The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi says Ecobank has identified with Adire, proving its Pan African nature and reconfirming the bank’s support for the growth of indigenous culture, tourism, and entrepreneurship across the continent.
The royal father spoke during a three-day Adire exhibition tagged: “Adire Lagos Experience”, powered by Ecobank Nigeria in Lagos. The exhibition which started on Friday June 10, spanned Sunday, June 12. Originating in Southwestern Nigeria, Adire textile is an indigo-dyed cloth made by using different wax resist methods to create dazzling designs. Adire, comes in a variety of texture such as silk, chiffon, cotton, and polyester and are made fashionable in both English and traditional styles.
He said, “I am really impressed with what I’ve seen here today. I have seen real tourism potential that needs to be explored by others. If as a country we look inward, we would discover that our tourism advantages are enormous and desire immediate attention. We can create exportable merchandise if we join hands to boost our potential, we would not be looking up to foreign currency to boost our economy”.
Further, he noted that “as one of the pioneer promoters of Adire, I am positive that it can boost the county’s tourism industry, because it has what it takes to meet international textile standards. The unique thing about Adire production is that everything is assembled locally – raffias, ropes, bamboos, chemicals are gotten from our forest. We do not need to import anything”.
Ogunwusi also encouraged other banks and private bodies to emulate Ecobank in encouraging indigenous entrepreneurs, so that more Nigerians could explore locally made investments. In his words “Our banks and corporate bodies should show their support by displaying our Adire in their banks, make their staff wear them on specific days. Even beyond our Adire fabric, we can promote locally made shoes, wristwatches, bags, cars, jewelry, and several other products,” he said.
Ogunwusi advised traditional leaders to encourage entrepreneurs with financial support and grants. “I advise our leaders to begin to get sensitive and passionate about things that are produced in Nigeria. All other companies and organisations should pick one thing and promote, so that the country can grow organically. We also need to support our media that are really projecting these potentials to the world by involving them fully,” he said.
The royal father then condemned imitation of Adire by other countries, saying there was great difference between the locally made products and imitation. “The durability cannot be compared, we have taken up this challenge locally and with the support of our ancestors coupled with our long-standing knowledge, nobody can take away our patent rights from us,” he said.
Several Adire admirers converged at the exhibition venue; Ecobank Pan African Centre (EPAC) to witness, make orders and purchase choices attires in different styles. Highlight of the event was a practical master class on Adire production, organised by Princess Ronke Ademiluyi, a cultural ambassador to Ooni of Ife. At the exhibition, there were different genres of Yoruba music; an infusion of local food; and mild atmospheric branding infusion of a wide variety of Adire into the setting which created a nostalgic mood.