Obasanjo Urges FG to Ban Importation of Adire from China

As part of efforts to revitalise the local production of adire, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has urged the Federal Government to ban the importation of the stuff from China in order to revive the nation’s textile industries.

He said the efforts would protect local production of adire at a time when raw materials used in the production of adire, such as clothes, can no longer be locally sourced.

Obasanjo stated this while declaring open the 2024 Canada Trade Mission pre-conference session held in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on Monday.

The event was organised by Solteque Nigeria Limited.

While lamenting the bastardization of the adire market by Chinese products, the former president also called for the establishment of a formal training institution where people would learn how to produce adire and be certified.

He said: “I want to appreciate the traditional rulers who attended this event; you have shown that you are real custodians of culture. People are saying China wants to bastardise our awful product; if not, we don’t value what we have. I want to commend the Ogun State government for the initiative of Oja Itoku for a direct market. It is good, but not good enough if we don’t have direct sellers in the market.

“We used to buy clothes for the production of adire in Kano, Kaduna, and Ado-Ekiti, but there is nothing like that anymore. If we want to produce adire, where would we get the clothes to produce it? What we have to do is for direct sellers, manufacturers, and those who promote it to join hands together.

“What the government needs to do for us is not much. The first thing the government needs to do for us is revive the textile industry. Let us beg them to do that for us. The second one is the formal training institution where people will learn how to produce adire and get certified at the end of the period of their learning.

“Let us beg the government to do all they can to protect our local production of adire so that the Chinese will not have access to bastardise it for us. The government should ban the importation of Chinese adire, not only for adire alone, but for all other things we produce in Nigeria.

“I want to urge you not to only rely on the Adire Sellers Association alone; let’s join hands with those who promote Adire and other stakeholders to have an association that will be named ‘Adire Association’ with chapters where Abeokuta will be the headquarters, and I’m ready to devote myself as the patron of the association.”

Speakers at the event, including the promoter of the 2024 Canada Trade Mission, Chief Olawale Olaleye; Chief Executive Officer of Pelican Valley, Babatunde Adeyemo; and Permanent Secretary, Ogun State Ministry of Culture & Tourism, Mrs. Oluwatosin Oloko, harped on harnessing artisans and local talents for the international market ahead of the 2024 trade mission.

In his address, Pelican CEO Adeyemo disclosed that the potential in the real estate business could attract investment into the country from Nigerians in the diaspora and improve the nation’s foreign exchange.

“I want to show you the opportunity in real estate investment. This is an avenue for you to see someone who has successfully invested in real estate and wants to exhibit it to enlighten and motivate others. God gave me the privilege to start a real estate business with a modest amount of money.

“One of our clients is the convener of this event. Our relationship with him is what brought him back to Nigeria. After he had bought the land and built his home on our estate, he was convinced to come back home. He established this company that also took this initiative in order to help his people, not just him. In Pelican Valley, we have been able to drag over 400 Nigerians into the diaspora back home. From his camp (Manitoba), there are close to 100 people who have bought land from us.

“Let me, first of all, link this programme to real estate, as we want to export it. We don’t really know that real estate is one of the areas that is explorable. Real estate is something that people can also take advantage of and exploit to bring more development to Ogun State and Nigeria in general.

“For example, in Pelican Valley Nigeria Limited, we have been able to attract about 1,000 Nigerians in the diaspora directly; one of them is the convener of this event, who is bringing marvellous development. Imagine what other Nigerians in the diaspora could do to add value to Ogun State and Nigeria in general.

“It is very important that we take advantage of this. We should also take advantage of the real estate sector because the people we are bringing in will eventually become taxpayers in Ogun State. They will come home to settle down with dollars and other foreign currencies.

“I started this business with barely N2 million about 13 years ago, but to the glory of God, our investment is fast becoming a household name today. If you want to start a real estate investment, you must do it with integrity. Integrity is what gives a name to Pelican Valley. We always get government approval and put all the necessary amenities on our land or estate before pushing out products.

“Nigerians in diaspora got to know me through the internet, and when they bought land from us, they saw integrity in us. We have sold land to many Nigerians in the diaspora without being there before. Due to my integrity, Nigerians in the diaspora have facilitated a 10-year Canadian visa for me, likewise a visiting visa to the United Kingdom, and they have invited me to other countries as well. We have been honest, transparent, and diligent in our real estate business”, he said.