I came across this exciting article recently, regarding the Bank of Industry’s endeavours to boost production of local fabrics in Yoruba land. What was interesting is that, one , I didn’t know that cotton was still produced (somewhere) in Yorubaland. I had always assumed the cotton used in weaving Aso Oke was imported.
Article on fibre2fashion Asian B2B website where I first stumbled on the news-
As part of efforts to revive Nigeria’s ailing textile sector, the country’s Bank of Industry (BoI) has signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Iwo community in the Osun state for boosting production of local cotton fabrics sourced from local farmers.
The bank initiated the agreement to encourage local production of fabrics through a system tagged, “from farm to factory,” said the Acting Managing Director of the Bank, Waheed Olagunju, adding that the bank would support vertical and horizontal integration of production value chain of local fabrics.
The MoU was signed by Olagunju on behalf of the bank and the traditional ruler of Iwo land, Oba Adewale Akanbi.
Olagunju assured that the bank would not only help with cash but also enable comprehensive capacity building at every stage of the local fabrics production starting from sustainable supply of cotton through viable farming methods as (sic) also in the weaving stages.
Reiterating the bank’s commitment to specifically enhance production at the grassroots, the bank official said a local private company, Rabsihimec Nig. Ltd., had been roped in to provide the needed weaving equipment. The local content initiative would further be strengthened through the establishment of vocational schools that will provide necessary expertise for the industry and empower the youths.
“This project is labour-intensive; it is a way of entrenching rural industrialisation at the grassroots and allow speedy growth in the rural setting. It is indeed the only way the real sector of our economy can grow,” Olagunju said.
Iwo traditional ruler Adewale Akanbi lauded the initiative and commitment of the bank. He emphasised that local production of modern attires from local cotton fabrics (Ofi and Adire) had become necessary in the face growing interest in foreign textile materials.
He added that the initiative was tailored towards bringing the sense of local dressing back into the youth by using the local fabrics (Ofi) to make array of modern fashion styles. The initiative was aimed not only aimed at promoting local fabrics but generating job opportunities and foreign exchange.
Describing pants made from local fabric (Ofi) “as good as a branded jean, which has good quality and high durability value like imported materials, and a pride for African nation”, Akanbi said the Adire fabric was suitable for making security uniforms.
He also said moves were afoot to pass a bill in the Osun state assembly that would make it compulsory for pilgrims from the state going on Haj to wear dresses made of Adire fabric. (SH)
Not very exciting to you? Well, what if I told you that I then discovered that in an interview with journalists the Iwo monarch said:
“It is about using our own fabrics to make clothes of the white people which our kids like. You must think like the children and the youths if you want to influence them in any way.
“He says. Eniti yio mu obo ase bi obo. We can’t win a war of making our kids to wear Agbada and buba made of Ofi !. But now I have branded our Ofi and Aso oke as TELU JEANS and all what Telu Jeans is about is normal jeans wear, jacket, suits and all office, schools, religious wears to fit in to all walks of life thereby creating jobs for our people, promoting our culture and creating an identity, both home and abroad coupled with adding colors to our lives …… “ Its about using our own fabrics to make clothes of the white people that our kids like ! ”
“Aso oke will also be used to sew suits and all office, school and religious wears. This will increase the demand for this local fabric and create jobs for our people who are weavers. It will also promote our culture and we will spend less money on importation of foreign clothes.”
And that’s why this is so interesting to me! I have always believed in our beautiful Aso Oke and Adire fabric and designs. It is exciting to find a young new Oba who feels the same, and knows how to go about sharing the Aso Oke blessing with the world . Especially in a way that improves the lives of the Yoruba indigenes . Way to go Emperor of Greater Iwo Empire (his new self bestowed title ?)
Eniti yio mu obo ase bi obo- to catch a monkey, you have to be like one
Ofi -a generic name for Yoruba handwoven fabric ie another name for Aso Oke