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NEWSCLICK NIGERIA INTERVIEW: Why Adire trade is gradually dying in Nigeria and how Government can resuscitate the multi-million dollar industry – Ganiyu Ibikunle

Adire textile is the indigo-dyed cloth made in southwestern (regional base of the Yorubas) using a variety of resist-dyeing techniques.

However, despite its seemingly distinctive and lucrative nature, the Adire trade is fast losing its appeal especially to the younger generations who are way too entangled to other businesses with immediate and higher Return on Investments (ROI). 

Be that as it may, the business according to experts can be revamped if the governments across board play their parts. President of Adire Eleko Osun Association, Ganiyu Ibikunle in this interview with Newsclick Nigeria’s OLUSEGUN KUGBAYI identified major challenges obstructing the growth of the million-dollar industry and what can be done to tap into it’s wide range of opportunities for the economic growth of the country. 

Excerpts:

1. Kindly introduce yourself sir?

My name is Ganiyu Ibikunle, a versatile textile artist based in Osogbo. Osun state. Also, the President of Adire Eleko Osun Association in Osun State.

2. What informs your specialization/interest in Adire making despite the seeming dearth of the trade?

Adire making is a creative and artistic profession that gives back to society in terms of generating youth employment and increasing socio-economic development in society. This is an untapped sector in the state, flourishing with many social and economic opportunities for investors both at home and abroad. I strongly believe that the adire industry can be revamped through more awareness, discussion, and full participation like this, for any interested stakeholders to invest and allow the government to collaborate for the development of adire industry.

3. What has been the gains and challenges since the Adire Eleko Osun Association was formed?

The association has embarked on consultation with the government to support the association to promote locally made adire from Osun and empower the youth in the state. We have been consulting many adire makers in the state to join the association for the development of the members and the state as a whole. Our association is duly registered as a cooperative society with the state government and Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) in Nigeria. Through the NEPC, our members have been trained in E-Commerce and also attended the Osun Trade Fair 2021.

Our challenges are, the lack of a central facility hub where everyone can produce adire for local and international consumption, this development of adire Osun Hub will help a lot in improving the economy of the state and creating youth employment. We also need working capital for our members to produce, sell and connect with the international market.

4. What can be done to make the art more appealing to the youths?

Government needs to ensure that adire textile making is taught from primary 6 till S.S 3 class, this will help our young ones to develop an interest in adire art, and more adire hubs need to be established in all the local governments in the state. Art is Money, as part of the non-oil sector in Nigeria. Both Federal and State governments must invest in the sector to halt the banditry, kidnapping, and killings in Nigeria.

5. Specifically, what role has the Osun State Government played to ensure that the Adire trade does not die? What more do you think the government can do?

As mentioned above, the only role the current government played is the pronouncement of adire policy for the civil servants and private stakeholders to be wearing adire every Thursday, whereas the adire industry has not been developed.
They need to ensure that a yearly budget allocation to adire industry is implemented by the adire stakeholders in the state. This includes setting up an adire facility hub where adire will be produced, packaged, and branded for export.

Also training more youths across all the local government councils by making a strategic plan for 1 local government and 1 adire hub. They also need to provide financial support to the adire makers in the state to boost the industry. Adire stakeholders should be among the budget preparation and play a vital role in the policy-making and council implementing the budget allocated to the industry. Exploring the international market should be tapped through the government connection and create more adire art festivals which will generate more income for the state government and improve the standard of living in the state.

6. Do you think civilization played any role in the abandonment of Adire attires? Can civilization play a role in its resuscitation?

Yes, because we don’t value our cultural heritage. We are encouraging foreign textiles and neglecting our local products. It’s bad and has a negative effect on the national foreign exchange and high inflation. Today, fairly used textiles are ruining the economy because our textile industries have been closed and no research was made to develop our local adire like traditional adire is fading away. Government and private stakeholders have to play their roles in revamping the local dye instead of importing dye from China and Germany.

In the past, civilization doesn’t play any role rather than buying the adire and they are still in love with our local adire. But the creativity in adire makes it unique and acceptable across the world, I surely believe that we can resuscitate our adire industry with abundant resources in Nigeria. Without the western world, it can be revamped if our resource is used judiciously by the government. Adire industry is a million-dollar sector that can put the state in place rather than waiting for monthly federal allocation. Adire trade is a lucrative business for all Nigerians.

7. Why do you think people should embrace the use of Adire fabrics?

Adire is part of our cultural heritage in Yoruba land, our forefathers were highly respected and honoured during the invasion of the white folks which we should not throw out just like that. We should wake up from our slumber and engage fully in adire making as it was done in past. I will encourage people to adapt to wearing the adire fabrics to bring the glory back to the yoruba culture. Using adire will earn more income for the makers, generate youth employment, increase our foreign exchange through exporting, and bring back the value in adire fabrics. We can make numerous clothes from adire nowadays I.e shoes, bags, caps, belts, jackets, shirts, souvenirs, bra, and boxers for unsex, etc. I am calling on all Nigerians to patronize our locally made adire in Southwest Nigeria, and the government should do the needful to support the adire industry.

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