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Give us wardrobe allowance for adire, Osun workers tell gov


Civil servants in Osun State and other residents received with a mixed feeling the Adire Osun Day fixed for August 27 by the state government to promote locally made fabric. Under the initiative, the workers were directed to appear at work in adire every Thursday of the week. The state governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, announced the plan on Saturday, July 10 in Osogbo, at the launch of mass production, promotion and marketing of Adire Osun.

He stated that beyond creating jobs for the producers of the attire, ‘adire Osun’ would also bolster the image of the state, as a culturally correct and indigenous product inclined entity.

On the part of the workers, the initial concern was how compliance would be achieved without sanctions. Some other residents were also interested in how some categories of workers, whose job schedules demand them to appear in smart dresses, would cope with the attire.

Over two months after the plan was introduced, though the target of government for mass production of adire fabric was gradually being realised, compliance among workers, especially at public offices in the rural areas, has been less significant.

From observation, since the directive came into existence, every Thursday at the Osun Government Secretariat, Osogbo, some workers had been donning the colourful attire.  Apart from the workers, the governor, his wife, Kafayat and other political office holders, including aides religiously obeyed the directive.

Though sanctions were not imposed on any worker who failed to appear in adire every Thursday as directed by the government, our correspondent gathered that about 40 per cent of them wore the attire.

Adire is a tie and dye textile made in the South-West.

Why we asked workers to wear adire –Govt

Giving further explanation on the initiative, Oyetola, represented at the launch by the Secretary to the state Government, Wole Oyebamiji, said that it was to reawaken the people’s consciousness towards socio-cultural and artistic renaissance in the state.

Oyetola added that his administration had partnered with Musty Great Development and Alexandria Jones Couture, USA, to organise the International Fashion Week, for the promotion of Osun brand of Adire (Adire Eleko) for global exhibition.

Reiterating the administration’s commitment to promote and project culture to the world to draw attention and attract good revenue to the state, the governor added that his administration would continue to support the cause of employing indigenous resources to grow the state revenue base.

He also urged the residents to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the initiative to draw economic opportunities and benefits to themselves for huge economic development.

The governor said, “In furtherance of efforts of this government to preserve and promote the production of Adire Osun as well as bolster the image of Osun as a culturally correct and indigenous product inclined state, every Thursday has been declared Adire Osun Day.

‘Consequently, effective from August 27, 2021, all public and civil servants in the state shall wear Adire to work.”

As laudable as the initiative appears, various reasons have been given for lack of adherence by many workers, especially at the state secretariat.

Also, mostly through informal discussion on the issue, our correspondent could infer that some of the workers, especially those working at local governments who are far from the state capital, had a rather indifferent attitude to the idea.

A worker at Boripe North Local Council Development Authority, Iree, who spoke on condition of anonymity, hinged his indifference to the directive on what he described as the high cost of adire.

She said before the directive, the cost of purchasing the least quality of the attire was N2,500, lamenting an increase in the cost of the attire after the governor unveiled plans to revolutionise adire.

The worker stated, “I attempted to buy two designs of ‘adire’ after getting my September salary and I could not afford it. It was not a good design, yet I was asked to pay N4,000 for one. Inflation is making my salary not to be enough already, unforeseen cost of buying clothes could not be accommodated for now.’’

Similarly, a worker at the state Ministry of Finance, identified only as Oba told Sunday PUNCH that he had not been putting on adire on Thursday as directed by the government because he felt the initiative was against his fundamental rights.

Oba said, “I have not been wearing adire to office on Thursdays because I feel the directive was against my fundamental rights. I feel there is no need for anyone to tell me what to wear. No one gives me money to buy clothes. There was a directive to us workers to put on adire on Thursday. I have not been wearing it and no one has sanctioned me for it.’’

But another worker in the same ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he had been wearing adire on Thursdays to work, saying “It gives me the flexibility to select what to wear.’’

The worker added, “We wear formal dresses from the beginning of the week till Thursday. Asking us to appear in adire on Thursday is like setting us in a weekend mood. Interestingly, many workers who put on adire on Thursdays, design the fabric into what suits them. Many people are even appearing in ‘adire’ shirts.

“I agree that we were not given enough time to prepare before the takeoff of the initiative. But whoever is not wearing the fabric among the workers in Abere Government Secretariat has obviously not been observed by his or her Permanent Secretary.”

Asked if the Permanent Secretary would sanction anyone found to be flouting the order, he said there was no sanction, noting that defaulters could be dealt with through other means.

