The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi has urged banks and other cooperate bodies to support and promote locally produced products to boost the nation’s tourism industry.
The royal father spoke during a three-day Adire exhibition tagged: “Adire Lagos Experience”, organised by Adire Odua in collaboration with Ecobank in Lagos.
The exhibition which started on Friday June 10, will end on Sunday, June 12.
He said, “I am really impressed with what I’ve seen here today. I have seen real tourism potentials that needed 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.
“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 standard.
“The unique thing about this Adire production is that everything is assembled locally – raffias, ropes, bamboos, chemicals are gotten from our forest. We do not need to import anything,” he said.
Ogunwusi also encouraged other banks and private bodies to emulate Ecobank in encouraging indigenous entrepreneurs, so that more Nigerians could explore locally made investment.
“Our banks and cooperate 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.
“They should venture into promoting businesses that are proudly Nigerian, just as Ecobank has identified with Adire, proving their Pan African nature.
“All other companies and organisations should pick one thing and promote, so that the country can grow organically.
“We also need to support our journalists that are really projecting these potentials to the world by involving them fully,” he said.
The traditional ruler suggested using Adire as school uniforms and office outfits to replace the foreign fabrics.
“Some of our leaders are already impressively wearing Adire to work. We only need to boost our production so that the fabric can meet school and office demands,” 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 our ancestors are already dealing with the situation, nobody can take away our patent rights from us,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that several Adire admirers beset the exhibition venue at Ecobank branch to witness, make orders and purchase their choices.
NAN also reports that highlight of the event was a master class and practical on Adire production, organised by Princess Ronke Ademiluyi, cultural ambassador to Ooni of Ife.
Adire, which comes in a variety of texture such as silk, chiffon, cotton and polyester were made by fashion designers in both English and traditional styles.