WATCH BBC'S 'NEW KINGS OF NIGERIA' (VIDEO)

Thursday, June 3, 2010




I received an email 2 weeks before the airing of The 'New Kings of Nigeria' informing me that the program was set to air. Here is part of the email I received,

It’s the story of the great grandson of King Jaja of Opobo.

Jaja was a nineteenth century slave who rose up to become a legendary King, before being kidnapped by the British.

140 years later, Jaja’s western-educated great grandson Walter, heir to the throne, returns to Lagos – and becomes the voice of ‘Big Brother Nigeria’.

The New Kings of Nigeria sees Walter transformed in his understanding of what it means to be a King. He comes to the realisation that “being a King is not something you are born into. It is something you do, make happen”. He increasingly identifies with the spirit of the swelling numbers of Nigerians he sees hustling on the street, trying to make it.

Given your interest in cinema, cultural subjects and diverse readership we’d be delighted if you’d consider writing an article about the film. Your site has linked to 'Welcome To Lagos' and we feel that our film shares the same viewpoints. The New Kings of Nigera [sic] documentary shows the country in a positive light, highlighting the technologically developing aspects of the country. We feel it would be of great interest your readers. There is also the possibility of interviewing the main character, Walter.

I informed the producers that I could not review the documentary until I had seen it. Now, you and I can watch it and offer an opinion. So, what do you think? Do you think the description above squares with the footage you just saw? What similarities do you see to the 'Welcome To Lagos' documentary of some weeks ago?

Hattip to @Ehi_remen and @OluSimeon for all their help in getting this video to me. Much appreciated.


From the Archives:
- 'Welcome To Lagos' Part 1
- 'Welcome To Lagos' Part 2
- 'Welcome To Lagos' Part 3

13 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

ijebuman said...

I saw the documentary when it aired on BBC 4 on monday night. What a complete waste of time..I won't even compare this trash to 'Welcome to Lagos', this looks like an ego trip for some deluded individual who had some friends in the BBC..

ade said...

@ijebuman whilst I agree that the program was obsessed with Walter (who may not be an ideal representation of a Nigerian) I think there were some interesting comments/ observations throughout the documentary. I thought Walter's point about how the West expects the elite to be constantly moved about poverty in Africa when they are not moved by poverty in their own country was interesting. I also thought the program was a better reflection of the range of life in Lagos. It is not the BBC's job to make a PR film about Lagos or Nigeria, it is their job to be fair and engaging in their programming and this was both.

ijebuman said...

@Ade
Please enlighten me as to the point of this documentary when Walter had no clue about his so called ancestor Jaja and had to search for information on Google but apparently knew "more about Henry VIII than Nigeria"

"It is not the BBC's job to make a PR film about Lagos or Nigeria" neither is it their job to deliberately misinform viewers.

The title - 'The New Kings of Nigeria' was misleading, it should have been called "Spoilt brat who couldn't hold down a job in London returns to Nigeria and uses his great great grandfather's name and British accent to try and get by in Lagos"

Anonymous said...

It shouldn't really have anything do do with showing us in one light or the other. How about just showing us for who and what we truly are both our good, bad and ugly sides in all it's glory. I also feel it's about time or rather it's long overdue for us to begin to tell our own stories (good, bad and ugly) for the world to see. You dig?!!

Anengiyefa said...

Seeing some of the previous comments, I cannot understand why anyone would be angry about this documentary! Sadly, there is a propensity for Nigerians to express negativity where other Nigerians are concerned and a tendency to attack the character of individuals, who in reality we do not know in person. Negative responses to Chimamanda Adichie's "Single Stiry" TED talk come to mind, where countless negative comments were made by other Nigerians.

As Anonymous 12:11PM rightly said, its about time we started telling our own stories. The only thing I'm unhappy about is that we didn't do this until the BBC came and stole it from us..

sokari said...

@Anengiyefa - I never read any negative comments about the Single Story talk - personally I thought it was brilliant - I also felt very positive about Welcome to Lagos - but this was depressingly awful - rubbish.

