Let’s throw it back a little to the most watched Nigerian sitcom ever – Papa Ajasco and Family.
For many years the epic WAP-produced sitcom previously known, as “Papa Ajasco and Family”, and later “Papa Ajasco and Company”, kept Nigerians thoroughly entertained.
The “Papa Ajasco and Company” story is built around the Ajasco family’s comic interpretations to dominant societal issues, and you could hardly tell which character was funnier.
According to a 2015 survey, Papa Ajasco was the viewers’ favorite character. He is a promiscuous, bald-headed man with an interesting dress sense – shirt and tie over a wrapper bottom, presumably because of his outrageously large belly. He would often shout “Ojigbijigbi!” when overwhelmed or excited.
The next on the list of most loved characters were Boy Alinko and Pa James. Boy Alinko is hopelessly vain and self-obsessed. He walks in a signature two step forward, one step backward movement, and considers himself the ladies’ man. Pa James is a dull-witted old man.
Other characters are the hyper-materialistic Miss Pepeye, Alinko’s longtime crush, Mama Ajasco, Papa Ajasco’s wife, and Bobo Ajasco their son, who wears a signature face cap with a long pointed brim, and the first letter of his name “A” printed on it.
Nigeria’s first ever blockbuster
The 30 minute TV show, which debuted in 1996, was a spinoff of Wale Adenuga’s 1984 celluloid movie, “Papa Ajasco”. It was Nigeria’s first ever blockbuster, grossing approximately 61,000 naira in 3 days. (Which was big money at the time, considering that 1 dollar was equal to 765 Kobo in 1984!). Both movie and sitcom were inspired by the characters in the onetime bestselling Nigerian comic “Ikebe Super” published also by Wale Adenuga.
“Papa Ajasco and Family” was shown on about 20 Nigerian TV stations, and also in over 11 other African countries including Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Guinea, and Uganda.
A number of new actors were introduced to the cast when new episodes were released in 2013, they included Femi Brainard, Niyi Johnson, and Henrietta Kosoko. In the 2017 episodes, Frank Donga, Ese Eriata, Jide Awobona, Eniola Badmus, Eric Obinna, Mama Kwube and Chief Olododo also made appearances.
“Papa Ajasco and Company” will go down in history as Nigeria’s most-watched homegrown sitcom!
Featured image source: Wale Adenuga Productions Ltd