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<strong>Discover Nigeria’s Secret Francophone Community</strong>
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Discover Nigeria’s Secret Francophone Community 

By Emmanuel Chidera Amoke

Living in the very heart of Nigeria, it will be almost impossible to believe that there are places in Nigeria where say, more than English is spoken as a foreign language, and more than the Nigerian Naira currency is used for trading. 

Nigeria is no doubt very vast, and renowned for her diverse culture and rich heritage. This diversity can be attributed to several factors. First is the geographical variations, stemming from the country’s large landmass and ecological diversity. Second is the interactions and trade with neighboring countries and regions that have facilitated the exchange of cultural elements. 

Among the various regions in Nigeria, Ejigbo stands out for its multiculturalism. Ejigbo is a prominent town located in Osun State, bordered by Iwo, Ogbomoso, Ikirun, and Ede. The people of Ejigbo have a history of international emigration, with significant connections to the Ivory Coast, Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Liberia, Niger Republic, and Togo. Hence, this community has created a borderless ECOWAS immigration across Africa. It’s the easiest route to any of these neighboring African countries. 

As a result of their international ties, the people of Ejigbo are proficient in French, even more so than in English. Alongside their native Yoruba, French is the second most common language among them. They are also skilled in other foreign languages, such as Dioula (Mali), Eve (Togo), Asante (Ghana), Agni, Bété, Baoulé, Dyula, and Abé( all Ivory Coast). English is less commonly used as a conversational language. They are more deeply connected to the Francophone world. The Ejigbo people are prominent in both West African and European Francophone cities. 

In addition, the Ejigbo people utilize multiple currencies for their daily transactions and are known for their communal lifestyle. It is this communality that helps them maintain unity and cordial relationships before traveling abroad. They establish organized communities in different cities and towns. For instance, in the Ivory Coast, where nearly half the population is from the Ejigbo community, they have community leaders know n as “Oba.” Examples include ‘Oba Bouake,’ ‘Oba Abobo,’ ‘Oba Dabou,’ ‘Oba Grand Bassam,’ ‘Oba Treichville,’ and the paramount leader of the Ejigbo community in the Ivory Coast, known as “Oba Abidjan,” who resides in Adjame, a suburb of Abidjan.

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