'As a virgin, dad nearly stopped me from contesting'
Eze Nneka, the current Odua beauty queen, hails from Anambra State. The 20-year old 300 level Computer Science student of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho, Oyo State is the 5th to emerge Odua queen. Charismatic Nneka speaks on how as an Igbo girl, she became the Odua queen. Excerpts:
The urge to be a beauty queen started when I was 16-year-old, and now I am 20. But then I was motivated to go for the Odua beauty pageant by people around. I have the beauty and charisma, and have always watched models parading their stuffs on the television, and I loved what they do so, I decided to go for it.
Criteria for selection
The criteria for contesting are that you must be beautiful, charismatic, intelligent, and accommodating. Also, you must learn how to behave and comport yourself in public.
Beauty and brain
As a student, I will look for ways to combine both my studies and the beauty pageant. I will make sure that my education comes first because beauty without brain amounts to nothing.
My father did not buy the idea of me taking part in the Odua pageantry but my mother was strongly behind me. Initially, dad had this mindset that I will be exposed to sexual immorality simply because I am still a virgin, now he thinks differently. He decided to give his consent as time went by.
Igbo girl, Odua queen
I don't think the Yoruba will accuse me of taking what belongs to them. One thing I really appreciate about the pageant is that it's free and fair. Unlike other pageants whereby the organisers will insist that their kinsman wins, the Odua beauty pageant is different. They went for the most beautiful contestant irrespective of tribe. Even though, I was born and bred in Ibadan and understand every bit of Yoruba language, I cannot speak it fluently. Now, I am learning to speak Yoruba in order to relate more with the people. But then I see the whole thing as God's favour upon me because as an Igbo girl, I am not supposed to be the winner of Odua beauty pageant. I thank God for His mercies.
I contested with a lot of beautiful girls that came for the pageant. I was intimidated by their beauty, and I asked myself if I could really get the crown. As there were lots of intelligent girls, I already lost hope of winning but God gave it to me.
I want to be a role model to others, someone to reckon with in the society. I will like to empower the youth and make sure they engage themselves in something creative, like modelling which only is not about entertainment but also an avenue to promote our cultural heritage. Some girls don't have a mission; they don't know what they are in this life for. Some are out there prostituting and indulging themselves in all sorts of bad things. I will be there to encourage them to do something better. And why past queens don't fulfill their promises might be because they did not have financial support. It's not easy to get some projects done without the necessary finance but I will solicit for assistance from a lot of corporate bodies in order to actualize my pet project.