Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has called upon the Federal Government to implement a ban on the importation of Chinese adire while simultaneously revitalizing the domestic textile industry. This initiative aims to safeguard the local production of adire, a traditional Nigerian textile, particularly when the essential raw materials for adire, including fabrics, are increasingly unavailable within the country.
Chief Obasanjo made this passionate appeal during the opening of the 2024 Canada Trade Mission pre-conference session in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on Monday. He expressed his concerns about the potential “bastardisation” of the adire market due to the influx of Chinese products.
In his address, Chief Obasanjo commended the traditional rulers in attendance for their role in preserving the nation’s cultural heritage. He emphasized the need to recognize and protect the value of adire, adding, “People are saying China wants to bastardise our awful product; if not, we don’t value what we have.”
The former President also acknowledged the Ogun State government’s efforts in creating a direct market, Oja Itoku, for adire. However, he stressed the importance of establishing direct sellers in the market to further enhance its effectiveness.
Chief Obasanjo pointed out the challenges faced by the adire industry, including the difficulty in sourcing the necessary fabrics for production. He proposed two critical actions for the government’s consideration. Firstly, he urged the government to revive the textile industry in Nigeria, as it plays a crucial role in the adire production process. Secondly, he called for the establishment of formal training institutions where individuals can learn the art of producing adire and receive certification upon completion of their training.
Furthermore, Chief Obasanjo urged the government to take measures to safeguard local adire production from potential disruption by foreign competitors. He suggested banning the importation of Chinese adire and extended this idea to other domestically produced goods as well.
In closing, Chief Obasanjo encouraged collaboration between the Adire Sellers Association, those promoting adire, and other stakeholders to establish a unified “Adire Association” with chapters across the country, designating Abeokuta as the association’s headquarters. He expressed his willingness to serve as the patron of this association, demonstrating his commitment to preserving and promoting this cherished aspect of Nigerian culture.