Another worker at the state Ministry of Health, who spoke to Sunday PUNCH on condition of anonymity, said the order mandating employees to wear adire once in a week was not the best way to sell the idea to them, noting that many people were currently struggling to cope with the rising cost of living.

She urged the government to allow the workers some time to ensure buy-in of the workers and other stakeholders before making the wearing of the attire compulsory.

In his contribution, a worker at the Ministry of Women Affairs identified only as Olatoye urged the government to fully integrate the workers into the goals of the initiative.

He also urged his colleagues not to work against the initiative, having known that the government would never contemplate enforcing it with sanction.

Olatoye advised his colleagues to willingly drive state policies and ensure they were successfully implemented, rather than deliberately frustrating them.

Labour unions back initiative, demand adire allowance

Speaking during separate interviews, the state chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress, Jacob Adekomi, and the state President, Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, Dr Nathaniel Ogungbangbe, welcomed the initiative.

They also urged the workers to comply with the directive, promising to further engage their members to see the importance of the initiative despite the attendant challenges.

Adekomi also called on the state government to give workers ‘adire allowance’ to further motivate and enable them to stock their wardrobe.

He said, “It is a good idea and it is a welcome development because. It is a means of encouraging our people and making them embrace our culture. It is also a means of providing employment opportunities. Anything that will provide employment for our people, the labour movement will support it. Some people were in that particular sector before now, and they must survive.

If we have been mandated to wear it on Thursdays, then it means there will be more employment opportunities for those producing it because there will be an increase in demand for the attire. Many people will be employed, as the production of the fabric will increase. Jobs will be provided for people and there will be more revenue for individuals and the government. People that want to learn the vocation will also learn. It is another source of employment apart from providing a source of income.

“But we will love it, if the state government can motivate us by providing ‘adire allowance’ for workers or support us by providing us with two or three adire types. We are using this medium to implore the governor to look into giving the workers adire allowance. That will encourage and motivate us to buy and wear the fabric. We all love adire and we want to wear it but we need money to buy it.”

Reacting to the low compliance level to the directive, especially among local government workers in council areas in the state capital, Ogungbangbe suggested that labour leaders should engage their members on the issue.

The NULGE boss said from his observation, some workers were already complying with the directive, dismissing the defence that wearing the attire during official hours could affect workers’ productivity.

“I don’t believe appearing in adire attire on Thursday will affect the productivity of a certain category of workers. I am a doctor. So, my own dress may not have to be big. This local fabric can be made into T-shirts.

“Some workers are already complying with the directive to wear adire to the office once a week. If you have been observing it, you must have seen that many people put on the attire during office hours, because we their leaders believe in the initiative. We welcome what the government wants to do and you know that once the leaders start doing it, the followers will join. By and large, on our part, we need to let our members understand that even when the government is not going to penalise anyone that refuses to wear the dress, they should realise that one of the reasons behind the initiative is to keep our cultural identity as people.

“We need to educate them more regarding this. By the time they have full understanding of the reasons; I think more people will comply. The fabric is not costly. They are not as costly as other materials we wear to social function,” Ogungbangbe stated.

Sales of adire improving


Meanwhile some Osogbo-based adire makers have said there had been an increase in sales since the initiative took off.

An adire maker at Odiolowo Area of Osogbo, Kike Badmus told our correspondent that recently more retailers had been coming to buy adire in bulk. Badmus linked the development to the directive mandating workers to put on adire to office on Thursdays.

Badmus, who said most of the materials she uses in producing the fabric are sourced locally, noted that the state government should make adire the only fabric for attendees during political parties’ and state functions.

She said that would sustain the current gradual growth the business was witnessing and highlight the government’s efforts to make local fabric production a huge business in the state.

Another fabric maker at Osun Artists’ Village, Osogbo, Arawole Gbeminiyi, stated that the government should split them into groups to get the credit facilities to improve their business capacity.

He said, “We are already seeing gradual change in patronage but our production capacity is still relatively low. This can be addressed through government intervention. They can arrange us into groups and help us to facilitate credit facilities to improve both the quantity and quality of our production. We must be able to give our patrons good quality materials.”

Adire revolution’ll boost tourism, says govt

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Civic Engagement, Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, said that the Oyetola administration, having realised that adire as an indigenous textile product prominent in Osun, should be promoted took the step to add more values to the state culture and tourism to stimulate economic growth and development.

Speaking during an interview with our correspondent, Oyintiloye said the declaration of Thursdays as “Adire Day” was in furtherance of the current administration’s efforts to boost local economy and tourism.

The governor’s aide assured that his office and other relevant government agencies would continue to engage producers of Adire on the need for quality production to meet up with global textile standard.

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