. The same could be said about his revenue. That Agbada style was sold for N50,000 prior to Ebuka wearing it. And now? The very same Agbada will require you to shell out $1,000 USD. I call that “The Ebuka Effect”.

The power of Ebuka’s brand has never been stronger, and it’s evident in how Corporate Nigeria is lining up to partner with him. Recently, Ebuka (now under EME management) inked a major endorsement deal with a global beverage giant, alongside Adesua Etomi-Wellington. In addition, he’s the new brand Ambassador for Pork Money (a company that caters to the Pig Farming Business), as well as the real estate company Mannor Gates. He also works as an influencer for Samsung Mobile, and Budweiser beer. And that’s just the beginning, as he’s also in talks to float a virtual clothing store with a major Nigerian Online retailer, alongside multiple other business ventures and deals-in-the-works. As at the time of this article, he has almost a million followers on Instagram, and over 500k on twitter – I’m almost certain that is significantly higher than almost every other contestant in the history of the BBNaija show in Nigeria. 

Ebuka’s story is a golden lesson in playing the cards you’re dealt, to maximize your potential and platform. He’s showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon, and we’re all excited to see where he will end up. The wide spectrum of options that are available to him is staggering and impressive, and we are all here for it. You could just as easily envision him as the Editor of GQ Magazine in Africa as you could envision him in political office. For the majority of Big Brother Naija Contestants, the show represents the peak of their stardom and relevance. Ebuka has shown that it really should only be the beginning. A great man once said “it isn’t so much about winning and losing, but how you play the game”. Well, no-one in the history of reality television in Africa, has played the game as well as Ebuka Obi-Uchendu. 

49 Comments

  1. lami

    June 20, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    Impressive write up. True, ebuka is the real winner

  2. Dr.N

    June 20, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    All I saw was “now under EME management”
    Lemme go off a bit
    If you want your friends to support your hustle do your best to give them reason to support. No need to call people bad belle when they are just too polite to tell you that your product or service is sub par. This gen is quick to tag haters for those who actually love them.

    Congrats to you Banky and Ebuka.
    Long may the dollars roll in???

  3. DK

    June 20, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    I’ve never doubted Banky’s writing skills. This was well-written.
    Great PR strategy though ??

  4. AIL

    June 20, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    Nice write up, selling the EME management team is KEY.
    Thanks to Segun Demuren for the platform.
    Real friends help each other grow.

  5. Neki moyo

    June 20, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Apparently,this is a paradoxically true. Many winners of both bba and bbn don’t seems to maximize the platform.ebuka knew there is a life after the house and saw the opportunity that the platform gives though!!!!!

  6. Mimi Banks

    June 20, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    How come the co-founder of EME is writing a lengthy post filled with accolades about one of his employees? then, typed A.E.W in bold print? I thought this was about Ebuka?
    The long post is rather biased because it is coming from Banky. He is the CEO. What do you expect,will he speak evil of his employee? PR Gimmick!!!
    Next time, hire a PR agency to do this. It gives a neutral, objective view.
    Lastly, strike when the iron is hot., I mean, one or two weeks after the show not over SIX WEEKS after the show.

    • Elle

      June 21, 2018 at 7:31 am

      There will always be people like Mimi Banks aka find fault with everything. There is no pleasing them.

    • Mimi Banks

      July 3, 2018 at 3:11 pm

      Elle, People like me do not find faults, we review things and make them better. I am glad you read my comment and I will advise you to read it again to see that there were no insults hurled at anyone. I am in the business of making constructive criticisms and I do not apologize for what I do. So you can either read my comment and move on or reply on my comment and get bashed. Pick one. Besides, Its my opinion and I am entitled to it. Thank you.

    • mie

      June 22, 2018 at 9:18 pm

      @Mimi Banks
      Employee? Ebuka isn’t an employee, he is one of EME’s clients (As was clearly written in the article “now under the management of…”) so Banky manages him now and as such, this PR is expected. I think it is very obvious that Banky didn’t write this as a friend.

      Bold/no bold: Maybe ask BellaNaija about font styles please. But if that sole, single, one, unitary (abeg, borrow me word) mention of Adesua in this epistle about Ebuka got you upset, ah… I don’t know again.

      Odikwa no gimmick my sistah: I don’t think this was a “PR gimmick”. This was/is PR. Simple. No gimmicks, no dillydally, no dancing around the truth. Banky manages Ebuka now and I see this as a PR strategy, by articulating and highlighting all E has achieved, mentioning brands et al so that more brands (perhaps some still considering to go or not to go for E) can quickly approach them (EME) for endorsement deals amd so on. In short, the article was/is marketing Ebuka. And that is Banky’s job now so no need for tricks.

