My Oga At The Top Opinions Part 1
In 1983, there was this guy called Sabo Barkin Zuwo, he was the Governor of Kano State. Once he was asked by journalists to name the minerals that were present in his state, Barkin Zuwo quickly responded in his sharp Hausa accent ‘Haba!, we have Coca-cola, panta, 7up, in pact we get am for felenty felenty minerals.’ (Pardon my parody), unfortunately the question posed at the man was to name the MINERAL RESOURCES (which is sometimes simply referred to as ‘minerals’) and not to name the types of soft drinks that were in Kano State. The entire country was in shock and in disbelief over Zuwo’s comical blooper and soon it became the bandy joke among Nigerians, mostly the youths.
Well, last week Zuwo was immortalized in a sense, 30 years after his famous blunder but this time it took a modern and sophisticated twist in a manner that even the late Barkin Zuwo must have been thrown into a fit of laughter in his grave.
A certain gentleman by the name of Obafaiye Shem was at the Channels Television in Lagos on the Sunrise Daily show to clear the air on the alleged employment racketeering within the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). Because he was the Lagos State Commandant of the NSCDC, nobody, I mean nobody else could have done this job better (or so we thought); I imagine what his dear wife (poor woman) must have said to him while serving his breakfast that morning, “Honey, you know I trust you, go there and finish dem.”
So our man was in the building that fateful day, neatly dressed in his starched, sombre corps uniform, and even had his ID card (which he probably doesn’t use all the time) clipped to his breast pocket while his black beret sat firmly on his head. You could easily tell he’d been looking forward to this day, I meeaan! Who doesn’t want to appear on TV? So He’s in this cosy studio, right in front of three corporately dressed interviewers who in course of the interview ask him to tell them the address of the NSCDC website. Things have never remained the same in Nigeria ever since that question, “WHAT IS THE WEBSITE OF THE NSCDC?” was asked. Let’s hear from the Horse’s mouth guys:
ANCHOR 1: What is the website of the NSCDC?
COMMANDANT: the website of NSCDC….yes, we (he chatters inaudibly)……the….I cannot categorically tell you one now because the one that we’re….
ANCHOR 1: (interrupts) do you have multiple websites???
COMMANDANT: (Points at anchor 1 angrily) waait! Waait!…The one we are going to make use of, I’m not the one that is going to create it.
ANCHOR 1: …..No you see, the question is, what is your website?
COMMANDANT: (Interrupts) Waaaaaaaait………!!!
ANCHOR 1: Ok
COMMANDANT: (pointing again at anchor 1 with an impish smile) the one that we are going to make use of is going to be made known by my “OGA AT THE TOP” (Points heavenwards)….yes….I can’t…I Can’t announce one now and my Oga says it’s another one that we are going to use…..
ANCHOR 2: (Chips in) Oh! The NSCDC has multiple websites????
COMMANDANT: The something (and what on earth is the meaning of “the something”?) we….we…we…we cannot have multiple websites, but the one that is (*coughs*) that…that my Oga…
ANCHOR1 & 2 INTERRUPT
ANCHOR 2: No, no it’s not the one for employment
ANCHOR 1: What is your website now, the one you use normally, your official website?
ANCHOR 2: ……..the official website if you want to know about the NSCDC, what website do you go to?
COMMANDANT: Ok if you want to know about NSCDC as at now?
ANCHOR 2: Exactly!
COMMANDANT: Ok…..ww. (Dips his forefinger downwards and pauses)nscdc…….yes…..so…(*coughs*) dats all. (At this point he begins to suspect he has just dropped a clanger but he’s not quite sure so he peeps sideways at anchor 1 to get some feedback)
ANCHOR 2: (asks in shock) ww.nscdc???
COMMANDANT: (interrupts to reaffirm his answer) NSCDC, yes
ANCHOR 1: (asks startlingly) that’s it???
And that is how Mr. Shem shot himself into national stardom in just 1 minute, 8 seconds, something that takes other people a life time to achieve. When I watched the video of the interview I thought “Now, it doesn’t get any funnier than this, not even at the Night of a Thousand Laughs.” Truth be told, five days after I got the video, I still laugh uncontrollably whenever I watch it as I keep discovering new things in the video.
First, the man had actually said he couldn’t “categorically tell you one now…”, a dignified way of saying “Look, I have absolutely no idea” but then the Presenters knew that the public needed to know the authentic NSCDC website given the purported existence of other fake sites in the job scam saga, so they decided to prod further; at that point Shem began to deploy some (para) military tactics, dishing out orders at the interviewers like he was on a parade ground, “Waaait”, waaait” he thundered, but the anchor man would have none of that, so he decides to embark on a needless rigmarole of first dissociating himself from the creation of the site and later claiming he was actually refraining from giving his answer as his “Oga at the top” could give a different one. Not even Shem’s frequent coughing (without politely covering his mouth, mind you) could have exempted him from the question on health grounds, “What is the website of the NSCDC?” was the question still. Shem, now visibly disoriented yet refusing to give up honourably finally decides to take the bull by the horn, and reluctantly gives the address as “ww.nscdc” and caps it up with “dats all”, meaning ”any other site apart from this is definitely fake! Take it from me.”
Of course he was wrong. He neither knew his own organization’s web address nor is he even internet compliant. The actual website is www.nscdc.gov.ng. (Quite a mouthful actually, so cut the dude some slack).
Right now the buzz word is #My Oga at the top, different pictures bearing the #MOATT sign are circulating on social media, musicians have already composed #MOATT songs, there is even an #MOATT game and it is only a matter of time before churches will come up with crusade themes like ‘Breakthrough from my Oga at the top’ and ‘My Oga at the top is still alive.’ etc.
But what could have made a supposedly educated man commit that sort of blunder? Maybe he installed an auto complete software on his system which completes any web address that he types and so he doesn’t really notice the end of web addresses; it could also have been that he simply had a bad day (and we all have those days when we forget our names don’t we?) or maybe he actually knew the right answer but didn’t want to reveal it for security reasons (you never know if a Boko Haram terrorist was watching the western TV that day). It could even be that this was all a pre-planned comic show, an arrangement between Channels and NSCDC as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility, you know, something to get Nigerians laughing, and it’s been a while since we laughed (the last time we really laughed was during the days of #my fellow widows and #Umblerra)…I could go on and on and I still would not be able to find a plausible excuse for that show of Shem, sorry shame.
#MOATT has brought to the fore again the alarming rate of illiterate literates who roam our streets daily (and there are millions mocking Mr. Shem today who could have done worse!). It has revealed to us also the kind of minds who are in the position of authority today. Shem may have qualified for his job by way of Federal character and not necessarily intellectual credibility. #MOATT has revealed yet again that in this jet age the public service sector is anti-digital/internet. Procedures are still done manually; eating up man hour and gray matter. 3 in 5 public servants would have done what Shem did if not worse.
Write off the Nigerian youths at your own peril. We know how to unite; only it has to be about something exciting (like ‘My Oga at d Top’ or ‘my fellow widows’ or even Bance), something that can’t fail us, something we can personalize and connect with. We will become practically passionate and patriotic towards this country the day we find something that excites us about it, the day we don’t harbor any trust deficit towards our government or towards tribe and religion. For now though, let’s see where this whole #MOATT revolution takes us.
Meanwhile, there is something very urgent I would love to tell you but I won’t tell you because you see, the something…I can’t…I can’t tell you now and then #MY OGA AT THE TOP says another thing…so…*coughs*…dats all! Lol.
John Offiong [SAVVY]