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Aso ebi: Gate Pass To Social Gatherings

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A popular Yoruba adage says, “Eni o wo ankara o je semo” meaning:  the guest who does not wear uniform fabrics, popularly called ‘Aso ebi’ will not eat at the social gathering the fabric is meant to celebrate.
‘Aso ebi’, usually worn by family members  and friends at ceremonies, has in contemporary times,  become the gate pass to social events such as weddings, burials, harvests, ordination of religious leaders, political rallies and campaigns in Nigeria. It gives a sense of belonging to those who adorn them during the events. It equally makes the celebrator to feel loved and important.
According to Wikipedia, ‘Aso ebi’ is a uniform-attire traditionally worn in Nigeria and in some other West African countries as an indicator of cooperation and solidarity during ceremonies and festive periods.  `Aso ebi’ can be made with Ankara, Lace, ‘Aso oke’ (hand woven fabrics), Damask, George, `atiku’, `Senator’, and a host of others materials for both men and women.
The prices of these fabrics range from N500 per pack to N150,000 depending on the class, status and taste of the celebrator. They are mostly sewn in native blouse and wrapper/skirt or gown for women and native shirt and trousers/wrapper and even ‘agbada’ for men.
‘Aso ebi’ adds beauty, colour and glamour and grandeur to events.
Analysts note that guests who wear ‘Aso ebi’ to social functions are usually believed to have directly or indirectly contributed to the success of such functions.
They also argue that those determined to identify with a celebrator through adorning of ‘Aso ebi’ often do not mind the quality or market value of the fabric.
According to analysts, a guest who refuses to adorn ‘Aso ebi’ may receive cold reception especially from ushers at the event no matter how highly placed or influential he may be.
Thus, most guests purchase ‘Aso ebi’ and appear in them on the day of the events, whether convenient or not,  just to fulfill all righteousness, since they are not likely to wear them after that day.
It is also believed that some people see the purchasing of these outfits as an opportunity to acquire more clothes as they may not have the time to go to markets to buy fabrics.
A fashion designer, Mrs Seun Olujide, says an average of 10 ladies send ‘Aso ebi’ to her shop for sewing weekly because of one event or the other.
“This keeps us busy, helps us to hone our designing skills, and deepens our mastery of the art while we make a living from it.
“When our clients wear their fabrics, it gives them a sense of belonging when they get to the event venue because no one likes to feel left out. We are also fulfilled as fashion designers when our clients bring us commendation from their friends and admirers about our works.
“Personally, when I attend a wedding in ‘Aso ebi’, it increases my confidence. I don’t feel like outcast or someone who does not want to support her friend or family member,” she says.
Mr Ojo Ogidi, however, notes that some people exploit ‘Aso ebi’ buyers by selling to them at high prices, noting that this makes such people unable to sell more packs of   `Aso ebi’ because some intending buyers would have carried out market survey and observed the exploitation.
“To beat such pranks, two or more potential buyers will   jointly buy just a set, instead of the individuals buying a set each,’’ he argues.
A civil servant, Mr Funmi Ajayi, says she teamed up with four others and bought a set of lace materials for a wedding which the event host sold at a skyrocketing price.
“We decided to buy a set and share it among ourselves. Each of us gave to our fashion designer who combined it with other matching fabrics and sewed.
“Our host gave us a single gift which we gave to the oldest among us. By doing so, we contributed to the success of the wedding and were accorded the same recognition at the reception as others who bought and wore the full set of the lace material,’’ Ajayi says.
Mrs Boluwatife Alabi of April Fabrics, Lagos, is of the opinion that an event without ‘Aso ebi’ is incomplete.
