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Aurélien Boyer Opens Up on His Time in Nigeria – He’s Travelled & Worked in 13 States! His Lovely Wife Tosyn Bucknor & More

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Tosyn Bucknor & Aurélien Boyer's Wedding 2Aurélien Boyer was interviewed by Punch this past weekend about his time in Nigeria, stereotypes, Nigerian women, food, languages and more!

The Frenchman has lived in Nigeria since 2012 and works for Lafarge as an Affordable Housing Manager and is married to well-loved OAP Tosyn Bucknor.

Here’s an excerpt –

What’s your favourite fun spot in the country and why?

Let me cheat: I have two fun spots. The first of my favourite fun spots is The (New Afrika) Shrine; its ambience, its history, and the vibes (that reverberate) there (at the Shrine) are just out of this planet. My second favourite fun spot is the Bush Bar in Ikoyi (Lagos State). It is simple but it is a good joint to watch football in a great atmosphere; sizzling, tasty suya and good crowd. I like authentic places that tell a story and that you cannot find anywhere else. The two spots perfectly portray that.

What Nigerian food did you eat first in the country?

(That is a) difficult question. (It was) probably dodo (fried plantain).

Which Nigerian local dish do you enjoy the most?

My best ever (meal was the) pounded yam with ­egusi soup that I had when I went to Idanre (in Ondo State).

Before you came to the country, what misconceptions did you have about it and its people?

I thought Nigerians were good at football ­ – that was before the Les Bleus (France national football team) beat the Super Eagles easily to reach the quarter finals at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

For the rest, honestly, I do not like generalisations or stereotypes. There is no such thing as a typical Nigerian man or woman. How would you compare Gidi people (Lagosians) with Ekiti people? How will you compare Calabar people with Kano people? All I know is that I love Nigerians’ energy, optimism, liveliness and the ambition to do better every day.

Which Nigerian musician do you enjoy listening to?

Fela (Kuti) will forever be number one in my mind. Only a few artistes in history have managed to symbolise a country, its culture and its society at some point in time (like Fela did). Fela did not care about any code. He would not package three-minute tracks but would instead do 20-minute songs with fabulous introductions. He would use beats and instruments peculiar to Nigeria but modernise them, making a great musical revolution while being very acute in his lyrics, criticising his country’s leaders.

He would sing in pidgin English to convey his messages to the masses. And in spite of all those Nigerian ‘ingredients,’ his music was a great export – my mum told me she attended one of his concerts in France. It says a lot (about Fela).

That said, I also like Afro hip-hop songs; I like hitmakers like Falz TheBahdGuy, Reminisce, Phyno, and Olamide. Similarly, I like alternative artistes like Temidollface, Adekunle Gold, Simi, Saeon, and, of course Con.Tra.Diction. There’s so much creativity in the Nigerian musical industry today; it’s impressive.

What Nigerian song do you enjoy listening to the most?

My little secret: Banky W’s ‘Jasi.’

What would you say are the similarities between Nigeria and France?

They are two great countries with a great history. You can go far back in time to see great kingdoms such as the Benin Kingdom and the French Kingdom. Although not as spectacularly (as in Nigeria), France used to be a melting pot of ethnic groups with different languages and cultures put together in a country and assimilated under one culture created over time and one lingua franca — to bring everyone together.

Also, there is something else about the two countries. They are on the map; they lead and influence their continents, whether it is economically or by their culture. People either love them (Nigeria and France) or hate them, but at least, no one is indifferent to these two countries. There is a great national pride on both sides, and also a tendency to criticise our leaders.

What Nigerian language do you speak?

I speak pidgin small-small, ati Yoruba di e di e (a little Yoruba).

Have your French friends or European colleagues ever sought your advice on how to date a Nigerian lady?

It has actually happened. I tell them to listen to Fatai Rolling Dollar’s song ‘She go run away’ to get a clue.

Have you tasted any Nigerian local drink and what was the experience like?

Of course; it’s palm wine, and I usually order a chapman at bars.

