#ThrowbackThursday: 10 Nigerian TV shows that have stood the test of time

Today being a Thursday, I would like to juggle your memory by reminding you of some fond memories. You might feel nostalgic after reading, but I’m sure you’ll be able to relate to, if not all, some of the Television shows which were very popular in the 80s and 90s, before the introduction of cable TV; when all the content Nigerians had access to was majorly from a local station on a television or radio set. Today, the focus is on TV.

Here is a list of throwback Nigerian TV shows that rocked, some years ago.

1. Super story (2001-2018)

Super Story had many families glued to their TV sets when it was time for the show. Parents urged their kids to watch and learn, even as they learned from the experience shared.

Super Story is the brainchild of TV producer, Wale Adenuga who is also responsible for Papa Ajasco on TV and on print. 18 years running, Super Story is a unique format that has appealed to the Nigerian audience.

The first season of the show told the story of Suara and Toyin Tomato (played by the brilliant Sola Sobowale). The debut season was a hit which has influenced the success of the following seasons.

Each season tells a different story centred around the lives of middle-class Nigeria.

2. Papa Ajasco & company (1996-present)

Papa Ajasco & company is another brilliant TV show that rocked. Created by Wale Adenuga, just like Super Story, Papa Ajasco was initially a comic strip in the 80s which turned out to be very successful.

After an initial movie in 1983, Wale Adenuga adapted it for TV in 1996 starring the famous characters, ‘Papa Ajasco’, ‘Mama Ajasco’, ‘Bobo Ajasco’, ‘Boy Alinco’, ‘Pa James’ ‘Pa Jimoh’, and ‘Miss Pepeiye’

Heavy on slapstick comedy, Papa Ajasco has continued to make Nigerians laugh for over 25 years but it’s not the same as it used to be. The characters have changed over time and Nigerians seem to have moved on.

3. Who wants to be a millionaire? (2004 – 2017)

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is a Nigerian TV game show based on the original British format of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.

It was created by David Briggs, Mike Whitehill and Steve Knight and sponsored by MTN Nigeria.

The show first aired on 8 October 2004 and stopped on 25 June 2017. It was hosted by Frank Edoho

WWTBAM was announced to be back in Sept 2021, although the date is yet to be unveiled. Who wants to be a millionaire? is an educational show that parents always wanted their children to learn from the show.

Three lifelines were presented at the beginning of the game in order to aid contestants.
1. 50/50; where the computer eliminates two random wrong options, leaving the right option and the other remaining wrong option.

2. Phone a friend; where the contestant calls one of their five prearranged friends. The contestant has 30 seconds to read the question and four possible options to the friend, who then has the remaining time to offer input.

3. Ask the audience; where audience members use touch pads to designate what they believe the correct option to be.

4. I need to know (1997-2002)

Starring Nigerian A-list actress Funke ‘Jenifa’ Akindele-Bello, the TV series was an educative show sponsored by the United Nations population fund.

The TV series dwelt on the lives of seven secondary school students dealing with life in their teenage years. HIV/AIDS, and teenage pregnancy were strong themes in the show.

For young people, I Need To Know was a TV series dedicated to them but It was aired at a time when many in this part of the world didn’t yet understand what they meant.

5. Dear mother (2005-2006)

Dear mother is another TV show that was really enjoyable in 2006. It was a multiple award winning series chronicling the life of Teju Philips( played by Moyin Olutayo) a widowed mother of 3 dealing with her career and the challenges of raising children in modern day Nigeria. Lanre Hassan (Iya Awero) played her part as the kids maternal grandmother.

6. Ultimate power / Agbára Ńlá (1992/1994)

This Christian show was a must watch in many Christian homes back in the day. Funnily, many Nigerians irrespective of their religion saw the show.

Mount Zion film ministries singlehandedly took Christian TV content and movies to the mainstream. In 1992, it made its mark with the spellbinding Yoruba TV series Agbara Nla. The uncontrollable success of the spiritually-themed TV show made them produce the English version which was also another hit. Names of characters such as ‘Ayamatanga’ have gone on to be part of Nigerian slangs.

