The products of tying and dyeing of fabrics are called “adire’’ cloths among the Yoruba while its production and use is believed to have evolved among the Egba in Ogun.
Traditionally, the production chain of “adire’’ presents job opportunities for the locals in different vocations such as dye experts, designers, cloth sellers and distributors, among others.
Researchers note that the craft used to be a family business in Egba which has become popular and acceptable among Nigerians and the neighbouring countries, irrespective of its origin.
According to them, “adire’’ is the major local craft by the women who use a variety of dye techniques in their entrepreneurial and artistic efforts to produce various design of “adire’’ textile for both the local and national market.
Leveraging the job opportunities presented by this sector, the Ogun government recently took a decision to provide training and support for entrepreneurs to access skills on “adire’’ fashion.
In the state government’s view, the initiative will drive the industry, create jobs and improve the livelihoods of communities.
The government said it is supporting small firms to move up the value chain with potential for neighbourhood growth and development by upgrading the textile design and fashion production hub in the state.
Commissioner for industry, trade and investment Kikelomo Longe, said the plan of the government is to establish an academy for high-potential designers and fashion entrepreneurs to produce unhindered.
She said the academy would increase number of “adire’’ business in the state by training workers to sew, cut fabrics, make patterns and operate emerging technology in fashion.
According to her, the government is ready to drive more entrants into the industry with the hope of engaging unemployed youths.
Beyond this, the initiative will increase the production of “adire’’ to enable more entrepreneurs to tap into the benefit of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to export products duty-free.
This initiative has also brought relief to some youths that have expressed concern about unemployment rate across the country.
For instance, Mr Adeola Mukaila and like other entrepreneurs in Abeokuta, note that “adire’’ has offered priceless opportunities and ingenious pathways to economic empowerment.
Mukaila runs a tied and dyed “adire’’ factory in Abeokuta that he takes over from his family after graduating as a Higher National Diploma in Accounting at the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta.
He explains that his foray into the “adire’’ business dates back to his undergraduate years by which he was paying his tuition from proceeds of the business.
“Soon after I completed my education, I became committed fully to the business, taking it as a full time occupation, because I couldn’t secure a job.
“My mother was into “adire’’ making from 1978 and I was born in 1979. She trained me with the proceeds from the business right from primary school level to National Diploma level (ND).
“I also sponsored myself for my Higher National Diploma (HND) programme with the profits I made from this adire business,’’ he said.
He says “adire’’ making has taken him far and wide — from one higher institution to another — where he has been called upon to facilitate training on the art.
He claims he has trained students at the Pan African University of Life Earth and Sciences (PAULESI) on how to dye and tie.
He urged youths in the country not to undermine the opportunities of small scale entrepreneurship.
According to him, vocations such as“adire’’ production can provide jobs for unemployed youths, who may subsequently become employers of labour instead of looking for white collar jobs.
“This work has been of great benefit to me, I live in my own house and I am sending my children to school from the proceeds of this very lucrative business.
“Youths should not look for white collar jobs as there are many alternatives in Nigeria that can provide stable income,’’ he notes.
Mukaila appreciates government’s initiative but pleads for more funding of the sector to develop the tie and dye method of cloth-making.
“We are still using the methods of the18th centuries in the 21st century in adire-making.
“In the 18th century, they were using kaliko fabric to make adire and in the 19th century we were using bureke but now we are using Guinea Brocade, satin and so many other materials. So, to improve on adire production, we need funding,’’ he said.
Sharing similar sentiments, the Director, Pan Atlantic University of Life Earth and Sciences (PAULESI), Prof. Titilayo Akinlabi, said entrepreneurship is of great importance because it has the ability to improve standards of living and create wealth not only for the entrepreneurs but also for connected businesses.
She observed that the institution’s council, having realised the importance of small scale enterprise to individual and societal development, includes entrepreneurial skills acquisition as part of its curriculum.
She said, “If we equip our students they can then go out there and make good use of the skills learnt to create the jobs.”
She explained that the institution understands the numerous benefits of entrepreneurship more, especially towards the achievement of PAULESI strategic plan.
Akinlabi said the PAULESI Entrepreneurship Hub is to equip students and staff with the skills and mindset of entrepreneurs.
“The hub will provide opportunities for students who desire to go into entrepreneurship and ensure that they are funded and supported.
“Teaching entrepreneurship skills will also promote transformative research, education, innovation and business start-ups in PAULESI.
“Through the innovation hub, there will be seed grants so students would like to take their skills further.
“They will be getting some seed grants to launch what they want to do and they will have the space and funding to develop it further.
“These will help them to establish themselves in the entrepreneurship skills we are teaching them,’’ she observes.
Some students of PAULESI who have been taught how to make soaps, sanitiser and “adire’’ at training facilitated by Mukaila, notes that acquiring entrepreneurship skills provides them with ideas that they can turn into profit-making ventures.
Also, Amina Hussein, a postgraduate student at PAULESI from Sudan, says she has learnt how to make soap and sanitiser.
“I have also learnt how to produce Nigerian adire, though it’s not alien to me as we do it in Sudan. We print but the methods here in Nigeria is different, using colours, I really like it.
“Whenever I have the chance, I would like to produce my own soap, sanitiser and even adire.
“If I have a chance to set this up as a business, I would love to explore the knowledge gained from the entrepreneurship workshop from PAULESI to establish my own business,’’ she notes.
Mr Babafemi Obideyi, another student of the instituition, said he intends to use the ideas of tie and dye of the “adire’’ fabric that he learnt from the workshop to build a profitable business.
“I have been seeing it (adire) around but having practical knowledge of it gives me a chance to think of what else I can do, what other materials I can bring in, and how I can make my own designs.
“I will like to come up with something specific and spectacular about my design, and from there, upscale it to become an entrepreneur.
“If I find myself in another environment where the craft is not popular, I can export it there and make some profit while promoting the Nigerian tie and dye, the adire’’, he explains.
Similarly, the former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Prof. Lateef Sanni, explained that `adire’’ sector will equip the youths to create job for themselves and become self-reliant.
He observed further that the role of youth as a catalyst and engine of growth, as well as the primary source of opportunities for productive employment, has widely been recognised.