By Moses Nosike
Dickson Aligbe, CEO, Empire Entertainment is one of the few Nigerians in abroad who is concerned about the millions of talented Nigerian youths waiting for a little push to unleash their potentials. Having spent about 23 years in the US, he understands the social, political and economic benefits to a country when youths are empowered. As a well meaning Nigerian, he decided to take a step towards engaging Nigerian youths to help harness their career, build a strong brands, and by extension create jobs. Unlike others in diaspora, he did not quench that passion for the luxury lifestyle in the US at the detriment of youths in his father land. Dickson Aligbe, notwithstanding distance, cost implications came down to Nigeria to take action. He concieved it, he acted it, hence the birth of Empire Entertainment. Excerpts:
Empire House on Wheels Reality TV Show…
Today you guys have witnessed our show – Reality Show, called, Empire House on Wheels Reality TV Show. We started the show with 25 contestant but today we have 17 left because we did couple of eviction. And that is where we are today.
What do you intend to achieve with this Reality Show?
There is a lot of reality shows around the world. I live in the US and I watch a lot of reality shows. Shows are about how you trick things around, there is nothing too much out of the world that you have not seen before. So it is not like we are doing something that had never been done before. For instance, in Nigeria,Big Brother is one of the standards people have here with star big. But in our own case, we brought a vehicle which you saw outside, a tall RV bus and we tried to change our own way of doing our own show; not just having the contestants in the house but we have to use the tall bus to take them outside for most of the assignment.
The show is about business, all in one. Most of the reality shows are about man and women, but this one we want it to be more of business, lifestyle, public relation. Teach them how to relate and invest. Because it is one thing to win a show and and thing to invest the money. Most time most people win and they don’t know what to do with the money. Our own is to educate them on how to use the money so that you will not win today and be broke tomorrow.
For this show we have given them a good cash prize we think is good for a start, and a good car which I brought from the US. So we want to make sure that they don’t win and at end nothing comes out it. That is why we are doing more of what we are doing now. You can see the people that are in there – they are seasoned people, they understand exactly what the show is all about; how to tell them what to do and how to better their lives and take their career to the next level. That is just what the show is all about. Not them winning or bringing boys and girls to stay in house, love and all that. This is more of life, what they are going to face as young people. So we are here to prepare them to face the reality of life.
Do you intend to continue the show?
From what we are looking at, this is season I and so far, all the contestants are talking about the good of the show when you were interviewing them. So we intend to make it a yearly programme. There will be Season 2 and Season 3 depending how things will go. We depend on God to decide the rest. However, our plan is to make it a yearly show.
What are the prizes for winners?
So far, we are giving out car worth of N5m and N5m cash for the star winner. The second runner up will go home with N3m while the third winner will go home with N2m. That is the cash prize for the three winners.
Considering challenges in our environment, what did it take you to put up this of show?
Like I said, I live in the US and I have lived there for about 23 years. I know how things work more perfect, but I’m a Nigerian first before anything. I understand how it works here too. There are a lot of challenges but that does not stop us from bring things to our own country. I know there are highly disappointing things I have seen but I can’t be discouraged because this is my country, this is my people. So if I cannot help my country and find a way to better it, where will I go and help. This is my first home and America is my second home. I know there are challenges but we will find a way to make it work for our people.
What distinguishes House on Wheels Reality Show from other reality shows in town?
Like I said earlier, here we have Big Brothers and different reality shows, but most of the time they are bringing people in one house and luck them there for the show. But what we did in our own case was to change the game a little by using our tall bus brought from America to take them out for different assignments. We are not only putting them in the house, we are doing both indoor and outdoor. So that changes our game a little better. We took them to different companies, we teach them different things. Is not just in the house locking them up.
Based in the US, what is your impression about Nigerian entertainment and that of US?
You can’t use US to compare Nigeria, the difference is too clear. But the good thing is that we are trying. Nigerians are very tough people. For the way things are, you can see our contestants, you would even believe that with the kind of condition here, sometime no light, no road and etc. but people still survive it. To answer your question, it is really different. There things work and you have so much to work with unlike here, we are still third world nation. But Nigerians are really trying, I will give it to them. Each time I came to Nigeria, I’m proud to be a Nigerian because no matter what happens we don’t give up and I know by God’s grace things will work one day. It could be difficult but we will all get there one day.
What were the criteria for selecting contestants?
What we did was to ask them to register and thereafter we asked them to vote. And not only voting, we look at the video, we check their class – how you carry yourself and the way you change things around you. We looked at those quality and we believed that those ones chose were qualified, and with their voting too, which is number one thing. Other ones are just to add to it. The strength of their voting was the major thing and their family member because we want to encourage them to get their own followers because what they are trying to do is to be popular, to build their brand. It is all about building brand. You can see that most of them have their career. This is a platform for them to build their brand. So we are creating that platform for them. We have three TV stations; Wazobia TV and Max, we have NTA 2. That is a big platforms for them to showcase themselves. Other print media are here to interview them, this is part of showcasing and trying to promote their career.
On a final note, what is your advice to the winners and losers?
Don’t give up if you lose, life continues. If you win, don’t burn the little cash you got. Work with it, seek professional advice. Sometimes it is easy when you get the money you forget how you got here. Listen to people that will advice you better. Some people use one N1m to become billionaire, because you can’t build this far and bring yourself down because of bad advice or you don’t want to listen to professionals and do what is right and take it to the next level. And if they don’t win let them know at least they gain something from here. And most them as they are saying, the experience is good. We try to bring the best of the best. So even if you don’t win, you take out something away from here. Nobody is a loser here, even if you don’t win cash, you gained something very important.
How long will they be in the house?
It’s for four weeks. Tomorrow is the grand finale, and we are planning to crown winners in Oriental Hotel. Truly they are all happy because we tried to create something different. We have cook that cooks for them morning, afternoon and night. We employed dry cleaner to wash their clothes. We made sure they are treated as VIP which they are because the show is called, Empire VIP House on Wheels. For you to create a VIP you have to start somewhere, showing them what VIP is all about, and they were grateful about it.