ABUJA – Mr Sunday Apeji, a researcher on medicinal plants on Friday urged Nigerians to promote and patronise Made-in-Nigeria goods in the drive towards rapid national development and self-reliance.
Apeji made the call at the ongoing two-day Made-in-Nigeria Products and Services exhibition in Abuja.
He urged Nigerians to look inwards and patronise indigenous products, noting that this was crucial in promoting the country’s cultural heritage.
Apeji said the essence of the exhibition was to showcase locally made products and attest to their high quality to members of the public.
“At this fair, I’ve been able to meet people who are now aware of my products and know that I’m also contributing my quota to building the country’s economy.
“In my effort, I have been able to research on medicinal plants which people call weeds; we do research work on them, compound them and formulate them into drugs for curing ailments such as malaria, diabetes, hepatitis and more.
“Many people say that food is first but I say health is first, because if a person is sick, he can’t eat.
“We should stop destroying our culture; if we do, it means we have no legacy to hand over to our children; we should also stop throwing our currency away by patronising foreign goods as this encourages capital flight,
“Some countries have promoted their culture through tourism and are making their money; a lot of us are buying foreign things, let the foreigners also buy our own and see what it looks like’’
Apeji described Nigerian dress styles as dynamic, urging the public to explore the potentialities that abound in the country’s fabrics industry, to promote the nation’s culture.
“ When it comes to our culture, there should be dynamism in the use of our fabrics; we should not limit them or else they won’t be appealing to the youths.
“I have seen some concepts, let us make them more fashionable so that the youths can get to appreciate and embrace their culture.
“Let us also make it a policy to wear our indigenous attires when visiting other countries and by so doing, we can get the foreigners to appreciate our culture.
“We won’t be killing our culture if we promote them through our way of life, because even animals have culture,” Apeji stressed.
Mrs Aisha Abubakar, a fashion designer, told NAN that her mission was to show Nigerians that some of the skills they thought were far-fetched are here in Nigeria.
“We are here to create awareness about our products, so Nigerians can patronise their home-made products.
“The world has gone global; we can’t live in isolation anymore; we can integrate some of these foreign cultures into our fabrics and we won’t loose their essence which is modesty and values.
“We are trying to make our fabrics trendy to suit Nigerians, especially the youths, in order to make our wears attractive and appealing to them.
“In this drive, we will be empowering our citizens and supporting our country’s economy to grow,” Abubakar added.
In his remarks, Mr Akin Tunde, a foot wear producer, told NAN: We are here to let Nigerians know we can really learn and excel any trade or endeavour on which we focus our minds.
“My aim is to sell the brand name and pursue the marketing of our products. By exposing the company, Nigerians who want to learn the trade can come to us..
He urged the three tiers of government to increase their efforts in skills acquisition by motivating entrepreneurs to engage the youths in meaningful economic ventures.
“We must focus especially on youths by attracting them more to our culture. We should expose them more to our products through good colour combinations and finishing of the products, to make them beautiful and appealing to the eye,” Tunde said.
Another fashion designer, Mrs Sandra Ibe, stressed that Nigeria has a beautiful mix of culture that should be appreciated by people who love good things .
“It is time to get Nigerians to appreciate what they have; we have talents and creative ability in this country.
“We can motivate the youths to embrace our culture by making trendy and good combinations with our fabrics.
“I’m happy to be here and people who saw my products didn’t believe they were actually made in Nigeria.
“Talents abound in Nigeria. We have what it takes, so let’s patronise our products.’’ Ibe said. (NAN)