Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Oga Syndrome

Dear Readers,

If you've been to Nigeria, you've heard the term "Oga" it means 'Master' or 'boss' or can be a term of respect for someone older/of higher status than you.

Status is very important in Nigeria. I've seen countless interactions, where both parties are sizing the other up. I know Nigerians don't like likenesses to animals, but it strikes me as very animalistic.

An Oga is generally someone who has some kind of high status. However, you're usually an oga if you have a staff, have some money, or are perceived as having some money.

'Who is your Oga?' is sort of like 'Who is your Godfather' or 'Who controls you?'

With all hierarchical power structures there is abuse. This is very apparent in Nigeria. People fight their whole life, suffer lots of abuse, to become an oga. Then all that accumulated bitterness comes out in abusing your staff/whomever crosses your path.

Oga Syndrome: when you take this Master/Slave dynamic too seriously and forget to treat all people with respect.

A great article: Oga (Master) Syndrome

Now, I've become a mini-oga (I have an office, a staff, drivers, security, etc). I think my record is having the same staff member ask me for money 6 times in 6 different ways on the same day. I say 'no' politely each time. I can tell that it can get pretty annoying. I think MY 'ogas' (bosses) like me specifically because I don't ask them for money.

What makes a 'good' Oga?

Have you been accused of Oga syndrome?

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this piece.


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