Nigerian Languages


Language is an integral part of cultural identity and communication. Human adaptation requires that we learn to speak people’s languages literally and figuratively. Hot on the heels on our blog post about the Nigerian Geo-Political zones, Experiencing Naija decided to that it would be more expedient if we direct the conversation on Nigerian languages by discussing languages that can be found in each geopolitical zone.

The official language for Nigeria is English which makes a lot of sense as Nigeria was colonized by the British. However, there are three major languages in the country; Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba which is spoken throughout the country. Nigeria famously has over 500 languages so there is a lot to cover. We wish to streamline our focus to as much as ten Nigerian languages per geopolitical zone.

North Central

The country’s Middle Belt region is famously the most diverse region in Nigeria as there is no dominant language in this area.  This zone is so diverse that the languages differ from village to village and state to state and due to socio economic and political factors, the villages have adapted to learn the language of other regions in such a way that there are several language similarities between languages in the same state. It can be argued that asides socio economic relationships, a common ancestry and history is also responsible for the language similarities between the states. Some languages that can be found in the North Central Part of Nigeria include

  1. Berom
  2. Nupe
  3. Tiv
  4. Igala
  5. Idoma
  6. Angas
  7. Ebira
  8. Jukun
  9. Gwari
  10. Jukun

North East

Unlike the North Central Part of the country, the North Eastern part of the country linguistically leans towards Arabic and Fulani language. Majority of the people in this region speak a combination of languages in addition to their languages including English and Hausa. Some languages in the North East zone include

  1. Izere
  2. Fulfulde
  3. Margi
  4. Kanuri
  5. Shuwa Arabic
  6. Kamwe
  7. Kanuri
  8. Wapan
  9. Bura
  10. Tangale

North West

Popularly described as the indigenously Hausa region of the country, it is no surprise that a large number of the inhabitants of this region speak Hausa, Arabic and/or Fulani alongside their own languages. It will surprise some people that aside those three major languages; there are other languages that originate from this zone. The languages from the North West zone include

  1. Hausa
  2. Arabic
  3. Gbagyi
  4. Adara
  5. Hyam
  6. Tyap
  7. Boko
  8. Zarma
  9. Nghan
  10. Tawellemmet

South West

The predominantly Yoruba speaking part of the country is the South Western Zone. They boast of common ancestry and tradition. Like their Northern and South Eastern counterparts, other languages and dialects are spoken alongside indigenous languages and other major languages in the country. Some of the languages found in the South West zone of Nigeria include

  1. Yoruba
  2. Ewe
  3. Gun
  4. Itsekiri
  5. Izon

South East

The South East zone in Nigeria is predominantly Igbo speaking. With the common theme prevalent in other zones, we find that there are various other languages originating from the South Eastern part of Nigeria. These languages include

  1. Igbo
  2. Ikwo
  3. Izi
  4. Mgbo
  5. Ezaa


South South

The South South zone in Nigeria popularly known as the Niger Delta found along the coastal region of the country. Similar to the Middle Belt, this region is diverse and there is no dominant language prevalent in the region. Also people from this region have adapted to speak other languages in the country especially the three major languages alongside their indigenous language. Some languages from the South South zone include

  1. Edo
  2. Efik
  3. Itsekiri
  4. Urhobo
  5. Yala
  6. Ijaw
  7. Esan
  8. Ogoni
  9. Ibibio
  10. Ukwuani

What is your language? Where in the country are you from and can you speak more than one Nigerian language? Are there other Nigerian languages from your region that were left out of the lists? What Nigerian language will you like to learn?

Please carry on the conversation about Nigerian languages in the comments section and across our social media platforms and Keep Experiencing Naija.

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The Six Geo-Political Zones In Nigeria

As the country winds up for one of the biggest elections in the nation’s history, competition is stiffer than ever. We at Experiencing Naija shift our sights to or national grouping and provide a quick and easy insight to the purport and purpose on the six geopolitical zones.

