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My Oga At The Top: Birth of a Meme

I’m sure you saw the title of this article and started laughing. Or at least, chuckled a little. One thing is sure, you recognized the phrase; everybody around us recognizes the phrase. How did it start?

Channels TV interviewed the Lagos State Commandant of the National Security and Civil Defense Corp, Obafaiye Shem on their breakfast show, Sunrise Daily. There, he made a claim that the website opened by impostors to defraud unsuspecting job seekers would be automatically closed.  Upon being asked what the website of his own organization was, this top government official faltered and spluttered and could not ‘categorically say’. When he eventually did say, he invented his own- “ww.nscdc.”


How Slangs Are Born

This video had Nigerian twitter on the floor, and soon went viral. Amassing over 120,00 views on Youtube, the phrase “my oga at the top” became a popular slang, in a matter of minutes.

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Other hashtags were created, like #ThatIsAll, #dazorl, #TheDotComIsSilient, and so on. When I asked my sister where the plantain was, she replied me with “I cannot categorically say.” Thanks to social media and its wide outreach, we will not be forgetting these slangs anytime soon.

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The Power of Social Media

“My Oga at The Top” trended on twitter for hours, which meant the joke could not just stop at the video alone. Memes were spawned, captions were created. The funnier the meme, the more likely it was to migrate from twitter to becoming a BBM, a facebook or a whatsapp display picture. There, more people caught on to it, and the joke kept spreading. Soon, companies started using memes as a means to create advertisements, and when even that was received favourably, tee- shirts with “My Oga at the Top” were made available to the public. Speaking of which, if you see any of those tees, can I just say that my birthday is coming up soon?

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What not to say on National TV

Apparently, aside from the usual ‘don’t use swear words’ and ‘ don’t commit a grammatical blunder’, it seems ‘please remember your organization’s website’ should join the dos and don’ts of what to say if you ever get a chance to be on National Television. Apparently, there are some disgruntled people, suggesting that the hosts of the show should be assigned some blame as well for not being ‘professional’ and carrying on with their insistence when they could see that their guest was experiencing some discomfort at the question.

To those people, I ask, what would become of you if your ‘Oga at the top’ found out you did not know your company’s website?

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