The Nairaland Phenomenon

It is unbelievable that this mega Nigerian online community has operated below most peoples radar for so long.  But for the more than twelve thousand Nairaland members, it is a towering monolith that keeps growing everyday.  Nairaland, an online forum for Nigerians founded by Nigerian webmaster Seun Osewa and could be found at www.Nairaland.com.And who is Seun? Seun has been in the online business since 2003.  He started out in web publishing with a weblog about life as a webmaster in Nigeria.  And then, in a bid to help with the GSM customer service crisis, he founded the Mobile Nigeria Forum  a discussion forum for mobile phone users in Nigeria  at www.mobilenigeria.com.

Though Mobile Nigeria was quite successful, the insuppressible spirit in him would not rest or be satisfied.  In March 2005, Seun created the Nairaland Forum and that marked the start of a mega community.  With this feat, Seun is gradually inching his way to join legends such as Tom Anderson of MySpace mythology. Surprisingly, this article is providing more information about Seun than what he has on his personal website, www.seunosewa.com.

Seun is the first child in a family of three. His dad is a pharmacist by profession, who works at the Nigerian German Chemicals Plc.  His mum, also a pharmacist and graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University, is a proprietress.  His post-secondary education consists of a 4 year stint at his parents Alma matter, which ended abruptly in 2002.  He has refused to work for any company, even turning down several job offers, and claims to make a decent living from his website.
 
Nairaland is definitely the largest Nigerian online community, and should also rank among the largest black online communities out there. And if I tell you that Nairaland is full of mad people, believe me!  Mad not because they are roaming the streets naked but because of the explosive creativity and hyperactivity that characterize Nigerian youths on the Internet.

Some outstanding hot jocks include hot-angel, a 16 year old femme fatale who lives in the US. She spends practically all her life on Nairaland, and that explains her 15,000 posts!   Then theres nike4luv and Queenzy – the peacemakers, layi and snazzydawn – the cynosures of all eyes on the land, WesleyanA  teenager with a 30 year old feminist mind, K2DaC  the Photoshop lady and wife of Ramsey Noah, and alheri  a woman whose true life stories are very hard to believe.

The Nairaland borders are inching beyond cyberspace as members are turning into real life friends. Others are calling each other regularly. I bet some members will get married to each other soon and who knows, the marriage may be conducted online!  Its interesting to note that while 3200 members have been active on the forum, the top 10 posters are responsible for 31% of all conversations.  They must be basket mouths! (This writer can never resist a good opportunity to yab someone)

Nairaland is powered by a heavily modified copy of the Simple Machine Forum engine which is based on PHP and MySQL.  Without any advertising, it has picked up about 12500 members, 4850 topics, and180,000 posts in about 10 months.  On a typical weekday, it generates 400,000 hits (50,000 page views) from 7000 visits – very significant for a Nigerian website with no corporate backing.
 
On the Nairaland Forum, members discuss issues like Family and Marriage, Romance and Sexuality, Politics, Business, Career, Education, Health, Religion, Travel, Fashion, Books, Music/Radio, TV/Movies, Jokes etc, Poems, Sports, Games, Computers, Phones, and of course Internet.  There are sections for Developers, Webmasters, Job seekers, and a bulletin board for Adverts.

As the only moderator on the site, Seun often has to wade in to instill discipline as members, like everyday people, often cant resist the temptation to get unruly.  For example theres a really annoying brat who lives in the US, an Ivorian who comes to the board to threaten the life of Nigerians over President Obasanjos interference in their country, and several Niger Delta and Ibo youths who seem to believe that the spilling of more blood will bring prosperity to their people.

And where is Nairaland going from here? I dont really know as that is closely guarded by Seun but based on his antecedents, it is probably something explosive.

So when you are less busy and you need to unwind; head to Nairaland and get yourself a citizenship.

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