Nigeria as a country is a Federal Republic comprising of thirty six states and its Federal Capital territory. In addition, Nigeria is made up of approximately 400 ethnic groups and 450 languages necessitating the government to merge similar groups for effective allocation of resources.

A geopolitical zone, commonly called Zones is an administrative division of Nigerian states in which power could be rotated amongst regions for equity purposes and gives every region a sense of belonging. The Nigerian geopolitical structure affects several of the country’s major sectors such as the educational, political and economic resources and even the political parties.

The idea of zoning in the country was birthed by Nigeria’s former Vice President Sir Alex Ekwueme during the 1995 Constitutional Conference with the motive of breaking the dominance of one region in Nigeria’s political landscape. The idea came to fruition when that same year, the then President of the country General Sani Abacha made an announcement dividing the country into six geopolitical zones

Although this grouping is not mentioned in the country’s current constitution, it is crucial to the delineation of power in the country. There has been robust agitation by Nigeria’s key political figures to include the geopolitical zones into the Nigerian constitution but there is no denying that the effect of this practice is felt throughout the Federation.

Nigeria is grouped into six geopolitical zones, which are

  1. North Central (NC)
  2. North East (NE)
  3. North West (NW)
  4. South South (SS)
  5. South East (SE) and
  6. South West (SW)

North Central (NC) has a total number of seven states. North Central states consists of Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger and Plateau States as well as Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Popularly referred to as the Middle Belt this region is characterised by its lack of a clear majority ethnic group. In terms of population, it is predicted that there are over 45 million people living in the middle belt region. The Middle Belt consists of many ethnic groups speaking over 230 languages. The Middle Belt has been the melting pot where small and large ethno-religious groups in Nigeria have long coexisted, but where they have also increasingly collided over land, resources, identity and political power. Major cities in the North Central Nigeria include Jos, Lokoja, Makurdi, Lafia, Otukpo etc.

North East (NE) consists of six states which are Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno,  Gombe, Taraba and Yobe States. Like other parts of the country this region practices agriculture especially livestock rearing and animal husbandry. Geographically, the North East is the largest geopolitical zone in the nation, covering nearly one-third of Nigeria’s total area. In terms of the environment, the zone is primarily divided between the semi-desert Sahelian savanna and the tropical West Sudanian savannah ecoregions. The region has a population of about 26 million people, around 12% of the total population of the country. Maiduguri and Bauchi are the most populous cities in the North East. It houses major cities such as Gombe, Yola, Jimeta, Potiskum and Jalingo.

North West (NW) consists of seven states namely Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara States. According to the National Population Commission’s 2006 census, the North West is Nigeria’s most populated zone. Geographically, the zone is almost entirely within the tropical West Sudanian savannah ecoregion. Culturally, the majority of the zone falls within Hausaland–the indigenous cultural homeland of the Hausa people, a group which makes up the largest ethnic percentage of the north-western population; however, there are sizable minorities of Fulani people and other groups, mainly on the zone’s peripheries. Economically, the North West’s urban areas–like the city of Kano–are large boosts to the Nigerian economy while most rural areas lag behind due to insecurity, low education rates, and government neglect. The region has a population of about 49 million people, around 23% of the total population of the country. Popular cities in the North West include Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Zaria, Gusau etc.

South South (SS) also known as the Niger Delta region consists of six states which are, Akwa Ibom Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers States. It is the nation’s acclaimed oil producing zone with major cities such as Warri, Port Harcourt, Yenegoa, Asaba, Calabar, Uyo etc. The South South Region was created from both the Western and Eastern regions of Nigeria on 27 May 1967, by the regime of General Yakubu Gowon. Edo and Delta states formerly Bendel state from the Western region, while Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross river states from the Eastern region. The zone stretches along the Atlantic seaboard from the Bight of Benin coast in the west to the Bight of Bonny coast in the east. Although the South South represents only ~5% of Nigerian territory, it contributes greatly to the Nigerian economy due to extensive oil and natural gas reserves. The region has a population of about 26 million people, around 12% of the total population of the country. Popular Nigerian cities in that region include Port Harcourt, Benin City, Warri, Calabar, Asaba, Uyo etc

South East (SE) consists of five states which are Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States. This zone is an Igbo language dominated zone with major cities such as Awka, Owerri, Enugu, Aba, Abakaliki etc. Although the South East is the smallest geopolitical zone, it contributes greatly to the Nigerian economy due to oil and natural gas reserves along with a growing industrialized economy. The South East came about with Alex Ekwueme’s recommendations, although is formerly known as Eastern Nigeria or simply East, following the division of the country into three parts in 1950s. In 1967 it was later split into three under the Gowon Administration (1967-1975). It was in 1976 that more states, including Imo and Anambra began to emerge.