      As I read it, I thought “hmmm we might be seeing Adesua’s own soon” (I suspect you wouldn’t want to read that one Mimi)…

    • Mimi Banks

      July 3, 2018 at 2:57 pm

      I think you misunderstood my opinion. Everyone knows Banky and Ebuka are friends and this comes as a friend endorsing another. While its not a bad thing, this article would have been more OBJECTIVE coming from a PR agency!!! Everything Banky said is true and I do not refute his claims!!! Let me clearly state here that I admire the Can-do attitude of both Men and I am not a hater of anyone. It was an article and I reviewed it. So however you feel about my opinion is none of my business. ARTICLES/ WRITE-UPS ARE MEANT TO BE REVIEWED!!!

  7. Olivia Ruth

    June 20, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    Proof read guys! This is not you know what blog

    Paragraph 5 – I think you intended for the first word to be “Now” not “Not”

    • Ms2rat

      June 20, 2018 at 9:53 pm

      Please try and read it again it’s correct:

      Most of the contestants on the show are so focused on winning, that they don’t realize that you can win in the game and lose in life.

      Not Ebuka. Mr. Obi Uchendu has become so successful in multiple areas that it’s getting hard to keep track of his accomplishments.

    • Lamide

      June 20, 2018 at 11:21 pm

      Nope, you should reread.

    • @OscarLante

      June 21, 2018 at 3:54 pm

      Proof read Olivia! This is not you know what comment section. I think you ought to write:
      …. “Now” rather than “Not”

      #notNot – Tautology

      #NoPunIntended 🙂

  8. mywifeisfiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine

    June 20, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    I will not forget in a hurry the idiots who on this platform, called Ebuka all sorts of names; social climber, hustling like a poor man and all the other nasty stuff he was called, because he dared to want to marry the daughter of a rich man. The most disappointing of it all is that all the vitriol came from women and women only. Now i want you all to tell me again, what the crime is; in a man wanting to be successful and wanting to move up the ladder in society. God bless your hustle Ebuka,

  9. Prince chioke

    June 20, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    Carefully articulated. Your friendship is enviable. And I wish you the best in your careers. Cheers

  10. Ms B

    June 20, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Beautiful piece

  11. Olajumoke Oluwatosin

    June 20, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    I am all in for this eloquently written article, you can feel how proud Banky is #friendshipgoals.

  12. Vera

    June 20, 2018 at 7:22 pm

    In as much as life and people are not perfect, i have mad love and respect for the friendship that Banky, Ebuka, Captain, Lamide and their entire squad share. Very supportive of each other

  13. Ummi Abdulsalam

    June 20, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    This is unarguably the best and most motivating piece I have read in a while. Thank you Banky W for sharing this article, you don’t what have done(positively). God bless you

  14. Zara

    June 20, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    It’s correct. It’s meant to be “not Ebuka” not “now Ebuka”

  15. Cyndy

    June 20, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    Of course, I always knew he came 8th but guys, there’s a thing with big brother Nigeria, the winner mostly takes the money and temporal popularity but the other contestants who are ready to work, ride on the initial fame and soar…

    Case in study, Efe and now Miracle. Where the heck are they?

  16. Joyce

    June 20, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    I love this written…so cool Nd toughing,one day am going to the house as a friendly housemates Nd be strictly into games?
    Love Banky and Ebuka

  17. Prettydiamond

    June 20, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    Nice write up about the Chife that knows it all. I’m a woman but I pray to reach your height. Ebuka is someone u can look up to, in all is good to have focus. Know what you want in life and go for it.

  18. abundy_xo

    June 20, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    Ebuka!!!!!…..you’re a gem!!!!!!!
    Uncle Banky, only a star celebrates another star…….you both are great examples to us all…….and your writing skills!!!!!…….Man you’ll soon become the best writer?

    • Expensive Trillz

      June 21, 2018 at 12:14 am

      You need God….you think Ebuke and Banky W knew each other even south side knew him as a Musican, infact some of us knew him as wizkid selfish and greedy thought, l read someone said he had Cured Ebuka on the same platform, right
      See, these guys are using us, very soon you get to hear, they had beef and again,hey start making money, let be Honest, which of you think Banky W is the wisest man in the planet……these words are word probably said to Wakanda……….they were using Viberanium, you should have seen your face in the cineman, when you saw a black man say, if l die throw me In the waters, because my ancestors knew death was better than Bondage, do you see the stricting resemblence……After all said,l give God the glory, now by force to go Dubai, you to Yo

  19. Bee

    June 20, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    Nice one Banky. I remember Ebuka before he went on big brother, he was almost always in a club at the weekends dancing away with the collar of his shirts up, I never ever imagined that he was so intelligent and vast in knowledge till I saw him on tv taking politics and I was like wow! My fanship Lol now increased. Always been a fan!

