– In Nigeria to campaign for massive tree planting
AFRICA’S youngest beauty queen, Franchesca Aigboje is currently The Miss Africa, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). She is a 200-level undergraduate of Architecture in Cyprus International University, where she became the African queen at 15. She had already won the most beautiful girl title in CIU shortly after her admission into the university at 14. Franchesca is an environmentalist, who takes after her parents who are also environmentalists. Her strong passion for the environment and the earth’s life supporting ecosystems informed he intention of using her coveted crown to preserve the environment by embarking on campaign in support of tree planting and other things.
ENCOMIUM Weekly took her up on this and sundry issues on Thursday, September 19, 2013, in Onikan, Lagos.
How does it feel emerging the Miss Africa, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus?
It feels good and I am very much happy about it.
When exactly were you crowned?
That was sometime in June this year.
How old are you now?
I am 15 now.
No, with God all things are possible.
Your vision is to preserve nature and the earth’s supporting ecosystems, how do you intend achieving this?
I intend doing this by embarking on rigorous campaign to plant millions of trees and save our forests.
You’re born here in Nigeria but schooling in Cyprus, how would you differentiate the two environments in terms of their ecosystems?
In Cyprus, there are lots of trees but in Nigeria, I don’t think we have enough again. And in Cyprus, they don’t use generator sets that pollute their environment, but here in Nigeria every household relies on generator which generates a lot of fume.
How happy are your parents seeing you in this position?
They are very happy.
How supportive are they?
They are very supportive and they are doing everything to encourage me.
Your main goal as African ambassador in Cyprus is to save the environment, and right in Nigeria here such a thing may be very difficult to achieve. Won’t you get frustrated along the line?
I won’t get discouraged or frustrated. Like I said, my parents are also environmentalists. And with their support, I can get it done.
How are you going to juggle this and your academic activities?
Everything is step by step. None will affect the other by the special grace of God.
Apart from the crown, what other benefits attached to being Miss Africa TRNC such as cash prize and others?
Yes, job, publicity and all that. But I must be firm with my pet project which has to do with the environment because that’s the reason for the crown I am wearing.
The crown lasts just one year, what do you intend doing in Nigeria your fatherland and other African countries you’re representing?
I intend to be the young voice of modern nature, protecting the environment with the best of my ability.
Are you ready to take the campaign across other African countries?
Yes, that will be done definitely by the grace of God. I believe with God all things are possible.
We guess you should be on scholarship now for winning the contest?
Not yet but from next year.
If it warrants staging a peaceful protest to ensure your goal is achieved concerning support for environmental safety, will you embark on that?
Why not? I will take after my father because he once did something similar. What is important is to achieve the desired goal.
Are you aware of the report that Lagos is the fourth dirtiest and noisiest city in the world?
How do you feel about it as a future environmentalist?
Lagos is a very large city, it can’t even be compared with the coal city of Ghana. So, no one should put any blame on anybody. Lagos is popularly called everyman’s land. That is to say every nationalist all around the world comes to Lagos to settle down. So, no one should be judgemental about the present state of Lagos. It can’t be done at a time. It’s a gradual thing. Let me give you an instance, how was Oshodi before? I couldn’t even step my foot there because of fear of either being robbed or kidnapped. But today, we are all living witnesses to what Oshodi is. The same thing for Yaba, Obalende and other places like that. Things can change if we’re all alive to our responsibilities.
Let’s know a little of your background?
I was born in Edo State. I got admitted into university at 14, being a brilliant girl. I am now a 200-level student of Architecture, Cyprus International University.
– TADE ASIFAT