Obafaiye Shem, a former Lagos State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, is a member of the Nigerian Civil Defense Corps. In an exclusive interview with Channels Television on March 16, 2013, he coined the phrase “My Oga at the top.”
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) officer Shem Obafaiye, who gained notoriety for his catchphrase “my Oga at the top,” has been elevated to the position of deputy commandant general.
Two days after Mr. Obafaiye and two other cops were promoted, the picture of him being awarded by Interior Minister Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo went viral on Friday.
“As the chairman of the Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire and Immigration Services Board (CDCFIB), the minister, @BTOofficial, decorated the three new deputy commandants general of the @official_NSCDC today,” the Ministry of Interior tweeted on Wednesday, attaching photos of Mr. Obafaiye and two other officers.
When Mr. Obafaiye said, “My oga at the top,” during an interview with Channels TV more than ten years ago, he shot to fame.
Mr. Obafaiye responded, “Hmmm, the website is, excuse me, my Oga at the top knows the website,” when asked about the NSCDC website. “My Oga at the top is working on the website, and I don’t have them,” he stated after clearing his throat once again.
After going viral, the line became well-known as a catchphrase on Nigerian social media.
Obafaiye Shem My Oga At The Top Background
Shem was born in Northern Nigeria’s Katsina State. He joined the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps in 1984 after graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Lagos. The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps appointed him to the rank of Assistant Commandant General in 2011.
My Oga at the top
My oga at the top with the hilarious embarrassment of NSCDC obafaiye shem annotations
In Nigerian Pidgin, the word “Oga” signifies “senior or boss.” You can use the expression “My Oga at the top” to honor someone who holds a position of power.
For instance, the right response to the inquiry “When will you pay my debt?” would be “My Oga at the top has not paid my salary.”
The expression is widely used in public and government offices in Nigeria. It gained popularity after Obafaiye Shem, the Lagos State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, was interviewed on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily morning show. She was asked about the importance of knowing the correct website of the corp to prevent job seekers from being duped. “What is the website of the NSCDC?” the questioner asked. In response, he said, “I cannot tell you one categorically right now.”
“Do you mean that NSCDC has multiple websites?”
was the question posed to him once more. He replied, “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.” His remark was deemed unacceptable by Nigerians, and it went viral.
Ten years after the widely shared interview, on Tuesday, December 19, 2023, Obafaiye Shem returned to Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily morning show, but this time, she wore a mufti. He responded to questions about why he was wearing a mufti by saying that he was retired at the time. During the interview, he revealed, among other things, that his wife had filed a patent for the “My Oga at the Top” comment with Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industry. He also threatened to sue anyone who utilized the comment without his express consent.
In the follow-up interview, he acknowledged that he was unaware of the NSCDC website during the initial interview. Despite criticism from various quarters, including those who expressed embarrassment and called for his dismissal, his former supervisor maintained that he was still among his best commandants. He also said that he still watches and finds humor in the 2013 interview years later. A week before the follow-up interview, he received a promotion and decoration to the rank of Deputy Commandant-General in the NSCDC.