Former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has appealed to the Federal Government to prohibit the importation of Chinese adire while also rejuvenating the country’s textile industry. This move is aimed at safeguarding the local adire production sector, which is facing challenges due to a scarcity of essential raw materials, particularly locally-sourced fabrics.
Chief Obasanjo made these remarks during the pre-conference session of the 2024 Canada Trade Mission, which took place in Abeokuta, Ogun State on Monday. He expressed concern over the looming threat of Chinese products diluting the Adire market.
In his words, Chief Obasanjo stated, “I want to express my gratitude to the traditional leaders in attendance; you have demonstrated your role as the true custodians of our culture. There are growing concerns about China’s potential to undermine our cherished product; it reflects our underappreciation of what we possess. I commend the Ogun State government for establishing Oja Itoku as a direct market. It’s a commendable initiative, but insufficient without direct market vendors.”
He went on to highlight the challenge of sourcing fabrics for Adire production. “In the past, we used to procure fabrics for Adire production from places like Kano, Kaduna, and Ado-Ekiti, but these sources have dwindled. We now face a quandary: where can we obtain the fabrics for Adire production? To address this, we must encourage collaboration among direct sellers, manufacturers, and promoters of Adire.”
Chief Obasanjo emphasized two pivotal actions that the government should take to preserve local Adire production: “The government’s role is twofold. Firstly, the government must resuscitate the textile industry, and I implore them to prioritize this. Secondly, we need formal training institutions where individuals can learn the art of Adire production and attain certification at the conclusion of their training.”
He continued, “We must entreat the government to exert all efforts to safeguard our local Adire production, preventing the Chinese from adulterating it for us. This protection entails not only banning the importation of Chinese adire but extending such protection to all other products manufactured in Nigeria.”
Concluding his address, Chief Obasanjo called for collective action and unity. He urged, “I encourage you not to rely solely on the Adire Sellers Association. Let us collaborate with those who promote Adire and other stakeholders to establish an ‘Adire Association’ with chapters, designating Abeokuta as its headquarters. I am ready to offer my support as the patron of this association.”