MAKING OF EKWA-OCHAN, ASO OKE, ORJA, MUFFLERS

Our feature in this week’s edition of Business and Entrepreneurship on Ika Weekly Newspaper is Mrs. Comfort Abdulahi, an enterprising mother of four children, who hails from Kogi State and resides in Agbor.Mrs. C. Abdulahi specializes in weaving of all kinds of wrappers (Ekwa-Ochan). She tells us how she started, and what motivated her, in this tell all interview she granted Ika Weekly Newspaper reporter on Monday 11th September 2017.
Excerpt:
May we meet you?
My name is Mrs. Comfort Abudulahi
What is your State of Origin?
I am from Kogi State, but I reside here in Agbor.
Tell us a little about your family
I have 4 children. I have been living in Agbor for the past 17 years. I actually came to Agbor as a result of my Husband’s transfer when he was working with the Julius Berger’s company.
Tell us what you do?
I weave different kinds of local clothes such as aso oke, Anioma wrapper (Ekwa-Ochan), Okene wrapper, Ubulu-uku wrapper, Yoruba wears, orja, for backing babies, a head-tie called net, muffler and any kind of weaved clothes you can think of.
DSC_9184-1 MAKING OF EKWA-OCHAN, ASO OKE, ORJA, MUFFLERS
How did you start?
I started weaving at a very young age of 12 back in my village in Kogi State, but I started the work here in Agbor about 3years ago. Many people don’t know I do this kind of business and so I don’t have many customers. At first when I came to Agbor I started the business of selling already weaved clothes, I would travel all the way to Kano to buy them but the business later collapsed as a result of some personal matters.
When I started the weaving in Agbor, many people tried to discourage me from it saying that it’s not profitable and that I won’t be able to do it, but God being on my side, I scaled through. I got assistance from my then neighbor and my madam Mrs. Bridget who resides at Charles Street. She taught me how to weave other kinds of traditional wears and am grateful for that and am also grateful to Mr. Dan Usifoh, the leader of ONU IKA Association and the CEO of Danbe Water Factory. When he saw my hand work he was impressed and he opted to assist me in the purchase of my own weaving machines, and today I have about 5 weaving machines, two Oguntoro (used by Kogi and Ubulu-Uku people) and three Loom machines. I actually started with the Oguntoro machine because that is the type my people use. One cannot use Oguntoro and Loom to produce the same design, because they are made for different designs.
What is weaving work like?
This weaving work is quite skillful and it requires a lot of concentration and it takes one who is highly intelligent to be able to assimilate what he/she is being taught, it requires a lot of reasoning. Another challenge about this work is that it requires money and a lot of devoted time in order to produce a fine and unique piece. It doesn’t require electricity to be able to produce, one can use torch light to do the work because one can have an urgent work that needs serious attention and you do not need to depend on electricity for that.
How long does it take to make a piece ?
The duration of a cloth depends on the design, a cloth can take up to a week, and some can take two weeks while others can take up to a month depending on the design.
Do you tutor people on how to make it, and how long does it take to learn?
I do have learning section for those who want to learn and one can learn for about 6 months in order to perfect the art of weaving, while others who are not quick to catch up can take about a year for them to perfect the art.
What motivated you to go into the venture?
I got the motivation about weaving quite early, as at then I will go into the bush to get the woods used in weaving and I didn’t have it in mind then that I would be this successful up to the point of catching the attention of the media, like Ika Weekly Newspaper, I give God all the glory.
With this skill of weaving, I can say that it has helped in providing food for me and my family, and I am thankful to God also for that.
What is your advice to others who want quick money rather than learning a skill?
I advise people to pick up any skill and stop traveling abroad in search of greener pasture that you did not create, except it is God who really wants you to travel. The art of weaving is a very nice and interesting skill to take up for a living.
What is your clientele base?
I weave for different categories of people, I weave for individuals, I weave for corporate bodies, meeting groups, churches, wedding occasions and even burials, I also weave for Onu- Ika group.
How would you want the government or other well meaning individuals to assist you?
I greatly need the assistance and support of the government in many ways especially in monetary aspect so I can expand my business and, they can also assist me by way of contracts from various groups.
Would you like to be contacted by prospective clients?
Yes please, I can be contacted on my phone number, 08032773030, and my workshop is at Odeh Street, by Orubor Junction, Agbor Delta State.

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