South West (SW) consists of six states namely Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo States. This zone is a predominantly Yoruba speaking region with major cities like Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Oshogbo etc. The zone stretches along the Atlantic seaboard from the international border with Benin Republic in the west to the South South in the east with the North Central to the north. Economically, the South West’s urban areas–mainly the cities of Lagos and Ibadan–contributes greatly to the Nigerian economy while rural areas lag behind. The region has a population of about 47 million people, around 22% of the total population of the country. Lagos is the most populous city in the South West as well as the most popular city in Nigeria and the second most populous city in Africa.

The issue of zoning has been widely discussed in the wake of the election preparation that has swept the country for the purpose of power rotation. After the Nigerian National election of 2023, pertinent issues in the country such as resource allocation could encourage further discourse involving the country’s geopolitical zones.

What geopolitical zone do you come from? Can you tell us something unique to your political zone? Please respond in the comments and be sure to keep the conversation going on all our social media platforms.



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In Honour of Women’s Month

The Month of March is usually marked for the celebration of women all over the world.

With the International Women’s Day celebrations and the Mother’s Day celebration both happening in the month of March, we at Experiencing Naija wish to continue the celebration by celebrating all our women and acknowledge their effort and impact on societal development.

International Women’s Day became mainstream after it was adopted by the United Nations in 1977 and every year, March 8th is celebrated as International Women’s Day around the globe.

In 1996, the United Nations announced the first theme for the International Women’s Day and subsequently, a new theme is announced annually against the International Women’s day to mark the celebrations and gender rights advocacy work. For the year 2022, the theme of “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” was chosen.

The United Nations Women on their website stated that the year 2022 is pivotal for achieving gender equality in the context of climate change and environmental and disaster risk reduction, which are some of the greatest global challenges of the twenty first century.

This year, the International Women’s day observance was in recognition and celebration of the women and girls who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation and response in a bid to honour their leadership and contribution towards a sustainable future.

However, the International Women’s Day website diverted from the UN given theme and announced “Break the Bias” as this year’s concept. This theme was explained to denote a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination, a world that is divers, equitable and inclusive, a world where difference is valued and celebrated.

So this month, we decided to triple the dose of Nigerian Excellence and highlight three women who personify Nigerian Excellence. Although the statistics about women in Nigeria are not great (Nigeria has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the world) we wanted to highlight three phenomenal Nigeria women moving the needle in favour of women both on a national and international level

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Born on the 13th of June 1954, Okonjo-Iweala is a Nigerian-American economist, fair trade leader, environmental sustainability advocate, human welfare champion, sustainable finance maven and global development expert. She is the first woman and the first African to lead the World Trade Organization as Director-General since March 2021. She currently sits on the board of several organizations such as MINDS, the Mandela Institute for Developmental Studies, Twitter etc. She also served as Nigeria’s first female Minister of Finance from 2003 to 2006 and 2011 to 2015. She also served as the coordinating Minister for the Economy from 2011 till 2015 and the Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2006. At the World Bank she had a 25 year career as a development economist rising to become Managing Director of Operations from 2007 to 2011. Her legacy includes strengthening the country’s public financial systems and stimulating the housing sector. She empowered women and youth with different programmes creating several thousand jobs. One of Nigeria’s living legends, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has left a great international footprint especially in the developmental and economic field and has received a great number of awards for her endevours.

