Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, the Oluwo of Iwo, has called for the outright ban of foreign jeans in the country for economic growth and to aid the promotion of local fabrics, culture and tradition.
The leading Yoruba monarch also decried the infiltration of religion into culture, urging traditional rulers to be alive to the task of drawing the line between the culture and religion.
Oba Akanbi, who spoke on Wednesday in a statement titled, ‘Ban foreign jeans, promote local fabrics; Oluwo tasks Federal Government,’ made available to journalists by his Press Secretary, Alli Ibrahim, lamented that the abandoning the Yoruba culture and tradition would lead to extinction and outright loss of identity.
The monarch urged the Federal Government to promote the production of local suit, jeans and agbada using Ofi fabric through partnership deal with the Bank of Industry.
According to him, the best way to encourage the youths and teenagers to take interest in wearing of Aso Oke is by sewing it in modern way that would be smart and appealing to the youths.
The monarch, who said that he experimented by sewing the fabrics local fabrics into trendy styles, said, “I want to task the Federal Government to outrightly ban the importation of foreign jeans into Nigeria and promote local jeans made with Ofi to aid job opportunities.
“To influence the children and the youths you must think like them. We cannot compel our youths to start wearing agbada made of Aso Oke or Aso Ofi. I branded Aso Oke. Our traditional clothes and accessories are demonstration of rich culture and luxuries of wealth. Sadly, our people affiliated wearing Ofi and local accessories to paganism, hence, our children begin to run away from it.
“You only see a Yoruba child wearing Ofi and using beads at either wedding or naming ceremony. You cannot see Alfa or Pastor wearing Ofi or using beads to Mosque or Church.
“As traditional rulers, we have the role of clearly differentiating between the culture and religion. The infiltration is scaring to our children as the culture has been lumped with traditional religion. It is disheartening. Our culture is clean and it has to be promoted and clearly distinguished to be acceptable to the younger generation.
“Again, I want to say that the Federal Government should consider outright ban of foreign jeans to promote local fabrics and boost Nigeria’s economy. As a custodian of culture, I can say that the infiltration of religion into our cultural values, most especially the Yorubas, is dangerous. Traditional rulers have role to play in distinctively differentiating our culture from religion.
“I earlier discussed partnership deal with the Bank of Industry on the promotion of local fabrics but it did not yield as expected. I hope that the Federal Government would show interest in embracing and domesticating production of dresses such as suit, jeans and agbada using Ofi fabrics.
I sew the local fabrics into different trendy styles. I shall partner celebrities and the Nigerian government to sew new styles to gain acceptability among the youths.
“I will lead the struggle to clean our culture and promote cultural accessories. I will provide technical requirements to assist the government in actualization of the dream. Aso Oke should also be used to sew suits and all office, school and religious wears. This will increase the demand for the local fabric and create job opportunities for weavers. While it will promote our culture, we will also spend less on importation of foreign clothes.”