By EDIALE KINGSLEY
BEAUTY pageantry, like other stretches of the entertainment sector, isn’t free of its demons and vices. The gig that started in Nigeria several years ago (1957) has had too many shades and variances from the regular Miss Nigeria to Silverbird Group’s Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria. Others have had to do much more than adjust the names. We have creativity thrown into the game and adjusted to specials like Plus Size Pageants, Sisi Oge, Queen Nigeria, Miss Teen Nigeria, Miss Nigeria in America, Miss Earth Nigeria, Miss Heritage Nigeria and so on. But we aren’t done yet. The religious bodies: Christian and Muslim community have also hosted their versions. And this begs the question: What’s more to the beauty pageant?
Recent practices and show of shame have however forced different questions as well.
Are there any morals to the trade? The materials of the shows were always referred to as ‘Beauty and Brains’ but this too is now under questioning as a recent Pageant made history when for the first time a beauty contest in Nigeria had no queen crowned. Why? Because they were too dull! At the just concluded Most Beautiful Girl beauty pageant in Nnewi. All the girls who participated in the contest were disqualified by the sponsor, IfeanyiUbah for failing to answer the simple questions thrown to them.Majority of the girls responded to the questions by saying “I don’t know” or “no idea.”
Some of the questions and responses of the girls:
Q: Who is the founder of F.C IfeanyiUbah
A: No idea.
Q: Who is the Traditional ruler of Nnewi?
A: Thanks for the question, but no idea.
Q: Who is the president of Nigeria?
A: The President, the president the President of Nigeria is isisehhehhDr. Mohammed Buhari.
Q: Who won Miss Nigeria 1987?
A: No idea
Q: When you look in the mirror what do u see?
A: Courage and confidence
Q: If you become the president of Nigeria, what would you do?
During the native attire section, when they were asked the creativity of what they were putting on, one of them said she was putting on pure water cloth, while another said she was putting on cat cloth because “Busu” (pussycat) is her best pet. When the sponsor couldn’t stand the humiliation any longer he went up stage and stopped the show.
Rather than give the car prize and other star gifts, Mr Ubah shared money instead to the contestants, perhaps to further their studies.
This isn’t the only devil there is in the Pageant business. Promiscuity, scandals, nudism and other lots are the characters of the game. We are yet to forget about the recent case of ChidinmaOkeke, Miss Anambra 2015, in a leaked sex video in which the beauty queen was caught in an enthralling act of lesbianism with another beauty queen sometime between September and October, 2016. A second video surfaced, showing the queen and her partner, playing with cucumber, and using it as a sex toy. The queen however claimed she was pressured to do the video by the organisers of the Miss Anambra Pageant, Anambra Broadcasting Service, ABS, a claim the organisers swiftly denied. That scandal further cast a shadow of gloom and almost doom on pageants in the country. This has further heightened the claim that Beauty Pageantry is a breeding ground for promiscuity and all sorts of immoralities such as lesbianism and prostitution (with judges and organisers for favours, e.t.c).
In spite of these sad tales though, we can’t forget about the Agbani Daregos of this world. How being the first African to win ‘Miss World’ brought accolades and glory to Nigeria. She has since been a figure in the global world. Other notable beauty queens that are highly respected includes, The wife of late Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Bianca Ojukwu, who was appointed Nigerian Ambassador to Spain during the Goodluck Jonathan administration; former beauty queen Regina Askia went ahead to become a super actress; former Miss Tourism Nigeria and current Face Of Exquisite Universe was made Special Assistant to Anambra State Governor on Tourism; same as ex- Miss Heritage Africa, BenedictaAkpana, who was appointed Executive Protocol Officer to Cross Rivers State governor, Ben Ayade.
The beauty pageant also boasts of a strong association. Christened The Association of Beauty Pageant and Fashion Exhibition Organisers (ABPFEON), the body has the Chairman of the Nigeria Police Commission, Mike Okiro, as Grand Patron. These good stories, structure and affiliates, in a way, attempts to show that there are some relevance, benefits and good about pageantry other the scandals and prostitution.
In the voice of, Alex Nwankwo, the secretary general of ABPFEON,“The body is at advanced stage of correcting the negative activities in the industry just as the wind of change is blowing in all the sectors in Nigeria.
Another good we’ve come to know about beauty pageant are the projects carried out by the reigning beauty queens. These social-humanitarian efforts in no small way lighten up the community. Throughout her reign as Winner of the SisiOge Pride of Africa 2015/2016Pageant for example, Caroline Oyesanya was devotedly involved in various economic empowerment projects. “SisiOge has a strong partnership with the Lagos State Government and I partnered the state government as well on my projects. I also worked heavily with children with Down Syndrome,” Oyesanya said. As Queen Nigeria 2015/16, Diamond Okohalso hinted “I was involved in a series of humanitarian projects.
My pet project titled ‘Go the Extra Mile with Diamond Queen Nigeria’ revolved around making a difference in the lives of people especially children, youths and women living in Internally Displaced Camps. I am pleased I was opportune to touch lives,” she said.
Queen Serena Amarachukwu Joseph, Miss Ambassador for Peace South West Nigeria 2014/2015 in a chat with Trends talked about her pet project, Prison Summit. She said she especially wants to reach out to the female inmates, ‘Some of them have few months’ old babies with them. When I went there I saw the old, and young. I discovered a lot of them found themselves there due to circumstances; some drugs. So those are the things I will like to talk about so that when they get out of prison, there is a beautiful life ahead of them. I want to encourage them that when there is life, there is hope. So when they get out of prison, they do not go back to that which brought them to prison rather stand as a symbol of peace and hope for themselves and their families’.
While we have seen lots of dull heads in the business, we must also acknowledge the smart ones. Like Dr. May Ikeora, first runner up of Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, 2003, and former Miss ECOWAS, who is now a well-known academic researcher and entrepreneur. Who expressed that her becoming a queen actually helped fast-track her dream of having a PhD far before the age of 40 which she had pegged for that goal prior to participating in the contest.