Professor Grace Alele-Williams (16th December 1932 – 25th March 2022) was a Nigerian Professor of Mathematics education who made history as the first Nigerian woman to receive a doctorate and the first Nigerian Vice Chancellor at the University of Benin and the first female vice-chancellor of a Nigerian university. Unfortunately, she passed on before the month of March was over. As a seasoned educationist, she had a special interest in women’s education especially concerned for the access of female African students to scientific and technical subjects. By serving in various committees and boards, she made useful contributions in the development of education in Nigeria. Her work in the continent of Africa led her to win various awards in light of her many contributions to education.

Amina J Mohammed: Born on the 27th of June 1961, Amina Mohammed is a British-Nigerian diplomat and politician who is serving as the fifth Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations. Previously, she was Nigerian Minister of Environment from 2015 to 2016 and was a key player in the Post-2015 Development Agenda process. She worked in various capacities within and outside the country on matters of sustainable development. She resigned from the Nigeriaan Federal Executive Council in 2017 and was appointed as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. in this capacity, she is a member of the UN Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (IACG)

A great tie-in to all that we have discussed this year, all three women in this post have attained great success in their respective fields, national and international recognition for their craft and the nation highest honours. They have garnered national and international acclaim in the fields of Education, Politics, Economic Development and Sustainability to name a few.

Their stories show the contributions of women in developing countries such as Nigeria on one hand and their advocacy for women is indicative of how much more we can do in terms of women’s empowerment on the other hand. They have paved the way for others and that in itself is Nigerian Excellence.

We look forward to reading your comments about the three women we have discussed in this post. Please keep the conversation going on all our social media platforms and ensure to leave us your suggestions on which other personalities we can discus in this series.

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2022 Specials Ep 1 : African Starboy

In lieu of the many sold out national and international shows in past few months, we at Experiencing Naija wish to start off the year recognizing Nigerian Excellence.

At the age of 11, he began recording music with a couple of his church friends and by 2016, his collaboration with Drake brought him international recognition and subsequently a place in the Guinness World Records making him the first Afrobeats artist to be featured. By February 2021, he was the most streamed Nigerian artist of all time on Spotify with over 3.4 billion streams across all credits.

You guessed it.

We are talking about none other than the Nigerian musical genius popularly known as Wizkid!

Born Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun on the 16th of July 1999, Wizkid has become one of Nigeria’s greatest artists. He begun singing at a young age with his church group and later on he signed a record deal with Empire Mates Entertainment music label in 2009 where his career really took off. He credits Nigerian veterans in the music industry such as 2Face, OJB Jezreel, Naeto C, MI amongst others as his mentors early in his career.

Wizkid’s biography is a testament of his body of work and highlights his awards and endorsement deals as well as his personal life and controversies which fully embraces the dual side of worldwide success to the level Wizkid has attained.

Wizkid is the Artist to watch this month because he is a prime example of Nigerian excellence, mastering his craft through the ups and downs of life and is fast gaining recognition for it.

His success is a constant reminder that hard work, talent, grace and good music can catapult a person to international super stardom and we believe that that is worth highlighting.

His story may be unique to himself and his circumstances but we hope that it inspires you to not only dance but to believe that any scale of greatness can be acquired.

What was the first Wizkid song that you heard? What was the first Wizkid song you enjoyed and what is your favourite Wizkid song?

Which Nigerian personality do you think deserves a highlight on this series?

Please keep the conversation going in the comment section and on our social media pages.

Have a wonderful 2022.

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What Did You Know About Hausa-Fulani Wedding?

Hawan Angonci, the Hausa-Fulani Wedding event

Hausa -Fulani Hawan Angonci – Groom Mount

Hawan Angoci, the Hausa-Fulani wedding Event is an extract from a wedding event by Maigaskiya which took place in Kano on the 6th of January, 2018.