“What is a wedding without the ‘Aso ebi’ ladies? What is a celebration of life without friends and family members cladding in `Aso ebi’ of various materials and styles?
“I make it a point of duty to select the best fabrics for my clients because the more colourful the fabrics, the more colourful the event will be,’’ the fabrics seller argues.
She explains that ‘Aso ebi’ sellers add a little amount to the market price of the fabrics to cover the cost of souvenirs to be given to guests.
“I am aware of instances where certain amount are added to the cost price by organisers, but that is to cover for souvenirs that will be distributed to guests during the function.”
A student, Miss Itunu Asamany, believes that ‘Aso ebi’ is vital to social functions as it serves as a means of identification with age mates, relatives, groups or friends.
“It always makes such events beautiful, colourful and well organised. The bride during her wedding will be able to identify her friends and close relatives by what they wear,’’ she says.
Asamany, however, condemns charging of outrageous prices for ‘Aso ebi’ by some celebrators. She is convinced that the high prices are exploitative and can discourage many potential `aso-ebi’ buyers.
“Some people go as far as adding 30 per cent of the cost price to the selling price; this is not fair at all.
“I won’t break a bank to please my friend. If the selling price of the ‘Aso ebi’ is beyond my budget, I will not buy it but go for what is within my power.”
However, a trader, Mr Koko Adeola, has a different view. He says he will not mind spending a huge amount of money on ‘Aso ebi’ for close friends but won’t bother doing so for an acquaintance.
“I will not buy an expensive “Aso ebi’’ from someone who is just an acquaintance. The level of relationship I have with you will determine whether I will attend your function in `Aso ebi’. A major advantage of ‘Aso ebi’ is that it helps to identify invited guests from those who gate-crashed,’’ he says.
He observes that ‘Aso ebi’ is less expensive for men. “Men are lucky when it comes to buying ‘Aso ebi’ because, many times, all they need to buy is just the cap which may not cost more than N500.’’
A businesswoman, Ada Mbah, is worried that ‘Aso ebi’ can breed unhealthy rivalry between families, especially, during entertainment and sharing of gifts at events.
“Why should  the family and friends of the groom be refused food and drinks because they are wearing a different fabric (‘Aso ebi’) from those of the bride?
“I attended an event without wearing the ‘Aso ebi’ and I was told that only people with the uniform would be entertained and given gifts.
“I was embarrassed because I bought the fabric but did not wear it to that particular occasion. I really felt bad because I was addressed very rudely and treated like outcast.
Mbah’s friend, Deborah Ige, is of the opinion that a guest can still be treated badly even when wearing Aso ebi. She recalls when she was ignored during entertainment at a ceremony even with her ‘Aso ebi’.
He says: “I bought the fabric for the event, but when it was time for entertainment, I only got a bottle of water.’’
According to her, getting the required attention during social gatherings with or without ‘Aso ebi’ will depend on planning.
“There are instances where the population of the guests is  more than what the host has budgeted for; he or she will  resort to rationing foods and drinks,’’ she argues.
A marketer,  Mr Joseph Omojola,  is of the opinion that since ‘Aso ebi’ has become the trending gate pass to events whether secular or religious, there is the need for more security consciousness to ensure that criminal elements do not disguise as family members or friends by wearing the ‘Aso ebi’.
Analysts are convinced that wearing ‘Aso ebi’ is a major way of promoting African culture, and if well managed, will reduce foreign influence on Africans’ dressing.
They suggest that African governments should do more to promote local production of the indigenous fabrics at affordable costs and consider using them for school uniforms and office wears on certain days of the week.
Onijala writes for News Agency of Nigeria.

