The Lagos Commandant of the NSCDC (Nigerian Security Civil Defence Corps) has just been suspended after sparking off the most famous (infamous if you like) internet meme in the history of social media in Nigeria. His one minute of utter hilarity and unimaginable show of lack of knowledge of his organisation’s web address has elevated the #MyOgaAtTheTop meme to legendary status. While HR specialists and self styled opinion leaders debate if the gaffe deserves a sanction or not, advert gurus, marketing execs and social media experts marvel at how well funded social media campaigns fail to fly, while a comedic, obviously out of his depth, near prehistoric guy manages to start a sub-culture, replete with music videos, t-shirts and comic skits. And, most importantly, garner over a million YouTube views in less than a week. For the uninitiated, YouTube views is the new Gallup poll.
Barack Obama, once famously said that, “Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions,” and that is how I see the #MyOgaAtTheTop episode. Do the ‘Ogas,’ the leaders, the bosses allow their subordinates freedom to work? Do they delegate authority and responsibility? Do they stifle creativity and flexibility? These are underlying issues which may have been playing just below the surface as “Di Commandant” as this blogger has tagged him grappled with ‘to say or not to say.’ I know many people have gone into an office only to be told, “Oga is not in and nothing can be done.” This culture of strong and powerful leaders whose persona weakens the system is a major problem in our society. As we watch thevideo and share it, let us give a second to this thought.
Internet memes are usually short lived. However the comical nature of the #MyOgaAtTheTop is obviously driving this one on. Laughter is good medicine and the #MyOgaAtTheTop has provided real undiluted humour, sparked a merchandising campaign, but most importantly showed that the Nigerian social media space has become powerful in agenda-setting. It is now fertile ground for social media campaigners, marketers, advertisers, governments and politicians.
I think i want one of those T-shirts.