10 memorable Nigerian TV characters of the 80s & 90s
The 90s was a decade that featured most of TV’s unforgettable characters. From Chief Fuji to Papa Ajasco, here are some memorable ones.
The 80s and 90s were heavily loaded with memorable and engaging Nigerian TV characters.
Decades later, those characters have remained iconic in pop culture, and today, Pulse Movies has selected just 10 of those unforgettable characters.
From Chief Fuji to Papa Ajasco, here are some of Nigerian TV’s most memorable characters of the 80s and 90s, or arguably, of all time.
In no particular order, check them out:
- Papa Ajasco – Papa Ajasco and Company
On “Papa Ajasco and Company,” formerly “The Ajasco Family,” the titular character is a promiscuous bald-headed husband, who often dramatically hits his head when amazed at an event.
Papa Ajasco’s silly demeanor and his love for the slang “Ojigbijigbi” made his character in the sitcom an instant hit with Nigerian audiences.
- Ann Haathrope – Checkmate
In the 90s hit TV series, Ann is a determined young woman who returns to Nigeria to revive her family business, Haatrope Investments.
To achieve this, she has to take on rivals like the immoral Segun Kadiri, who bears a long-time grudge against the Haatropes.
In “Checkmate,” Ann Haatrope is pretty, smart and bold about everything she wants.
- Segun Kadiri – Checkmate
Segun Kadiri and Ann Haatrope’s relationship in “Checkmate” earns them a spot as one of the most memorable TV couples of all time.
The tale of Ann and Segun has been passed on from one generation to another, creating an intense fan base that cuts across the old and young generation.
Segun, who bears a grudge against Ann’s family, meets her for the first time in the 13th episode of the series when he pays her a visit to avoid losing a contract to her.
For several episodes, viewers watched Ann and Segun grow from hero-villain rivals to a hot romantic couple still fondly remembered in Nigerian TV history.
- Okonkwo – Things Fall Apart
In “Things Fall Apart,” Okonkwo is a brave and rash Umuofian warrior and clan leader. A son of a man he considers lazy and poor, Okonkwo works hard to become the opposite.
Despite his achievements, his existence is controlled by the fear of failure, weakness and becoming his father.
Decades after its release, Pete Edochie,who played the character, is still widely admired for his portrayal of Okonkwo.
- Chief Fuji – Checkmate
In “Checkmate,” Chief Fuji is a rich man who has many wives and kids to provide for. He is mostly unable to provide for them all, so he always seeks a way to dodge his responsibility. Chief Fuji is also an old friend of the Haatropes.
As one of the most interesting characters on the show, Chief Fuji earned his own spin-off show; the evergreen “Fuji House of Commotion.”
- Chief Zebrudaya Okoroigwe Nwogbo – New Masquerade
Over the course of its run, the character Chief Zebrudaya was played by three different actors; Nwora Asika, Nsofor Obua and Chika Okpala.
On the sitcom, which tried to capture the struggle of the common man in Nigeria, Zebrudaya is a World War II veteran who has visited various foreign countries.
Also known as 4:30 and considered by those around him as enlightened, he is a somewhat overbearing husband.
On the show, he uses a mixture of Queens English, Igbo language and Pidgin English as a means of communication, and alongside his wife Ovularia; daughter, Philo; and two Houseboys, Clarus and Giringori, Zebrudaya elicited laughter from viewers and became another memorable character whose tale has been passed from one generation to another.
- Bitrus – Cockcrow at Dawn
Bello, Zemaye, Bitrus and Ene are some of the lead characters in “rooster Crow at Dawn,” but decades after it aired in the 80s, Sadiq Dada, who played Bitrus, is still fondly remembered and addressed by some Nigerians as Bitrus.
“Every Friday, 6 p.m, everybody is rushing to watch rooster Crow at Dawn and I had the honour of playing the role of the mischievous boy, Bitrus. Everyone fell in love with the role. As old as I am, everywhere I go people still call me Bitrus, but again it is God’s making,” Daba told Encomium during an interview.
- Madam the Madam – Basi and Company
Occasionally described as “Madam the Madam,” she is fond of showing off her wealth, and is as greedy as her tenant – the titular character Basi – who dreams of becoming a millionaire by tricking wealthy people.
As she tirelessly chases Basi around for rent, she often falls victim of Basi’s pranks. Madam the Madam is popular for the huge head-ties which she wears in nearly every episode.
The character was also popular for the catchphrase “It’s a matter of cash” – her response to any proposal.
- Bisi – I Need to Know
Before she became the popular funny Jenifa, Funke Akindele was Bisi, an inquisitive school girl in the family-oriented television series “I Need to Know,” which aired on the NTA network in the 90s.
Her ability to be curious and sweet in every episode can’t be easily forgotten.
- Jagua – Jagua
The titular character, Jagua, is a mischievous elderly old man who was popular for the catchphrase: “my belle o…my head o.”
Which of these characters was your favourite?