My Oga at the top

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The word Oga is a Nigerian Pidgin gotten from the Igbo word ogaranya which means "influencial senior or boss." (However oganigwe is also use to describe the influencial one in heaven) The phrase My Oga at the top may be used to show respect to someone in a position of authority.[1]

For example, in a question like this: "When will you pay my debt?", an appropriate reply would be: "My Oga at the top has not paid my salary."[2]

The phrase is common in Nigeria, used in public and government offices, and became very popular when Channels TV's morning program Sunrise Daily interviewed Obafaiye Shem, the Lagos State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps on the need to know the correct website of the corp to avoid misleading job seekers.[3][4][5] He 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." Nigerians considered his response inappropriate and it went viral.[6][7]

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. When asked why he was in mufti, he told the interviewers he was then retired. Among many things during the interview, he also disclosed that his wife patented the "My Oga at the Top" comment 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 express permission from him.

He admitted in the return interview that he didn't know the website of the NSCDC at the time of the first interview, and that, although there was backlash from several quarters, with some expressing embarrasment and seeking his removal, his then boss said he remained one of the best commandants he had. He also admitted that many years after, he watches and laughs over the 2013 interview.[8] Meanwhile, the week before the return interview, he was promoted and decorated as Deputy Commandant-General of the NSCDC[9][10][11]


  1. ^ "How the phrase "My Oga At The Top" came about [Pictures + Videos]". Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Michael Irene: "My Oga at the Top" Syndrome". DailyPost Nigeria. 16 March 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  3. ^ "A Nigerian Story Of My Oga At The Top By Prince Charles Dickson". Sahara Reporters. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  4. ^ "Civil Defence suspends Lagos State Commandant over "My Oga at the top" comment". DailyPost Nigeria. 16 March 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  5. ^ "'My Oga at the top' interview, professional – Channels TV". The Punch - Nigeria's Most Widely Read Newspaper. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  6. ^ Simeon Christian Chukwu. "Before We Pardon My Oga At The Top". TheNigerianVoice. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  7. ^ "My OGA at the top goes viral". The Punch - Nigeria's Most Widely Read Newspaper. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  8. ^ Sunrise Daily Highlights Memories of 2013 (Oga At The Top) Prt. 9, retrieved 2023-12-19
  9. ^ News, Leadership (2023-12-16). "NSCDC Officer Famous For 'Oga At The Top' Comment Promoted To Deputy Commandant-General". Retrieved 2023-12-19. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  10. ^ DailyTimesNGR (2023-12-16). "NSCDC: 'My Oga at the Top' officer promoted to DCG". DAILY TIMES Nigeria. Retrieved 2023-12-19.
  11. ^ Oluwasanjo, Ahmed (2023-12-15). "'My Oga at the top,' Shem Obafaiye, becomes NSCDC's deputy commandant general". Peoples Gazette. Retrieved 2023-12-19.