Raphael Ede, Enugu
Charity Adaugo Ihejika recently contested and won the Miss Indigenous Africa beauty contest.
In this interview conducted at The Sun’s office in Enugu, the Abia State indigene revealed how she emerged winner, her pet project and what she will like to be remembered for.
What brought you to The Sun’s office?
I came here because I contested for a pageant, Indigenous Africa Woman and won. So, by the special grace of God, today I am Miss Indigenous Africa.
What motivated you to go into the contest?
The motivation was for me to engage the young women out there, being bold and knowing what I want. That was why I went into modeling in this first place.
How many people contested the Miss Indigenous Africa pageant?
We were 26 that contested the pageant.
What were the special features that made you stand out during the competition?
I was natural throughout the contest. My black complexion also added value. I came into the camp and lectured fellow contestants on so many things about Africa, which have to do with my coming from the Eastern part of Nigeria, and which most of them do not know about. My dancing also gave me a distinct mark. I danced so well and won as the best dancer of the pageant. We did cooking competition, which I won; and the fact that I always come out natural in the way I behave and speak also helped me.
What is your educational background?
I attended Enugu State College of Education Technical (ESCET), where I obtained the National Certificate of Education (NCE). I also intend to get my degree.
Were you thinking of winning any pageant before now?
I had always dreamt of becoming a beauty queen. I contested for Nwa Ada Igbo beauty pageant in 2012. I passed the audition, but I didn’t know why I wasn’t called for the final.
What was the reaction of your parents when you won?
They are so happy and grateful to God. A week before I went for the competition, I called and told them that I was going for a pageant and they were so surprised and told me they would pray for me, which they did. They prayed and fasted and with the help of God, this is where I am today.
Do you believe in the power of prayers?
I am a Christian and I do believe in the power of prayers.
Now, as an ambassador of African women, what do you intend to do with it?
What I intend to do as my pet project is to focus on cervical and breast cancer which is common with women today, especially in the rural areas, and more amongst women who are not educated to know what it takes to take care of themselves. Secondly, I have something I am doing on obstetric fistula, which is based on women who had long labour; like women who undergo labour for seven to 10 days, which cause obstetric fistula.
Obstetric fistula is a medical condition in which a hole develops in the birth canal as a result of childbirth. This can be between the vagina and rectum, urethra, or bladder. It can result in incontinence of urine or faeces. Complications may include depression, infertility, social isolation, and poverty.
Do you have young ladies like yourself that you are mentoring?
Yes, of course, we are meeting young women and lecturing them on different life challenges. My sponsors are trying to create awareness and I have something coming up on March 8 on obstetric fistula, cervical and breast cancer.
Do you have partners?
I wouldn’t call names but people are coming to partner with us. I have several doctors coming out to help me in the movement.
Where is going to be your area of concentration as Miss Indigenous Africa, considering that Africa is a vast continent; are you going to concentrate here in Nigeria?
I will concentrate in Africa. I have been to Ghana when we went for Queen Connect, an African seminar. We are going to start from Nigeria here. And I am specialising on local craft and things about Nigeria which we are going to settle down in Aba, Abia State. So, that is where we are going to settle down, where we are going to get some shoe cobblers, tailors, bead makers, the real tailors not fashion designers. We are trying to get the local tailors, people that can actually bring out something with our local fabrics and turn it into something like bag and shoes.
Your reign is going to last for a period of one year, at the end of your reign what legacies do you want to leave?
I want to be that person that fought hunger and malnutrition. We provide for the needy and we are also going out there to help the kids.
How are you going to get money to do all these?
I intend getting fund from sponsors. Like the cancer awareness I am planning, people have been coming out to help.