It was a night of glitz and glamour at the Miss Nigeria Ghana beauty pageant 2015 with top Ghanaian and Nigerian celebrities in attendance. The event held at the National Theatre in Accra, Ghana was indeed a night to be remembered as 12 beautiful, young and intelligent ladies battled for the prestigious crown. Eventually, Faith Uche Igboeli, a Pharmacy undergraduate emerged the winner after a tough competitive night. In an interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, the undergraduate shared her excitement as the queen of Miss Nigeria Ghana 2015 and what gave her an edge over the other contestants…
Can you tell us a bit about your family and educational background?
I’m a student of Pharmacy at the Central University of Ghana. My parents Mr. and Mrs. Igboeli are based in Lagos, Nigeria, Amuwo Odofin to be precise. I have six siblings and I’m the fourth child. I have five sisters and one brother.
How do you feel being the winner of the Miss Nigeria Ghana pageant?
I must say it’s a great honour, it’s a blessing. I feel honoured and happy, in fact, I can’t wait to start carrying out my functions and make a difference for a better Ghana.
It was shocking. I didn’t know what to do or say. It was shocking really because all the girls were tough competitors as well. We all had our qualities and all. So, I was shocked and happy at the same time. It was a mixed feeling because I was happy, sad, and emotional. I tried not to cry. But I will say it’s God.
Was any of your family member around to give you the needed support for the night?
My aunt was around and I invited my elder sister and my brother too.
What do you think gave you an edge over the other contestants?
Like I said, it’s God. I just believed that it was also my faith that paved way for me. Because I was highly motivated, it was not the first time I will be contesting in a beauty pageant so I took this serious because I really wanted to win because I didn’t win in the previous one, which was Miss Imo in Nigeria earlier this year. Though I didn’t win like I said, but I made it to the top five. So this time around I was highly motivated, had faith in God, and I just believed this one is for me, because it was kind of difficult for me when I participated in the Miss Imo pageant. I was schooling in Ghana.
So, why did you decide to go for Miss Nigeria Ghana?
The main project for the pageantry is to create breast cancer awareness and I’ve been longing to create such awareness on a bigger platform. Also when I contested in Face of CUC, we solicited for funds for a particular friend in Korlebu Teaching Hospital who had breast cancer and we felt good helping to save somebody’s life. So I saw the advert on the internet and I went for it because I’ve wanted to be a queen all my life, travel round the world and impact people’s life.
But were your parents in support of your plans?
Yes, they were voting for me on social media and my siblings also came around. My mom sent my aunt. She couldn’t make it because of her business. But my aunt and siblings gave me all the support and inspiration I needed and it was good for me.
Tell us about the other prizes that come with the crown?
The winner is supposed to get 5,000 cedes, a trip to South Africa, ambassador of goodwill and one year modeling contract.
What do you think will change about your lifestyle now that you are in the spotlight?
I think it’s going to be extremely busy now. I just have to make use of every little time that I have to study and also plan myself, so that’s basically what is going to change now because I will be extremely busy, so I have to make time out to rest and still do all my daily activities.
Of course, it’s bound to happen; any impromptu meeting or event could come up while I’m in school. I’m making it known to the school authority so they can be aware in case I have to travel or attend to any urgent matter. So they are aware.
What are our plans in helping to promote the Nigerian heritage through this platform?
I’m embarking on breast cancer awareness very soon in the 10 regions of Ghana. So, we are giving back to the society, because there is this belief Nigerians are bad and we’ve come to take over their country and influence them negatively. And I also have my own personal project to empower children through education, because I believe it’s very important for children to be educated, and all of these will be executed in Ghana. So I hope it will help project the image of Nigeria.
What is your take on sexual assault in pageantry and did you experience such while in camp?
I’m from a very good Christian background. And then Central University, if you check it up is a Christian school, so right from my tender age I’ve always been trained and groomed in a Christian way. So, when I checked up the Miss Nigeria Ghana pageant, I saw there was no bikini session and I saw that it’s a different beauty pageant meant to empower women to become beauty ambassadors, that’s what motivated me to go for it. I’ve heard so much about this issue of sexual harassment in beauty pageants. All through my reign from October 18 till now, I have never experienced any sexual harassment and I don’t think I will.
So what was the experience like while in camp?
In camp all the girls stayed together in the house and we had our morning devotion before any daily activity. We went to places for photoshoots like the Aburi Garden. We went to meet our designer, Adjoa Yeboa for our clothing, we visited the high commissioner, and we went for grooming for our hair down to our toe nails. Most of the things I learnt were in the house. We were trained to respect ourselves as potential queens because anyone of us could be crowned the queen. We were groomed on how to carry ourselves; charisma and all. We also went for dinner at Duben to learn how to eat and comport ourselves in public.
So you think all of these will make you a better queen from the rest out there?
Of course, it will. There are many things I learnt which I didn’t know. So yeahs, I am a better person now.