As Lafarge’s Affordable Housing Manager in Nigeria, what do you do?

I help low-income earners to become home-owners. So far, the journey has been great as we have had 20,000 beneficiaries in three years.

Do you have a Nigerian name?

My name is Omowale Ajala. Omowale was actually given to me by my company’s matron and people started calling me that. She has now even adopted me as her ‘son.’ I gave myself Ajala as I have been travelling a lot in Nigeria. I have travelled and worked in 13 states in Nigeria.

18 Comments

  1. TeeTee

    August 30, 2016 at 1:32 am

    Lol….this article made my heart smile. Omowale Ajala indeed!

  2. Seriously

    August 30, 2016 at 3:55 am

    This guy seems genuinely interested in the Nigerian culture. I love how he knows what he’s talking about by adding history, and details. Cool guy.

    • le coco

      August 30, 2016 at 7:28 am

      abi.. For a french man to be interested in any other country says a lot about him.. The French are Notoriously horrible travellers.. but This guy is so impressive..

  3. Californiabawlar

    August 30, 2016 at 4:46 am

    Sloooooow clap ??????????

    I knew my own Tosyn cannot just follow one kind of anyhow man…but I must say this man right here beat my expectations. Chop knuckle!

    Area!

    • Tosin

      August 30, 2016 at 9:23 pm

      🙂
      Nice interview fo’real.

  4. Mama

    August 30, 2016 at 5:27 am

    Quite an interesting and enjoyable interview.

  5. praizeblog.com

    August 30, 2016 at 8:13 am

    interesting

  6. Lol

    August 30, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Acutely intelligent. So apt – diplomatic. Lol almost like DGSE!

  7. Temi

    August 30, 2016 at 8:52 am

    I like the guy,so real

  8. AANUOLUWAPO OYEDELE

    August 30, 2016 at 10:18 am

    wow, very intelligent n interesting interview

  9. Fey

    August 30, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Woow this is interesting i actually also love Nigerians for their energy and optimism.Great people to be with.

  10. Adio_Braimoh

    August 30, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    So inciteful and heartwarming. I love the short interview. If he’s favourite fun spot is the New Afrika Shrine, why is he not reckoning @FemiAkuti he’s our present voice of Afrobeat Music.

  11. Tee

    August 30, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    This is so heart warming, a foreigner showing so much understanding of Naija, most Nigerians don’t even appreciate what they have , instead always like to portray themselves as oyinbo all in attempt to manipulate and oppress. thought our culture tend to give foreigners a welcoming atmosphere and couple with decades of social conditioning which affects our ability to project confidence both at home and on international arena .As for Fela being an icon; it is beyond contest that Fela is a true patriot who spends his entire life on a mission to enlighten and bring change. Thanks for a lovely interview.

  12. Single Shalewa, Bitter Bintu!

    August 30, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    I smiled all through, amazing responses. He seems to be a very simple, easy to please person. I like that Fatai Rolling Dollar – She go run away reply. LOL!

    By the way, I’m trying to understand why he’s being interviewed. I’m not being hateful or shady but i think the oyinbo-skin-is-a-tourist-attraction mentality is a big problem here. Punch would not interview him if Tosin was married to a Nigerian man. Oyinbos don’t drool over us, rush to interview us when we marry their kin.
    It’s not a big deal if an African speaks English, but let’s see a Caucasian speak Swahili, we start giggling and posting on SM. Sigh!

    • californiabawlar

      August 30, 2016 at 6:48 pm

      Maybe it’s a plug for his company?

    • Gerrard59

      August 31, 2016 at 1:02 am

      It shouldn’t be as no European nation has Swahili as its official language. Africa is roughly divided into Anglophone and Francophone countries.

  13. tunmi

    August 30, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    I am impressed… And I’m also siding with @Single Shalewa, Bitter Bintu! Why is he being interviewed?

    • aj

      August 31, 2016 at 12:04 am

      The African mentality is the reason why he was interviewed. I enjoyed reading it though.

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