  20. Mrs Appeal

    June 20, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    Interesting and encouraging! I mean look, we can’t even remember who the winner of the first big Brother Nigeria/Naija was but Ebuka who wasn’t first, second or even third has done better for himself. This isn’t just about Big brother Naija and the contestants, it applies to us too…

  21. Mrs chidukane

    June 20, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    Very inspiring. Always grinding. Nice one.

  22. Mrs chidukane

    June 20, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    Very inspiring. Always grinding. Nice one. I’m surprised someone is griping about this being a PR piece. Wasn’t it obvious immediately you saw that the article was by Banky?

  23. Roselyn

    June 20, 2018 at 11:34 pm

    Write a book Banky. I will buy??

  24. Queen Osinachi

    June 21, 2018 at 12:04 am

    Ebuka is a good example to aspiring determined men out there, hard work pays for real and he keeps pursuing what he believed on. He is a man but he is my role model. I will like to come for bbnaija next season. God bless you bro, you have made your generation proud

  25. Amanda

    June 21, 2018 at 3:07 am

    WOW!!!!!! I love u and ur entire squad Banky. This was well written!!!!

  26. Collins

    June 21, 2018 at 4:40 am

    I love you guys a lot Banky and Ebuka! Keep moving on guys.

  27. Soaak Seth

    June 21, 2018 at 4:48 am

    Too impressive an article. Thank you Banky for sharing light on so many upercieved glory of Ebuka. This so inspiring and nudging

  28. Henry bless

    June 21, 2018 at 5:08 am

    Well i love you and i love your writing, to me i would like to go to the big brother house

  29. Sommy

    June 21, 2018 at 7:10 am

    Woow!!! This is a lovely write up sir banky W.. God bless you real good for this.

  30. Ygoast

    June 21, 2018 at 7:38 am

    No, sir. I disagree. Please read the previous paragraph before that… He spoke of other contestants’ assumption and beliefs. He, however, started the next paragraph by telling us that is ‘Not Ebuka’.

    Thank you.

  31. James Bassey Fynch

    June 21, 2018 at 7:52 am

    Fantastic piece Banky. Thumbs up to you and Ebuka

  32. Dorathy Odey

    June 21, 2018 at 8:39 am

    I never new Banky was this intelligent I have been His fan from the beginning my love for him grow stronger when he married my favorite actress Adesua.And now I love him more. I agree with everything he said about Ebuka I was so much in love with Ebuka,s dressing that I insisted my husband should start dressing like him.I even made his agbada for my two sons. Truly he is the real winner of BBnaija

  33. Monique

    June 21, 2018 at 9:09 am

    Friend encouraging friend. I envy your friendship. Go on guys. May God continue to bless your hustle.

  34. Daniella

    June 21, 2018 at 10:47 am

    I just love Ebuka and you too Banky. I don’t like reading stuff but I had to read this cause it was about Ebuka. I never knew all these phenomenal things about him. It’s good you have a friend like banky that can acknowledge your accomplishments. Greater heights x

  35. SK

    June 21, 2018 at 10:55 am

    Thumbs up Guys, Biggest Motivation ????

  36. Anne Bolokor

    June 21, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Wow. Accolades for Banky W. Well-done Ebuka.

  37. Zeeze

    June 21, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    We can like to state the obvious. PR gimmick or not, is everything he wrote not true? Some us really need to learn how to just enjoy a good article. A comment is not always necessary.

    • Mimi Banks

      July 3, 2018 at 3:03 pm

      Zeeze, my friend!!!. While people like you enjoy good articles. People like me read between the lines. Now that we both know our strengths, lets not insult people. As you said, a comment is not always necessary!!!

  38. Boniface Mba Samuel

    June 21, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    This is a sterling presentation; a write up with a touch of excellence.

    When purpose is known, abuse is evitable!

    Success shines on all who prepare and work for it. It beams like a million stars.

    Congratulations @Ebuka Obi Uchendu.

    You’re the man with the ability to forecast and foresee amidst fanfare.

  39. Olori Coco

    June 21, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Wow!!!

    Beautiful and inspiring. We need more of this. Friends encouraging and not hating. We have so much going on in the world.

    Well done Banky, Ebuka and EME!!!

  40. jpmayor01

    June 26, 2018 at 8:19 am

    That’s the major problem, because in the process of winning so many people do things that when they sit them down to analyze, they will definitely deny. So, sincerely is is not how far but how well.

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