 

Busayo Onijala

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Women

What Women Should Know In Marriage

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Every married person should be able to quit childish ways for a long lasting marriage.
Growing up in marriage means keeping the vows made during holy matrimony, obeying the rules guiding marriage. Love your spouse and treat him/her kindly. Growing up is being able to hold intelligent discussions with your partner.
Do not allow problems to make you expose your spouse in the public.
When married, you kick out childish behaviours. These days, you see a lot of people unable to manage their emotions well.
Do not take up relationship when you still think like a child. If you are not ready to take up responsibility, do not go into marriage. You may be having money or being financially buoyant, but maturity matters a lot. How you respond to issues matters a lot in your marriage. When arguments come up, it should not lead to a point where couples start destroying valuable items in the home.
Do not get angry all the time. Anger causes destruction in a home that might have been built for several years. Do not be like kids, who want to throw away toys when they get angry.
In marriage, the woman is responsible to the husband and the man should be accountable to the wife. Marriage requires new skills in communication if it will work well.
The woman needs to grow up to be able to manage the home. Managing the home is not a child’s play.
You have to build a home that will suit your taste. Sweet homes were built by people. When your spouse gets angry, you put yourself into his or her shoes. Showing empathy to each other will help to run the family smoothly.
Appreciating the woman who does all the house work alone is good. From childbearing through nurturing them till they become adults rest squarely on the woman.
Building formidable marriage is not just for two people but for everybody around them. The woman should care for her in-laws and others in her care. Treating other children like her biological children.
In marriage, treat your spouse better than you handle your phones. Priority should be given to your spouse instead of phones. Some women can get glued to their phones for a longer period instead of attending to their husbands. Activities in your phones should not take all your time as your spouse is more important than them.
Some men often complain about their wives’ addiction to their phones.
There was the issue of a woman that was accused by her husband about getting glued to her phone always and the reason she gave was that her husband was not coming home when he should come. She said as a result of that, she needed something to keep her busy.
Avoid the habit of sleeping with your phones. It is disrespectful when a spouse is talking to a partner and she is attending to a phone or internet. This is a habit women should work on as it is in many homes. Experts say that it leads to emotional gaps.
In marriage, communication is key. Communication must be a two- way thing. When a partner is talking, the other must respond and not just nodding his or her head.
Couples need to be together for bonding. Relationship with children is temporary while that with spouse is more permanent. When children grow up and get married, they will leave the home while husband and wife will live on forever. You see where husband and wife will be living in a big house.
A spouse should be able to accommodate eath other’s weakness.
Do you know that home is a person. Life can give you everything you desire but can be disastrous if there is no love.
Do not allow fear to rule you while trying to show love in building your home. A situation where you think that after building a home and it tears apart in future. This should be discouraged.
When you grow up in marriage, you build formidable marriage.

