Wearing Aso Ebi is not a true show of unity, friendship or solidarity, because most people have turned it into a money making venture and show of class.
It’s the time of the year filled with ceremonies. There are burial ceremonies, child naming ceremonies, political campaigns, anniversaries, house warming, memorials, thanksgiving and weddings. These functions go down with all manner of colourful materials.
Aso Ebi is a popular ankara or lace uniform worn during social functions in Nigeria. It is a Yoruba word which means, ‘Cloth of the family’. This uniform symbolizes unity, family, friendship and solidarity during functions.
It is a trend that has become widely accepted by both the rich and poor across Nigeria, churches are not left out of this fad too.
Wearing Aso Ebi is not a true show of unity, friendship or solidarity, because most people have turned it into a money making venture and show of class. They even have classes of Aso Ebi for one event.
There are expensive, moderate and cheap ones for the same event. Even where you sit and how you are served at an event is strictly based on the class of Aso Ebi you paid for.
Celebrants sell Ankara and lace materials at exorbitant prices. The worst part of it is that most celebrants just few months before they announce their event become nice and friendly all of a sudden to neighbors, friends, work colleagues and even strangers. They intentionally do this for the sole purpose of having more people buying their Aso Ebi.
After announcing their events, they start bugging you with phone calls asking when you are paying for the Aso Ebi. Once you pay for it, they literally stop calling until few days to their event.
They are less bothered if you sew the material or if you attend the event wearing another cloth, the important part is that you paid for the Aso Ebi which is their interest.
You wonder why celebrants would want to make money off people. Ankara and Lace materials are shoved down people’s throat at 3 to 4 times their original prices.
If you are humane, you will weigh your financial strength before planning an event, rather than heaping the financial burden of your own event on innocent friends and family members who are struggling to survive. And when they refuse to pay for your Aso Ebi, you tag them enemies of progress.
Aso Ebi has dug very deep holes in people’s pockets, and has left some people in debt. It has also torn relationships and even marriages apart. Paying for Aso Ebi may not be the problem per say, it is also about the extra financial burden of paying and chasing tailors around, buying matching shoes and accessories, traveling long distance, paying for hotel accommodation that causes problems sometimes.
Yet, the celebrant expects you to come to their function with gifts and still spray them money on the dance floor.
People go to any length to pay for Aso Ebi just because they don’t want to upset their friends.
Some ladies even sleep around with multiple men just to gather enough money to pay for Aso Ebi, while some men take to robbery so they are not left out as well. We have heard stories of wives who use money meant for their children’s school fees and family upkeep to pay for Aso Ebi.
As a matter of policy, I don’t pay for Aso Ebi and I’m not ashamed to inform my friends and family that I cannot afford their Aso Ebi. Even if I can afford it but have other priorities that need my attention, I tell them honestly. I avoid unnecessary pressure that most likely would leave me broke and burnt out.
If it is not financially convenient for you to buy an Aso Ebi, rather than trying so hard to satisfy your friends at the expense of your own sanity, say no and stand by it. It shouldn’t be a do or die thing.
As a grown adult, you should learn to not to accept what you are not cool with. If they threaten to terminate your friendship or bounce you at their event for not paying for their Aso Ebi, so be it, don’t fall for their cheap black mail.
As a celebrant if you cannot afford to give your friends free Aso Ebi, then ask them to wear whatever they want or better still, give them your colours of the day. Let them dress gorgeously in their own clothes of your preferred colour.
Although Aso Ebi is a beautiful concept because the uniform clothing make events colourful, but it is rather sad that people have taken it to an entirely different unhealthy level.
They have taken it to a level where years of friendship, love, marriage, unity and true solidarity is reduced to nothing and sacrificed on the altar of a piece of clothing that would be worn for just a few hours and most likely never to be worn again. It’s Aso Ebi season again, put your sanity first.