Aso-Ofi Festival has become a way of life for people and residents of Iseyin Town, in Oyo State. The festival has over the years preserved the rich cultural values and tradition of the people of Iseyin, while it also conserves it. The annual festival takes place every December, marking the hallmark of the rich two day-long aso-ofi festival.

Aso-ofi is a special hand-woven cloth and over centuries has become somewhat of the style marker of the Yoruba tribe.

The festival begins with a rally, carnival and ends with spectacular scenery of a rich display of the traditionally woven fabric, Aso-ofi by attendees.

Iseyin is a town located in Oyo state. It is approximately 100 km north of Ibadan. The city was estimated to have a population of 236,000. Iseyin is the fourth largest city in Oyo state, after Ibadan, Ogbomoso and Oyo. Iseyin is also known as the home of Aso Òfi.

The primary industry of the area is cotton-based textiles. Aso Òfì is a popular traditional fabric mostly used for ceremonies amongst the Yoruba people of Nigeria.

The town is the seat of the Aseyin of Iseyin land, HRM Oba Ganiyu Adekunle Salau Ologunebi Ajinese I and home to the largest market of Aso-Ofi in Africa. The people of Iseyin are adjudged to be the most receptive, among the Nothern residents of Oyo State.

However, Iseyin, is still popularly called the food basket of the nation. This is so, because it is majorly an agrarian suburb of Oyo State.

Till date, Iseyin’s primary industry is cotton-based textiles. This gives Iseyin the unique reputation as the home of Aso Ofi or Aso Oke, a popular traditional fabric.

Aso-Ofi is worn on special occasions by the Yorubas for ceremonies such as coronations, wedding ceremonies, festivals, naming ceremonies and other events.

Iseyin has a private Polytechnic named SAF Polytechnic, Iseyin, a Government Technical College and the Oyo state NYSC (National Youth Service Corps) permanent orientation camp.

The town also has large expanse of land for Tobacco amongst other food and cash crops. Yes,  British American Tobacco – has a “leaves office” in the Iseyin. Friesland Campina (Wamco) has a milk processing center in the city.

According to history, Aso-Ofi weaving was created around the 15th century and since then it has become a phenomenon.
Aso oke festival has become a celebration of life and unity.

The maiden Aso-Ofi festival was observed on September 27, 2016, during the World Tourism Day. According to the organisers, the festival was birthed to showcase and celebrate Aso-Ofi in Oyo State.

Aso-ofi is the genre of woven cloth that is peculiar to the Yoruba. It is made from cotton and handwoven. Seed extraction is indigenously done by hand. The cotton seeds are placed on a block of wood and an iron rod is rolled over the seeds.

The festival is usually fun, witnessed by the high and mighty in Nigeria. Drummers beating their drums, chanters singing praises of guests, traditional dancers also display the rich yoruba culture. Filling the air is music, with authentic yoruba rhythm.

Over 3, 000 Aso-oke (which means ‘cloth from the hinterland’) weavers from Iseyin and surrounding towns participate in the weaving competition, during the festival.

Leading the array of traditional rulers, adorned in the traditional Aso-Ofi attire is the Aseyin of Iseyin land, HRM Oba Ganiyu Adekunle Salau Ologunebi Ajinese 1, who moves round to inspect the beautiful display of weavers during the festival.

Indigenous weavers have grown highly innovative with Aso-ofi. Beyond clothing, the material is used to make shoes, bags, hand fans among other things.

Aso-Ofi is a goldmine that needs to be harnessed by Oyo State Government, Stakeholders and the good people of Iseyin. Advisably, different companies could be situated in Iseyin to focus on the production of different ‘shades’ of Aso Ofi. One could specialise on production of ‘Etu’, while another specialises on production of ‘Sanyan’ and so on.

The producers could adopt new technologies that can compete favourably with international standards.

This is also a challenge to innovative scientists who could build modern machines that will ease the stress of weavers and assist them in mass-production. We challenge you to fabricate machines that could be used in the mass production of Aso-Ofi.

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By oyonews

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