7. Everyday people (early 2000s)

Just like the title, Everyday People focused exclusively on the lives of middle-class Nigerians in Lagos and their neighbors. The movie featured the late Sam Loco Efe, Carol King, Ify Onwuemene, Seun Soremi, Juliet Martin-Abazie, Ignis Ekwe and others.

The theme song was also very famous••• “Everyday People, that’s you that’s me…”

8. The village headmaster (1968-1994 / 1985-1991)

Originally a radio drama series (1958), the village headmaster is Nigeria’s first and longest-running soap opera on the NTA.

The first series of The Village Headmaster ran from 1968 to 1984 before being paused and the second phase had its run from 1985 to 1991.

Olusegun Olusola created the series and it was produced by Dejumo Lewis and developed by Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation.

The Village Headmaster was set in the fictitious Yoruba village of Oja plot focused on topical issues such as inter-ethnic harmony, problem-solving and intervention in public affairs, health education and family enjoyment.

It’s cast included Ted Mukoro (Headmaster #1); Femi Robinson (Headmaster #2); Justus Esiri (Headmaster #3); Dejumo Lewis (Kabiyesi); Clara Olushola as headmaster’s wife (Clara Fagade); Albert Egbe (Lawyer Odunuga); Ibidun Allison (Amebo); Jab Adu (Bassey Okon); Funsho Adeolu (Senior Chief); Joe Layode (Teacher Garuba); etc.

Recall, the cast in this show decided to come together some 30 years after to revive it but they recently stopped production.

9. Koto Orun (1989 – 1992)

In the 90s, this Yekini Ajileye (late) produced TV series was a must watch for anyone in the South-West. It was a Sunday night delight. With its engaging characters and compelling plots, Koto Orun is one of the best TV series that Nigeria has ever produced.

Set in the pre-colonial era, a certain village was besieged by witches who torment the villagers at will. Although the evil witches are often confronted by the good ones, referred to as “aje funfun” (the white witches) in the movie, it wasn’t enough to rid the town of these evil ones’ infestation. However, in response to the plight of the people of the village, the gods promised them a saviour who will be delivered by one of the kings wives that will conquer the evil witches. So the witches, including the king’s first wife, came up with schemes after schemes to kill the prophesised bearer of the messiah.

10. Fuji House of Commotion (2000s)

A spin-off of 90’s soap opera Checkmate, the Amaka Igwe directed and produced comedy series hilariously portrayed the unique experience of living inside a polygamous home.

The comedic brilliance of Kunle Bamtefa as Chief Fuji, Toun Oni as Mama Moji, Ngozi Nwosu as Peace, Louisa Oni as Ireti, Iretiola Doyle as Caro, Jude Orhoha as Gbenro, John Njamah as Rabiu, and Chika Chukwu as Jumoke among others.

The sitcom revolves around a rich man (Chief T.A. Fuji) who is married to four women and had numerous kids to provide for. Some episodes also feature family friends such as Victor Eze as Alika.

Honorable Mention:

Edge of Paradise (2006 – unknown)

Dance of Shame

Face2Face

Us

Domino

Family Cycle

Clinic Matters

Behind the clouds

Basi & company

Second chance

Ripples (1988-1993)

Fortunes (1993-1994)

Mirror In The Sun (1984-1986)

Checkmate (1991-1994)

Tales by Moonlight (1984-unknown)

Things Fall Apart (1987)

New Masquerade (the mid-80s – mid-90s)

Cock Crow At Dawn (early 1980s)

Adio  Family

Sunny Side Of Life

Sura the Tailor

Koko Close

Awada Kerikeri

Third Eye

Magana Jarice

Wind Against My Soul

Alawada

House No. 13

Mind Bending

Hot Cash (Willy Willy)

Sura the Tailor

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