Viral officer of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Shem Obafaiye whose interview with Channels TV in 2013 brought about the popular phrase ‘My Oga at the top,’ said he patented the slogan after it went viral.
He said this during a recent interview on Channels TV’s morning program Sunrise Daily where he recounted his experience when his interview on the same station went viral for the wrong reasons 10 years ago.
Origin of ‘oga at the top’ slogan
In 2014, during a Channels TV‘s morning program Sunrise Daily, Obafaiye, then the Lagos State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps was interviewed on the need to know the correct website of the corps to avoid misleading job seekers. His response would later attract nationwide attention, leading to a popular phrase that is now used in daily conversations in pidgin English.
On the interview, Obafaiye was asked, “What is the website of the NSCDC?” And he responded, “I cannot categorically tell you one now.” He was asked again, “Do you mean that NSCDC has multiple websites?” He responded, “We can’t have multiple websites but I cannot tell you one now, and my Oga at the top say is another one and the one we are going to make use of will be made known by my Oga at the top.” Many Nigerians considered his response inappropriate and it went viral.
The phrase became very popular and is often used in pidgin English to designate anyone with higher authority in Nigeria till date.
On Tuesday, December 19, 2023, ten years after the interview that went viral, Obafaiye Shem made a return to Channels TV’s morning program, Sunrise Daily, but this time, in mufti.
According to Obafaiye, he appeared on the program in mufti because he had retired from active duty. He also disclosed that his wife patented the “My Oga at the Top” slogan with Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry, and added that he would demand for money from anyone who used it without an permission from him.
He admitted that he had psychological traumas when the interview went viral. He also admitted that many years after, he watches and laughs over the 2013 interview.
Shem Obafaiye Promoted
The week before the return interview, Obafaiye was promoted and decorated as Deputy Commandant-General of the NSCDC. This promotion came after he had retired.
When asked why he was promoted after retirement, he attributed it to the will of God.