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Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Fashion meets politics at Nigeria election campaign events

Too stylish for political party t-shirts and caps, some fashionistas in Nigeria are donning the colours and faces of their preferred candidates for a presidential election this month.

Ahead of the Feb. 25 vote, political rallies have become catwalks for colourful printed fabrics twisted into elaborate dresses, tunics and headscarves.

For many, it is also an opportunity to wear traditional dresses rather than the Western attire most city dwellers use for work and daily life.

Opposition Labour Party (LP) youth leader Kennedy Ahanotu attended an event in Lagos in a white tunic known as a "babban riga", which means flowing gown in local Hausa.

‘’This dressing is ‘’babanriga’’ (Hausa term for flowing gown) which reflects the Lagos culture and you can see the stick here which means I am a full Lagosian by virtue of this campaign in Lagos,’’ said Ahanotu.

He wore an LP-emblazoned, green, red and white version of a traditional hat and held a wooden walking stick that is often used as an accessory among Hausa men.

At a ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party rally in the capital Abuja, women in dark sunglasses and green headwraps staved off the heat with silky APC fabric mounted into fans.

Fatima Suleiman, a personal assistant to the minister of Nigeria's federal capital territory, wore a black hat that is part of traditional outfits worn by the Gbagyi ethnic group.

‘’My hat is a Gbagyi hat, you know Gbagyi’s are the original inhabitants of FCT (federal Capital Territory) and that is why we are using the symbol of Asiwaju (Yoruba word that means leader and a nickname for the APC presidential candidate bola Tinubu) and the Gbagyi hat, and I am having the APC/FCT regalia. This is our official regalia for APC presidential campaign council and that is why I am looking probably this colourful,’’ she said.

The hat was embroidered with the symbol of a broken shackle Suleiman said represented "Asiwaju", the Yoruba word for leader that has become the nickname of APC candidate Bola Tinubu.

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