Skits have allowed home-grown talents to promote the various cities in Nigeria where the skit makers grew up to new audiences.
In the South-East region, Aba and Onitsha have always prided themselves in being the homes of trade and commerce. Each of the towns also lay claims to being pioneers or champions of what my teacher at the University of Uyo, Late Professor Emmanuel D. Akpan referred to us ‘motor park type of entertainment’. The ‘Uncle JB’ style of entertainment, raw, spontaneous, largely unscripted but funny, and cheap to act and produce.
These types of street comedy which are usually performed at motor parks and street corners have now been elevated by smart young Nigerians using technology and social media.
Aba boasts of the likes of Real Ngwa Pikin with her thick Ngwa accent, Inside Life 411, and his ‘sexploits’ as Papa Ifeanyi using American hit TV show characters – The Simpsons, and others. Onitsha boasts of MC I GO TUK (Ogbuefi Main Market), MC Ezegetive, Onye Obodo, Iyoo Cashout, Mama Onye Obodo and others.
Each of these skit makers in their social media skits use the language and slangs spoken in the mentioned two cities. They also try to parody the mannerisms, behaviours, attitudes and lifestyles of people that grew up in the two towns. Within it is a subtle supremacy battle and challenge of which of the two cities, Aba and Onitsha, is greater using the indices of street smartness, ‘guymanness’, ‘mugu level’, fashion sense etc.
Judging by the popularity of the skit makers from Onitsha, richness of their content, variety and range, it appears that the Onitsha skit makers are edging it over Aba skit makers. As an Aba boy, I don’t feel happy about this.
This is a big challenge for the Aba skit makers to up their game. After all, Aba like Warri ‘no dey carry last’.