@SS reposted on BL with further comments. Thanks for putting this together.

Ginger said...

Errrr, why ever did they think this was a documentary anybody wanted to see? He sounds as patronizing as his British patrons...like he was a foreigner visitng and givennhis views. No taking of ownership of his citizenship or nigerianship. Pls..next.
on a funny note - His accent isnt exactly consistent is it?

Ginger said...

How about we have a documentary of a week in the life of some students in a University...follow them thru their classes, Hostels, Home, nightlife. Or some working class average Joe. People living normally; Nigeria's unsung middle class. I rarely see that. Not in Nollywood, not in the news. maybe bloggers. Wouldnt that be a better foil to "This is Lagos"?

Anonymous said...

wow!...Nigerians are so negative it is frightening!!!...there is always a ready made attack for an individual who even tries to represent Nigeria in good or bad light! I for one enjoyed the documentary.....i loved the fact the dude went back home after years in England...@ Ijebuman you are a very bitter fellow and i doubt if anything good is happening in your life at the moment...you don't know this guy yet you attack his very character?! what in the interview suggested that he was spoilt or couldn't hold down a job in London?.. SMH.Anyways on a better tip, i like the fact he could identify with his fellow Nigerians after being Abroad for years....all in all i think the moral of the doc is that you can make something of your life irregardless of your beginning...

Reptyle said...

Can't see the link to the video...

Obi-talker said...

I don't understand what is wrong with this documentary, at first I was like here we go again, what is BBC's latest fascination with Lagos. My options were 'maybe its the world cup so a lot of 'profiling-like' films on Africa will happen'. Fore mostly the people who compared 'New kings...' to 'Welcome to Lagos', know nothing about television or documentaries. Both films couldn't be so different. 'Welcome to Lagos' was a classic attempt to portray Lagos, and dare I say Nigeria as a land of abject poverty with hustlers in every corner. 'New kings' was to show the potential and growing money making culture of the younger generation in Nigeria's media and entertainment sphere, hence the reference to The Apprentice Africa, koko mansion, Big Brother Nigeria, Dbanj, Dr sid, Obi Asika, and apperances of the likes of Sauce kid, cohbams, Naeto C etc. These are the new faces of Nigeria's thriving entertainment and media sector. It can not be compared to how 'welcome to Lagos' tried to portray 'Slender' as a budding musician when clearly the young man had no talent. Though we must admire his resilience and by no doubt made him an interesting character to follow.

my two cents...

Anonymous said...

starts off quite promisingly but the documentary gets boring after a few minutes... Can't be compared in any way to "Welcome to Lagos" for me, that was way more enlightening and engaging. However, it's obvious BBC has a knack for sensationalism. "Welcome to Lagos" for instance was an over-generalization as they only projected some parts of Lagos. Again, these guys couldn't possibly be the new kings of NIGERIA, I don't even know where to begin to critique that(it is flawed on so many levels) Granted, they are making a difference in the entertainment sector,but just because a title sounds neat(the king in his title being tied to his great grand father being a king[which he mentions a gazillion times!]) doesn't make it representative of work it titles.

also, I don't understand how people thought that "Welcome to Lagos" was projecting Nigeria in a bad light... There are slums in every city, but that series of docs was able to show the average Nigeria's determination, ingenious, honesty, and dedication to family and others even in the face of conditions others would consider intolerable.

ME, who did you think it is? said...

well, i thought the man Walter is an inspiring to Nigerians in diaspora who want to come back and do something positive but instead of an hr long, i think it should have been 30 mins or more detailed on his soul searching. I don't see no ego trip or all the other negative things people are saying.
I would have been disappointed if Nigerians did not leave negative comments, we are consistent in that aspect.
Most of the stereotypes pointed out about Nigerians such as materialism, and money first attitude are very true, but we are proud and won't admit it. BUT IT IS TRUE. Instead of denial, let's celebrate that. We are money hungry, egotistical, judgemental and self loving hustlers. AND I LOVE BEING A NIGERIAN. It's a phase and it will pass, trust me.

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