Hawan Angonci, the Hausa-Fulani Wedding event

Hawan Angonci (the groom mount) is a modern horse-riding performance reminiscent of the ancient royal Durbar of traditional Hausa society. In contemporary Hausa-Fulani society, it is mainly performed upon a wedding ceremony in a family with ties to the Emir’s palace, either through the groom, and especially so, or through either of the spouses’ parents. However, people with no royal connections whatsoever often organize the spectacle these days, to revelry and fun. The hawa (mount) is typically scheduled for the early evening of the wedding Fatiha or anytime in the following days as contingency may cause (for example rain could cause delays). Usually, the hawa heralds the conveyance of the bride to her groom’s family house (the extended family compound, which could be his parents’ or grandparents’ residence).


Hawan Angonci, the Hausa-Fulani Wedding event

Typical participants in the hawa are the groom and his friends. The custom is executed strictly while the riders don traditional-royalty apparels. The groom makes sure to stand out both in his attires, appearing like the emir in alkyabba, a flowing open gown with golden embroidery, and kupta (overcoat), and in terms of positional prominence among the team. His friends dress in gare or babban riga with turbans. Often, the best man and one or two other friends wear the same colour as the groom himself. They all wear the pangarde (royal shoe). The overall symbolism here is to glorify the act of getting married and liken the man who has just wedded to a King.


Hawan Angonci, the Hausa-Fulani Wedding event

The horse is donned in its own costume as well, with accessories like the pangami (horseshoe) made by the best farrier, dan goshi (a decorative metal place on the forehead) nanami (a rope tied around the mouth) linzami (tack) e.t.c., all made by the best craftsmen. The groom hires or borrows if he doesn’t have one, the healthiest possible stallion for the event, which receives excellent grooming in the days leading to the event.


Hawan Angonci, the Hausa-Fulani Wedding event

In ancient Hausa societies, as noted earlier, hawan angonci was strictly a royal family event which took place in the Palace and ended in the groom’s family house where the groom’s father welcomed the groom back and they proceeded to the next event which is budan kai (unveiling of the bride). With modernity hawan angonci no longer represents royalty alone, but even more significantly, pomp, power, wealth and prestige. In a way the hawan angonci by the wealthy citizens symbolises the groom becoming king in his home. The difference between the ancient hawan angonci and the modern is that in modern practice, participants often have no business with the palace or the tradition of welcoming back the groom by his father. Also, they ride ordinary around state capitals or towns, not riding in the palace.


Hawan Angonci, the Hausa-Fulani Wedding event

In all, hawan angonci marks a rite of passage, as the groom bids farewell to bachelorhood (or as the case may be, to having just one, two, or three wives) and welcomes into his life a new Queen to accompany him on the next leg of life.

Image and Content Credit: Maigaskiya, a photographic genius & social entrepreneur. You can follow his updates on Instagram and Twitter and also on

You can contact us for more details.


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Ode-Ija and The Ide Festivals of Idanre Town

Idanre Hills

In Idanre town, is a place called ODE-IJA which is the marketplace. In ode-ija, there are four places you really need to take note of because of their cultural significance. The first is the customary court, where all the matters arising are solved and if a matter can’t be solved by the OBA (king), matters are taken there. The second is the prison; the prison and the court were both built in the year 1906.  The third is the mausoleum, where final burial rights are performed for the dead king, those rights are believed to aid the safe crossing of the great dead king into the land of his ancestors where he will live out his eternity if those rights are performed accordingly. And the fourth most significant place in ode-ija is the open spot, set aside for the IDE FESTIVAL which takes place yearly. During this festival, the crown that was secured by the Oloofin from Ile-Ife, which is believed to be Oduduwa’s crown, is worn by the king as he stands on this particular spot and he then says a prayer for the people of Idanre and the entire Yoruba clan as a whole. The crown is shell like and adjusts to fit the head that wears it.

Idanre Hills
Idanre Hills

The ide festival can be attended by anyone, but not everyone can dance the ide dance, it is only mastered by the indigenes of Idanre. The festival is said to be an amazing one and one would love to attend, it lasts all night with different sort of indigenous dishes been served and drinks like palm wine going around, people drinking, eating, dancing and having a great time.

It started as a tradition where the king comes to bless his people while wearing the crown believed to have been worn by Oduduwa, but then after 1970, it became an avenue for the good people to bond with the new refugees.


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