What’s The Big Deal About Aso-Ebi Anyway, Won’t It Go The Way Of Other Fads We’ve Seen In Nigeria?

Saying Nigeria’s in an economic twist at the moment is merely understating the obvious. We’re not given to too many pleasures right now and the reason isn’t far-fetched. We’re in a recession and we’ve no inkling how long this one would last. To be fair, it’s not like it’s the end of the world, we’re much tougher than we look on the surface but to be honest, with the daily rise in the cost of living, Nigerians’ finances are stretched far too thin right now. We certainly can’t take more any longer.

And that’s why many Nigerians have adopted massive cost-cutting in their daily lives. To survive the gloomy days ahead, Nigerians, high and low, have been implored to tighten their proverbial belts for the long, bumpy recession ride ahead. Getting out of this one would require extra-ordinary effort and every form of extravagance must go out the window. You know what they say about desperate times, the time to make sacrifices is now.

Every taste for imported products (what do we manufacture in Nigeria, again?) has to go out the window. Expensive makeup/cosmetics? Out the window! Champagne (we have palm-wine, remember)? Out the window! Gym membership (who does that when you can do brisk walking?) Out the window! Everyone, posh sneakers and workout gear or not, would take to brisk walking like fish to water on weekend mornings, pretty much easy and straightforward. There’s no room for financial recklessness, so making sacrifices is paramount, every Nigerian, low and mighty, already has gotten the cut-your-coat-according-to-your-cloth memo. Curiously though, there’s one area it appears Nigerians won’t budge in the face of recession. Not even one bit.

It appears we can sacrifice food, downshift in lifestyle to adjust to the cost of living but when it comes to losing the Aso-Ebi culture, you’re talking to a wall. Nigerians won’t ditch this socio-traditional culture for any reason under the sky. Aso-Ebi, the traditional uniform dressing which have been in the Nigerian culture (regardless of tribe or ethnicity) has always served as an indicator of cooperation and solidarity in our society. It appears the Aso-Ebi is the last string holding the fabric of Nigerian society and losing this one is a good as losing our national identity. All would fall apart, it seems, if we ditch the Aso-ebi culture. No celebration, big or small, is worth it if the Aso-Ebi isn’t involved. It just isn’t the life of the party, the Aso-Ebi is the party. What’s the big deal about the Aso-Ebi anyway? Won’t it go the way of the other fads we’ve seen in the Nigerian society?

The Aso-Ebi custom is more than just fashion, it’s the African way of life that’s transcended other trends. It’s an unshakable part of our national consciousness from time immemorial and an immortal culture that refuses to die or be sacrificed even in the face of the high cost of living. Cutting it off is as good as cutting off the air supply in the country. Other trends have come and gone from our social scene/consciousness but the Aso-Ebi is immortal. Foreign dress sense, fashion accessories and culture have come and eventually got phased out; the Danshikis, the miniskirts, the bell bottoms, the Afros, the platform and wedges. If time doesn’t get them, the austere economy would but not the last bastion of our social identity as a people. No celebration is worth it if the Aso-Ebi isn’t involved.

This isn’t the first time the Aso-Ebi is squaring off against a recession, this is the 4th time in recent history and not even the almighty dollar would triumph this time. 3 recessions have come and gone; the gloomy 1980s and SAP, the harsh 1990s and Abachanomics, and the 2000s and the global financial meltdown. The only common thing with the recessions? The Aso-Ebi stood tall in the face of yawning depression, if anything, it was instrumental to Nigerians all-round social happiness. People would still turn out in colourful, resplendent pieces to celebrate their happy moments. We have another recession to beat, and it’s nothing in the face of Nigerian optimism and perseverance, this one too will pass. And when it’s gone with its dollar-don-cost wahala, the Aso-Ebi will remain the last man standing as usual, standing triumphantly as always. Yea, it’s awesome like that.

So do have a happy 2017. Keep celebrating and sharing the happiness, nothing do you. The Aso-Ebi won’t be running out of fashion anytime soon.

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