Compared to a few years ago, there is a noticeable shift in how people achieve fame.
Gone are the days when you had to be a royal figure or a wealthy individual to become famous.
Anyone can become a global sensation overnight with just the right words or actions recorded and uploaded to social media.
This is commonly referred to as a viral moment. While many viral moments are short-lived for the people involved, others become timeless, heavily influencing the global phenomenon known as “Pop Culture.”
Nigeria is no stranger to individuals with these viral moments, as many have found ways to shape the entertainment industry, becoming a reference in films, skits, and songs. They’re popular on social media as a meme or slang.
From political figures to comedians, here is a list of ten Nigerians whose viral moments significantly impacted pop culture.
1. Patience Jonathan
Surprise, Patience Jonathan, Nigeria’s former first lady, tops our list. During her husband Goodluck Jonathan’s tenure, the former first lady became well-known for her grammatical errors during broadcast speeches or interviews.
Among the few amusing statements she made, one that broke the internet was “There is God oh,” which earned her the title of “Youtube’s most-watched Nigerian non-music video” in 2015.
She made the statement in a video that aired on channel television in 2014.
Mrs Jonathan was seen in the video meeting with the principal of GSS, police commissioners, and WAEC officials. Speaking about the kidnapping of the Chibok girls, the former first lady sobbed, “All this blood you people are shedding, there is God o, there is God o, God…o…Chai, there is God o.”
The video quickly went viral after producers added sound effects and released a remix version.
Skit creators also used it in their videos, and comedians frequently used it in their routines.
2. Shem Obafaiye
Before 2013, it was rare to see one out of ten people not wearing a tee-shirt with the words “Oga at the top.”
When asked for the NSCDC website address during an interview with Sunrise in 2013, a Channel’s television program, Mr Obafaiye, who was then the Lagos state commandant of the Nigeria security and defence corps (NSCDC), referred to his “oga at the top.”
The presenters pushed harder to get him to open up, but all he could say was, “ww. nscdc, that’s all.
The interview went viral, as is customary for Nigerian social media users, and everyone jumped on the trend of saying, “Let me ask my Oga at the top” when asked a question.
3. Odunlade Adekola, Mr Ibu
Odunlade Adekola, a famous Yoruba actor, is no stranger to the walls and feeds of numerous social media accounts. Because of his ability to convey various funny emotions in films, his images are frequently used as memes with witty captions above them.
The most famous image is one in which he is dressed in an Ankara and has an exclamation expression on his face.
Mr Ibu is another actor who has become well-known for his memes. Mr Ibu’s name would undoubtedly be among the top ten on any list of the top funny actors in Nollywood.
Boasting a vast collection of comedy movies, Mr Ibu has portrayed several characters that have left viewers laughing.
To accurately represent comical statements, Nigerians often use a picture from one of his movies to buttress their point.
4. Papa Kallem
If you hear the words “Funke” or “Apostle will hear of this” in a comedy skit, remember that it came from a Nigerian-British man called Papa Kallem. He is the father of famous Youtuber Emma Kallem.
When Emma was 16, he played a prank on his father by telling him he had impregnated a 14-year-old girl.
Unaware of the recording, his father began calling his mother’s name, Funke, and threatening to inform the apostle, which is where the phrase “the Apostle will hear of this,” came from.
5. Unknown man from CV interview
“If you don’t get it, forget about it” is a slang phrase that evolved from social media to reality. A man stated this during a street interview in which he was asked to explain what a CV is.
His response was incoherent, prompting the interviewer to ask him what he meant, resulting in the iconic phrase.
6. Aki and Pawpaw
Even though their films were released over a decade ago, the troublesome Nollywood duo remains popular among Nigerians.
Aki and Paw paw’s reactions in pictures have become a staple for social media to express their feelings and humorous opinions. Played by talented actors Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme, their video clips have gained wide circulation worldwide, especially that of Aki (Osita Iheme).
In 2021, a reboot of the classic hit film was released in theatres across the country.
7. Oga Sabinus
Chukwuemeka Emmanuel Ejekwu, aka Oga Sabinus, is a famous comedian known for his hilarious skits on YouTube and Instagram.
Despite having been in the comedy business since 2015, he rose to prominence in 2019. In the following years, he won the De Elite Nigerian Star Award (DENSA) and the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award (AMVCA) for being the best content creator.
Widely recognised for his blue shirt and relatable content, the comedian’s picture has become a must-use for social media users attempting to explain or calculate a point.
8. Asari Dokubo
‘‘70 years old man’’ , ‘’You think say you wise’’ and ‘‘You be mumu’’ are two phrases made famous by Asari Dokubo during an online spat with the maverick entertainer Charly Boy in 2017.
The leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force made the remarks when he mocked the #Ourmumudondo convener, Charles Boy, for collapsing during the #ResignOrResume protest in Abuja.
Speaking in a Facebook video at the time, Dokubo flayed Charlyboy for not supporting the movement for the Independent of Biafra. He mocked : “Dem teargas am. He fainted. He passed out. 70-year-old man. Charlyboy, na your mumu don too much. You think say you’re wise? You’re a mumu man. As them throw the tear gas, something wey pass for reach you.”
Several mainstream Nigerian television and radio stations and Nigerian Instagram skitmakers have adopted the phrases in their content creation.
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