Eunice Choko-Kayode

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Women

Women Can Eradicate Child Abuse In Homes

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It is disheartening to note how in the 21st century, some women abuse the rights of both their children and wards. No day passes without getting information on how a child was beaten with an object or harmful substance used on a child for little errors that should not lead to provocation.
The role of women in
curbing child abuse can never be over-emphasised.  Mothers are the ones who nurture and groom their offsprings and wards whether, biological children or adopted.
It is necessary that any child who falls under the supervision of a mother, be responsible to that woman.
Shaping the life of a child depends so much on the mother, even if certain percentage of care is being expected from a father.  The mother starts nurturing a child from age zero till the adolescent stage.  She should always do a follow-up at every stage of development of every child in her care.
Within the period of growth, if there are negative tendencies exhibited by the child, the mother should be able to identify before the child goes to school. This is because the child starts learning from the home.
When you talk about child abuse, it starts from the home and the way every child is treated matters a lot.
The menace called child abuse is something that every hands must be on deck to ensure it is eradicated in the society. The major agent of eradication is the mother.
There are various forms of child abuse.  You may discover that for every form of the menace, the woman is involved and should be held responsible for its consequences.
Of course, it is clear that child abuse does not have any positive impact on the society except the perpetrators of the act.  Some persons derive joy in seeing either their own children or other’s children being denied their rights to accomplish their own goals.
According to UNICEF in 1989, child abuse is the portion of harm to children that results from human action or inaction  that is proscribed, proximate and preventable.
The African Network for the Prevention or Protection against Child Abuse or Neglect (ANPPCAN), looked at child abuse as the intentional, unintentional or well-intentional act, which endangers the physical, health, emotional, moral and the educational welfare of the child.
Broadly, it means maltreatment of a child. It is any form of action that brings about physical, mental, psychological and social torture to the child.
When you talk about child labour, which includes buying and selling, most times, a woman will intentionally send the child out for hawking with the aim of making money. A situation where a woman’s children will be in school and she finds pleasure in sending a house help out potends danger to that child.
Just recently, when pimary and secondary schools resumed for third term, a woman told her househelp to resume school one week after resumption, thereby dening her classes for the first week of resumption.
A woman should not send an adopted child out to the neighbourhood alone to fetch water when her own children are idle because her role is to protect every child in her care, whether biological or not.
When you talk about child trafficking, apart from children being in school, the mother should be aware of the location of the child at every time. Monitoring the children should be the watchword of every committed mother. When a woman is careless about the whereabouts of the child, that child can be picked up from any location without her knowledge.
A woman should not express anger on everything the child does at home.   A child/ward can be corrected for wrong doing without being battered.  It has been discovered in some homes that child battering has led to death or deformity of some children. A mother should know the kind of punishment a child deserves for correction.
An undergraduate teenage student who was housed by another woman because the student was unable to secure accommodation in the university had it rough with the woman that it got to a point where she slapped the girl during examination period. She never considered that maltreating her could affect her performance in the semester academic work.
No matter the level of provocation, you don’t slap a student who is writing examination.
Some women neglect their children by sending them to others for inability to provide basic needs in the home.  Every responsible woman should be able to have the number of children she can cater for.  While the child is in another woman’s house, no one knows how many meals he or she takes in a day.
Sending a child out for hawking, especially a female, signals danger to the girl.  That is a simple way of exposing her to sexual abuse.  Some irresponsible persons with the pretence of buying something from her can lure her into undesirable sexual abuse.  The danger in this is that it can lead to unwanted pregnancy and contracting of STDs and HIV/AIDS.
Most rape cases that have been recorded are as a result of sending a girl out to hawk.
There is no harm in asking children to assist in selling so as to make up in the home, but if they are to sell in a kiosk no matter how little it may be, a mother can monitor the children there.
A mother should know that giving a child under the age of 18 out for marriage is an abuse. Women must nurture the children to maturity before sending them out in marriage because the dangers of underage marriage are devastating. When an underaged girl is given out for any reason for marriage, it must be remembered that any consequences that arise from that will fall back on the mother.
A mother should not send her child or ward out for prostitution in order to make money.
Parents and guardians, especially mothers should be more educated and more awareness acquired on why they should pay more attention to their children and wards.

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Women

The Wise Woman

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The wise woman builds her home. Mothers are supposed to live exemplary lives. The roles of mothers in the building of the modern Christian home cannot be overemphasized.
The function of the mother is to help the man build the home. She is a helper. A helper to the husband when the man is not doing well. It is important for the wise woman to assist when the man is not able to meet up with the items needed in the home.
A wise woman needs to reference God first and then the husband. Also the wise woman should respect her husband.
Caring for her own children as well as others is very crucial.
Do not despise children from other mothers. Discipline the child who is going the wrong way.
Ensure family bonding, show love and don’t discriminate. Connection with children is very important, especially the females. Find out who is her friend. Also find out the kind of lives they live. Caution, counsel and guide so that they make good partners.
Teaching children the dos and donts should start from birth. Inculcate the word of God in them so that when they grow, will not depart from it.
From the Scripture, some women influenced their families positively. Virgin Mary influenced the world, she never destroyed herself hence she gave birth to Jesus Christ.
Elizabeth, despite her age, God blessed her as she waited patiently.
A wise should curb favouritism in the family and love children equally. Whether a child is your biological child or not, it is necessary to show love equally. Reprimanding the children should be the function of both man and wife.

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