A cap is a form of headgear with a crown that fits closely to the head. Caps never come with brims, though some of them have visors. Purposes for wearing caps vary, though chief among them is the provision of warmth for the head (in temperate regions) while those with visors are meant shield the eyes from direct rays of the sun. In Africa and some other parts of the world, caps have been used fashion statements. Mobutu Sese Seko, the former President of Zaire (now Congo Democratic Republic) was known for his trademark leopard skin cap.
In Nigerian politics, decades ago, Chief Obafemi Awolowo was known for a particular type of cap which is still worn by his followers and admirers till date. Caps still form part of fashion statement, especially by celebrities who wear them in special ways.
Not many people have seen Nigeria’s Second Republic Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme putting on any other cap save for his now famous red cap. The cap in Igbo land symbolizes honour and is normally worn by men who are seen as respectable men in that part of the country.
Another man that has been consistent in his style is the former Senate President and current Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim. Like Dr Ekwueme, Anyim wears the respectable red cap.
Many have also wondered whether Hon Emeka Ihedioha has only one cap. The secret however is that the Deputy Speaker of the House of Reps has decided to create his own style with his green cap. Fortunately, he knows how to blend his colours with it so that the cap goes well with anything he wears. Since he became the Deputy Speaker, he has not been caught wearing any other style or colour. The cap has become a sort of identity for him.
Being a top rated monarch, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III does not wear any other thing apart from traditional Yoruba attires. The Alaafin is a lover of the traditional “Abeti Aja” dog ear) cap. An in most parts of Yorubaland and beyond, it is public knowledge that the Aare Musulumi of Nigeria, Alhaji Arisekola Alao and the Alaafin are very close. Like the Alaafin, Aare is a traditional style icon. He wears only white well-embroidered agbada outfits. The only times Aare can be caught wearing anything other than his trademark abeti aja cap is when he is putting on a turban.
Over the past few decades, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, the Dan Masanin Kano has been in national reckoning. He served as the Federal Commissioner for Public Complaints as well as Nigeria’s Representative to the United Nations. Maitama Sule has a special love for Moroccan styled Fez caps, though he sometimes wears the traditional Hausa tagiya.
Everything about Otunba Olasubomi Balogun depicts royalty. And over the past few decades, he has become one of the yardsticks of measuring success. Except he chooses to wear suits, it is extremely difficult to catch the Olori Omoba Akile Ijebu wearing a colour other than white. He has his cap made in a unique style that does not require any bending.
The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku is one man Nigerians see or hear from every day. He wears a trademark tagiya, similar to the one worn by Alhaji Shehu Shagari in his days as Nigeria’s President.
Former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu too has a style of his own. No matter the colour, all his caps are made to carry the same design in terms of embroidery. That, with his round framed glasses have become “Asiwaju’s logo”.
Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun is one other politician who created his own style. Right from his days in the Senate, “SIA” had evolved the “onilegogoro” cap style which is fast becoming a fad in and around Ogun State.
Many of those who know Dr Olusegun Rahman Mimiko well are not surprised the “Awolowo styled cap” is part of his dressing. Iroko coordinated the youth wing of the Unity Party of Nigeria, led by the late sage in the Second Republic. He has been wearing the cap long before he became Governor and his love for simple but well cut outfits too has become a distinguishing feature.
Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State wears caps similar to the one worn by Dr Mimiko. He however seems to have a preference for two colours; brown and black. Both colours go well with anything he puts on.
In Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore’s is known for his peculiar way of bending his cap forward as against the sideways preferred by most Yoruba men. Though many believe the style was copied from Late Chief Sunday Alawode fondly called “007”, one of Modakeke’s biggest politicians in the Second Republic, those who knew Chief Alawode well have been able to differentiate in that Alawode’s caps usually had pointed ends while Omisore allowed his own to rest on the remaining part of the cap.
Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha, the Governor of Imo State too wears different colours but a close look will tell anyone that the caps are of the same design.
One man whose cap found its way into the news late last year is Honourable Farouk Lawan. Lawan who has represented the Bagwai/ Shanono Federal Constituency of Kano State for the past 14 years. Lawan has been enmeshed in a legal tussle over the fuel subsidy scam. His cap became notorious when it was alleged that it suddenly turned to a bank during the subsidy issue.
Musician Jesse King too has successfully created a style. His cap reminds many of Owu Abeokuta war chiefs of old. He introduced the cap in the video of his debut album, “Buga”. Since then, the long cap with a well rounded end which stretches almost to his waistline has become his identity.