Ganiyu Ibikunle is the President of Adire Eleko Osun Association in Osun State Nigeria, He is a versatile and seasoned indigenous adire maker. A member of MBO – Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME). He has been in the industry for 19 years and participated in different textile art exhibitions, and trade fairs, and trainer on adire fabrics production with National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), National Directorate of Employment (NDE), and stakeholder in adire industry.
He spoke in an interview with Daily Mail Nigeria on the dangers posed by the Chinese Print Kampala to Adire Industry in Nigeria. Below are the excerpts:
The adire industry is not known to the Nigerian government at all levels and it is yet to be tapped to create many opportunities for the Nigerians mostly the youth. The industry is embedded with different potentials and resources to change the economy to enhance the standard of living and support the community. In the same way, the Nollywood industry is enhanced by the government, also adire industry needs to be supported to add more value to our local content and cultural tourism in Nigeria. Adire industry can create jobs for millions of Nigerian youths through the creation of a common facility to produce finished good products and ready-to-wear dresses for export, increase the National Gross Domestic Product and increase our foreign reserve to strengthen our economy. Due to the neglect of this industry by the government, they are bound to lose billions of naira while focusing on the infrastructural facilities day in and day out. Right now, we need to focus on building young entrepreneurs who will contribute to nation-building and governance as best international practice.
Question: Is there any distinction between Kampala and Adire
The word Kampala named after a cloth originated from the name of a place in East Africa. A city called Kampala in Uganda known as a tourist destination acclaimed the name for tie and dye patterns, there is more to it than just the textile. In Nigeria, Kampala is the general name but it is a foreign name. In Southwest Nigeria, Adire is the popular indigenous name for tie and dye fabrics till now. Under it, we have adire (‘adi’ – ‘are’) also known as Kampala by the people, we also have an indigenous tie and dye called adire ibile either Eleso or Eleko, known in the past with use of local leaf called “Elu”. The modern adire is called Batik that’s wax resistance methodology, with use of imported dye from China.
*Creating local dye through Adire industry
In south-west Nigeria, we are endowed with agriculture but our government didn’t see the opportunities in green plantation instead they are patronizing the imported goods from oversea which renders our currency valueless and useless. We are importing dye stuff from oversea and neglected our potential in agriculture to produce our local dye, we can make our local dye the way it was made here before we were colonized by colour people, every resource needed is here in Nigeria but ‘WE ARE WESTENIZED BY COLOUR PEOPLE NOT WHITE” if our mothers in the olding days could excel in adire dye (traditional indigo) why can’t we make it again in different colours? Let us improve on our local dye, we have the leaf called ‘ELU’ abundantly in the forest and also do the plantation here. Do we need to be supporting other countries’ economies? All hands should be on deck, and the Government and other stakeholders should encourage local production through the creation of small cottage industries.
Who is to blame? Government agencies or adire merchants? This issue surrounding the importation of the Chinese print Kampala that flux the market is caused by the neglect of local adire that’s produced here. Government must create enabling environment for the adire makers to be able to produce locally for our people and export them. Instead, the government is more into the construction of roads, schools, and other amenities that are not bringing revenue to the nation’s economy directly, recurrent expenditure and capital expenditure worth 70% are allocated to the budget every year. We need to raise thousands of young entrepreneurs in Nigeria to make the country great in the future, creating more industries and supporting them will bring goodies to the people and encourage more investors to come for investment in Nigeria.
The local content policy must be taken seriously to stop the influx of Chinese print Kampala in Nigeria and non-oil export products like local adire must be protected by law to stop the importation and to promote the local adire. Billions of naira are rolling back to the china economy without seeing clearly that we are ruining the Nigerian economy at nothing as we are merchandizing the Chinese print Kampala in Nigeria. The government agency that is regulating the importation needs to be alerted and understand the consequences when importation is dominated by such an economy as Nigeria.
If the importation of the Chinese print Kampala is controlled, the merchant won’t have the advantage of trading the imported print Kampala, the policy regulating the importation of foreign goods which are also produced locally in Nigeria needs to be enacted into law and the penalty to whosoever violated the policy with 5 years’ jail as a penalty for who violated the policy.
The so-called Chinese print Kampala has nothing to contribute to the nation’s economy rather than increasing unemployment among the youths, hardship, and unsuitable business environment for the adire makers and rendering our currency useless and valueless. If action is not taken now, the influx of Chinese print Kampala which also started as a result of stealing our local adire design to their country for mass print production and returning them to the Nigeria market will collapse the economy, we need to pay seriously attention to developing the adire industry.
I want to call on all the adire groups and associations across the states in Nigeria to form a national body to stop the influx of the Chinese print Kampala in Nigeria. All hands need to be on deck to advocate the development of the adire industry in supporting the nation’s economy, through the creation of youth employment, and enhancement of our export potential, this will help in improving our exchange rate and increasing the GDP.
Importantly, I am calling for a stand-alone policy to drive the industry. The use of local adire made in Nigeria must be backed by law to promote our cultural heritage and tourism. This will enforce all the government agencies responsible for the promotion of non–oil export products to act accordingly on banning the Chinese print Kampala in the Nigerian market.
Our government at all levels, needs to invest in building the adire industry to enhance the state and local economy. This will help in providing gainful employment for the people especially, the youth, creating small businesses that will help in building a strong economy rather than encouraging the importation of what we are producing locally in Nigeria.