The number of skit makers is on the rise in Nigeria, where 63 percent of its over 200 million population are living in multidimensional poverty.
Many young people are using their talents and the digital space to make people happy while also earning a living amid high unemployment rate, which the National Bureau of Statistics put at 33 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020.
A report released in March 2022 by Dataleum, a global talent accelerator, ranked skit-making as the third largest entertainment industry in Nigeria with a net worth of over N50 billion.
A study conducted by the Africa Polling Institute (API) on the comedy industry in order to improve the talents of Nigerian youths revealed that 90 percent of Nigerians polled believed that comedy skits were more of a source of employment.
The skit-making industry has become the fastest-growing industry in Nigeria’s entertainment space.
Maryam Apaokagi, a skit maker popularly known as ‘Taaooma’, said that making skits is quite profitable, but it is dependent on the volume of advertisements received from clients.
She said skit-making has had a wide-ranging impact on the economy, including the area of job creation, and influencers are now making a living by creating content.
“I wanted to be a cinematographer rather than a content creator initially. The videos I made were to edit and perfect my cinematography skills, but as time went on, I started getting positive feedback from everyone around me, and the reception on social media gave me the green light; so I had to venture into the business of creating more skits,” she said.
According to the API report, titled ‘Skit Economy: An Assessment of Digital Content Creators in Nigeria’, skits are useful in creating awareness about social trends; 83 percent identified the role of skits in correcting societal ills; while 90 percent acknowledged the potential of skits for employment generation in Nigeria.
Last year, Jobberman Nigeria said in a report that the creative industry to which skit-making belongs was employing more than four million people in the country and has the potential to create an additional 2.7 million jobs by 2025.
“The creative sector in Nigeria has significant potential for employment of young people. This potential is evident in the availability of the current formal and informal job opportunities, as well as the growth potential within the industry,” it said.
Emmanuel Iwueke, widely known as ‘Craze Clown’, a comedian and content creator, said skit-making has evolved from simply making people laugh to earning a living by making funny videos and posting them online.
“I realised it had become a source of income when a fan called to ask how much I charge for a birthday shoutout. With the current rate of unemployment in the country, skit-making has helped serve as a source of income, with skit makers getting paid by a brand to advertise their product as well as earning from streams,” he said.
Iwueke went on to say content creation has evolved into the heart of the entertainment industry. It has helped to promote music and movies, as well as bridge the gap between brands and consumers with just one post on social media, he added.
In recent years, the Nigerian entertainment and creative sectors have experienced rapid progress facilitated by emerging digital technology, which supports content creation, distribution, and consumption. As a result of these factors, experts have identified them as two of the top job-creating sectors of the economy, particularly for young people.
“Skit-making has helped shape the person I am becoming, it’s been financially rewarding, although the aim is to get better and higher. Also, the industry has influenced my personal development, financial growth, and self-esteem,” said Mildred Ossai, also known as ‘thatmildredgirl’, a skit maker and brand influencer.
She said creating skits has allowed her to express her talents outside of her comfort zone, “thereby globalising content creation without excessive spending, budgeting, or resource waste”.
“Comedy making is a steady and fast-growing industry that has exposed a lot of young talents and has created numerous job opportunities and helped the country maximise the use of social media,” she added.