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After spending N3.5 billion in 13 years, MTN Suspends sponsoring of ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’

Not a few Nigerians, especially the teeming followers of the most popular television family quiz programme, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? were shocked when the host, Frank Edoho, announced that the show would be temporarily rested because the sponsor, MTN Nigeria had pulled out.
What has kept bothering the mind is how the management of MTN came to the conclusion that a highly successful programme that has richly helped the brand to the extent that many Nigerians do not even know the difference between its producer and the sponsors could be dropped suddenly. In terms of its value, there are few programmes on television that can match WWTBAM. All over the globe, it has been hailed as a quintessential mind builder, and in Nigeria, in addition to over N1 Billion the Show has given out, it has won all kinds of awards for its educational, intellectual, technical, and moral quality. Follow them a little more closely, and see for yourself the careful nature of the questions, deliberately made so to edify the minds of the adults and the young. Not to talk about its annual editions tagged Who Deserves To Be A Millionaire? which enriches the impoverished, empowers the downtrodden and celebrates our icons.

WWTBAM started showing every week on national TV stations in 2004, when it was first aired on October 8.
Contestants from all over Nigeria have graced the show. Although, the contestants tend to be more of male than female, people from different ethnic groups, religious backgrounds, various professions and ages from 18 years to 71 years (except for specials where there are younger contestants below 18 years) have participated.
WWTBAM has a variety of specials which includes: Valentine Special; where a couple gets to play for N10 million together, Children’s Special (which started off as the Parent/Children Special) where the child gets to play in the hot-seat for N10 million worth of scholarship. Who Deserves To Be A Millionaire? where celebrities play on behalf of someone or group of people who have contributed in their own way to the positive image of the nation either as athlete, veteran actors, charity homes and the like.
Apart from the hot seat being the major attraction, there are other exciting platforms for various cash prizes or just for fun:
Millionaire Home Quiz formerly Home Play, where 15 people win N20,000 weekly, one person wins N200,000 weekly and one person bags N1 million for the month. There is also the audience play where 20 people from the studio audience win N20,000 each.
The online game was introduced in 2008. Although there are no more cash prizes to be won, the game allowed you to enjoy the hot seat experience from the comfort of your PC, as well as giving you a chance to get an express entry as a contestant for the show without having to dial 132. There are three lifelines available at the beginning of the game in order to aid contestants:
50/50: The computer eliminates two random wrong options, leaving the right option and the other remaining wrong option.
Phone a Friend: The contestant calls one of their five prearranged friends, who provided their phone numbers in advance. The contestant has 30 seconds to read the question and four possible options to the friend, who then has the remaining time to offer input.
Ask the Audience: The audience use touch pads to designate what they believe the correct option to be. The percentage of the audience choosing each specific option is displayed to the contestant.

The original franchise owner was Celador in the UK. Later, Two Way traffic took over before Sony finally bought the franchise. But the Nigerian version was bought by Femi Ayeni led Ultima Studio Limited.

The recording of WWTBAM started at Murhi International, Ogba located on plot 45, Omole Industrial Layout, Isheri Junction, Ogba, Ikeja (Lagos). A mysterious fire destroyed the multimillion naira studio on 22, August, 2010, leaving Ultima no option than to relocate to another place.
The show was temporarily relocated to a studio on Bamako street Ogba, Ikeja before the completion of the multimillion naira edifice located on Funke Zainab Usman street, Lekki, the studio that played host to WWTBAM till it was rested on Sunday, June 25, 2017.

Frank Edoho, the handsome host of WWTBAM from inception would continually bless the day he signed to host the show. ENCOMIUM Weekly gathered WWTBAM catapulted the talented host to the league of millionaires through the show. We learnt he earned a million naira monthly while the going was good.
Sources who know the stylish host attested to the fact that he earned a robust pay while on the payroll of MTN sponsors of WWTBAM.

MTN, sponsors of WWTBAM spent a fortune to keep the show running for a period of 13 years. At least, the expenses would run to billions as N1.2 billion has been lavished on winners of the show since its inception. The host has received a N156 million as salary. Payment for other staffers on their payroll is estimated at N1 billion, while miscellaneous spending is said to be about a billion naira. In all, a total of about N3.5 billion would have gone into staging the show in 13 years.

Workers on the payroll of MTN might be the biggest losers as the largesse coming from that end might have come to an end, some might even be out of job as the result of the sponsor pulling out. Not neglecting the fact that MTN and Ultima Studio would also share in the losses.

Frank Edoho, host of WWTBAM might have made his millions from the show, he has other things to fall back on as WWTBAM has been put on hold.
He is a renowned voice-over artist and has voiced TV ads and Radio jingles for companies like Intercontinental Bank Plc, Munchies, Coscharis Motors (authorised sole dealer of BMW), Elizade Toyota, Zinox Computers, Novena Majesty Furniture, Castilla Furniture, Vogue Fruit Juice, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Unilever Nig. Plc (Close-up Toothpaste), First City Monument Bank and others too numerous to mention. Frank also showcased his acting skills in the Basorge Tariah Jnr directed, Warri Connection. Frank Edoho has also built up a reputation as one of the most sought after comperes during his professional career, having been at the helm of numerous press conferences. All these and much more are still available to fall back on.

Winners emerged every week on WWTBAM in all categories. Most of the winners invested their money in real estate while some spent it in furthering their education. In the history of the show, Aroma Ufodike who won N10 million has been the highest, while some others won N5 million.
Here is a list of some of the highest prize winners in different categories on the show.

Who Deserves To Be A Millionaire?
1. Pa Michael Akinkunmi – N2m
2. Pa Kasumu Yero‎ – N2m
3. Madam Sheila Solarin – N2m
4. Madam Jane Okwaraji-N2m

B. Who Deserves To Be An Achiever? (Children Special)
1. Miss Teniola Tope-Ojo – N2m
2. Master Daniel Emeka Ilozor – N2m

C. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
1. Aroma Ufodike – N10m
2. Ubaekwena Nnaemeka – N5m
3. Karieren Winifred – N5m
4. Olalomo Adeleye – N5m
5. Babatunde Oni – N5m

D. Who Deserves To Be Surprised?
1. Miss Omotola Akinsanya – N50m




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