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Baiting unmarried ladies, gentlemen in Ultimate Love

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It was Jane Austen, who in the opening lines of her book, Pride and Prejudice, affirmed that “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

The book went on to explore the various dynamics of dating and marriage in the Victorian period and the pressure that comes with it from family and society at large.

Today, every young man of marriageable age in Nigeria that is still unmarried must be used to the clamour from friends and family for him to hurry up to fulfil one of his purposes on earth. This is the same for a young lady who is approaching 25. The rising unemployment rate in the country has further compounded the delay for many. No woman wants to marry a jobless man and no jobless man dares to add more loads to the already-sinking ship of his pockets.

Apart from the caustic financial side, many young people delay getting married due to what they refer to as the lack of ‘husband or wife material’. Weddings are expensive too, no doubt, but the process of finding the right person to do the wedding with could also be greatly tasking.

Surprisingly, a new show by MultiChoice Nigeria called Ultimate Love is targeted at this group of young Nigerian males and females who are single and searching and willing to get married. The show has something to offer them. In the show, a total of 16 individuals will be guided in their journey to finding lasting love. But the most eye-catching thing about the show is its promise of a dream home and a lavish traditional marriage for the couple that emerge tops in the reality show.

By this, the reality show may be solving a number of headache of marriageable youngsters with one deft stroke.

The truth, most times, is that many Nigerians of marriageable age are scared of the costs that come with organising a traditional marriage, that’s why even the ones with a steady job are still unmarried.

Traditional marriages of many tribes are usually highly colourful, festive and greatly revered. The Igbo women light up this traditional rite with flamboyant elegance, marked by radiating George wrappers, headgears and coral beads. The Hausa traditional marriage is no less considered expensive, as it has been known that the wedding can span five to seven days, with all the accoutrement that makes for an exquisite wedding. The Yoruba marriage ceremony continues to define the culture of a wedding with its supply of local names such as owambe and mogbomoya.

Weddings in Nigeria are not just the joining together of strangers who have come to know each other, but the welding of families. As a result, it comes with a lot of foods, drinks and clothes.

The show, Ultimate Love, is, however, promising to cover all these by throwing a lavish traditional wedding for the couple that wins the contest.

But that is not all. The winners will also be given a dream home. This solves another anxiety of many unmarried people. Whenever some young Nigerians are asked why they are still unmarried, they usually hint at trying to prepare for the future. This includes securing a home for the family. Ultimate Love has also promised to present other prizes alongside the lavish traditional wedding and the dream home.

Considered Nigeria’s first dating reality show, the organisers of Ultimate Love have stated that the show is also aimed at showcasing the beautiful culture of Nigeria.

Speaking further Wangi Mba- Uzoukwu said, “Our contestants are going to be spread across the country, bringing in the different experiences, their different cultures and the ultimate prize is a lavish traditional wedding. I’m hammering on culture, because the show will be centred around marriage, culture and how it drives our economy.”

The show, which is expected to begin in February 2020, will be aired all day on all DStv and select GOtv packages for eight weeks. The organisers have also said that there will be a counsellor on the show fondly called ‘Auntie’ to assist the couple with the dating process and this counsellor will be accessible to the contestants unlike the other show, BBNaija, where the Biggie is a disembodied guide.

Also, the show differs from the BBNaija in that it is geared towards singles that are willing to get married after finding the right person on the show. It is not just about the cash prizes this time around, because marriage is the ultimate prize here. But just like BBNaija, the winners of the show will be decided by the votes of viewers all over the country. It is also going to be a proudly Nigerian show, as it will be filmed in the country. I want to join the rest of Nigerians to see how one can find and maintain love in a few weeks. This will be an interesting prospect for an unmarried man like me.

Dike writes from Lagos


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