On Friday the 3rd of November 2023, a team of the organisers of the Popular Adire Carnival paid a curtsey visit to the newly appointed commissioner for Culture and tourism of Ogun State Hon. Sesan Abolaji Fagbayi in his office at the state secretariat, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta.
The commissioner who was decorated as the petron of the Maploy tourism club ahead of the curtesy call welcome the team led by Engineer Oluyemi Ogundele representing the Egbe Omo Oduduwa Austria, the main organiser of the Adire Carnival in Vienna, Austria with open hands on behalf of the State government.
The Adire Carnival is the biggest Nigeria Cultural Festival outside the shores of Nigeria. Engineer Oluyemi Ogundele who is the coordinator of the event was accompanied by some Nigerian based contributors and consultants of the event.
Prominent among them are Princess Adejoke Shomoye A.K.A. Ewa Ede, who is also known for her zero tolerance for fake Adire (China made Adire) production and exportation into Nigeria. The team also included Dr Oladunjoye Ogundele who is in charge of the logistics and exportation of the Nigerian made Adire fabrics to Europe for the Carnival. Also on the team is Mr Tobi Joseph the Creative Director Gbàgede Ẹwaede foundation. Mrs Bunmi Mustapha of the Arewa Ogun beauty pageant who was supposed to be on the team was absent due to unforseen circumstances.
During his opening remarks, Engineer Ogundele thanked the honorable commissioner for the warm reception and for receiving his team on a short notice despite the fact that he took offence only three weeks earlier. He said this shows that the honorable commissioner came prepared for the job and is ready to take the ministry to the next level.
He narrated the history of the Adire Carnival to the commissioner and his team, he also mentioned the role played my the late Chief Mrs Alaba Lawson the Iyalode of Yoruba land who died some days earlier. He explained that the Adire Carnival is part of the Nigeria Cultural Festival which started 10 years ago. The maiden event took place in June 2013. The event is to promote culture, tourism, and commerce. Thousands of bundles of Adire fabrics are being shipped to Europe for the Carnival. The Carnival also showcase different Yoruba Cultural dances, masquerades and exhibitions.
The 2016 edition showcased the Nigeria tourism industry and the 2018 edition featured the Nigeria drums exhibition. The Egungun, Gelede, and Eyo masquerades are always on display during the Carnival. In conclusion he invited the Ogun State government to partner with the Yoruba community in Austria in organising the next edition of the Adire Carnival.
Princess Adejoke Shomoye in her remarks, thanked the honorable commissioner and his team for the reception and also commended the organisers of the Adire Carnival for their effort in sustaining the Adire heritage. She however, warned that if care is not taking the rich Cultural heritage we inherited from our ancestors would be history with the way the fake and substandard Adire fabrics are being imported into our country. She said to even add salt to the injury the fabrics event find their way to the Kemta Adire market. This is abomination according to her. She narrated the result of a research conducted by her team in the Adire market space in Abeokuta.
The result is very shameful and if nothing is done very fast, the production and sales of Adire fabrics in Nigeria would be history. She explained the process of the production and the numbers of men and women who earned their living in the process. Mr Tobi Joseph of the Gbagede Ewaede foundation in his short intervention explained the need for an action plan to fight the invasion of this substandard fabrics.
Mrs Ronke Peters the director of tourism development and promotion on the honorable commissioner’s team indicated that there was a plan in the past to have an authentic Adire Ogun seal on every Adire that emanated from the gate way state and she believes that execution of this plan will help in differentiating the original from the fake one. The director of Administration and supplies Mrs Adeyemi Omotunde mentioned that since she was able to differentiate between the fake and the original, she has been educating people around her on how to identify the fake Adire fabrics. She called for sensitisation of the public on how to identify the products. The director of visual art Mr Emnanuel Ikuwe reiterate the need for the sensitisation and a government policy on importation and distribution of the China made Adire in Ogun State.
The permanent secretary of the ministry of culture and tourism Alhaja Moriam Oloko commended everyone for their contributions and concur with the suggestion to take the bull by the horn when it comes to discornggesting our markets of these fake and substandard fabrics. She said work is ongoing and that the ministry will consider all the inputs brought to table during the discussion.
The Honorable commissioner in his final remarks thanked everyone in attendance and informed all that the the governor His Excellency Dr Dapo Abiodun has zero tolerance for the importation and wearing of this fake fabrics. That he has even once sent someone out of his office for putting on a China made Adire fabric.
He promised to brief the governor on the outcome of the meeting and that he is very sure that the appropriate action will be taken to sustain the Ogun State Adire tradition. This may include the Ogun State house of assembly enacting a law that would forbid the production and sales of such substandard products in Ogun State. In conclusion, he promised to do everything within his power to ensure the participation of Ogun State in the upcoming Adire Carnival in Vienna Austria by June of 2024 and to continue with the tradition of Ogun State taking the lead in promoting Adire fabrics both home and abroad.
The director of Hotels and Allied business Mr Michael Temitope Ogunbiyi gave the vote of thanks to close the meeting.
On the honorable commissioner’s team we have: The permanent secretary of the Ogun State ministry of culture and tourism Alhaja Moriam Oloko and some of her directors:
- Director of Tourists Development and Promotion —Mrs Tokunbo-Peters O.A
- Director of Administration and Supplies — Ms Adeyemi Omotunde
- Director of Finance and Accounts —Mr Taiwo Idowu
- Director of Virtual Arts— Mr Emmanuel Ikuwe
- Director of Hotels and Allied Businesses — Mr Michael Temitope Ogunbiyi
- Director of planning Research and Statistics —Mrs Samuels Olubukola
On Engineer Oluyemi Ogundele’s team we have:
Princess Adejoke Shomoye A.K.A. Ewaede
Dr Oladunjoye Ogundele
Mr Tobi Joseph
Engineer Oluyemi Ogundele
Coordinator Adire Carnival Austria