Every race is endowed with its own culture which is undoubtedly unique to that particular race. No race can claim that it has a superior culture over others as long as the culture of others are not static. The culture of a given race evolves for over a long period around language, ceremonies, practices, methods, use of tools, institutions, music and some other things one can think of.
Otunba Gani Adams, the initiator of cultural appreciation, Oke Olokun and others, spoke about the philosophy behind the Olokun Festival. ENCOMIUM Weekly had an interview with the current Miss Olokun and the director of the beauty pageant.
How do you get to know about Miss Olokun beauty pageant?
Actually, it was my friend that informed me about this pageant and she encouraged me to obtain the form. I knew nothing about this (Olokun pageant) initially.
How did you prepare for the pageant?
I did my best and left the rest to God.
What stood you out among the other contestants?
I think my confidence and composition.
Among the contestants, which of them gave you tough time?
None of the contestants gave me tough time.
Are you saying you saw yourself as a winner from the beginning of the pageant?
No, I just believed in myself and the boldness God gave me.
Now that you are Miss Olokun, what should we be expecting from you?
I am going to collaborate with the organization to move up culture and tourism, most especially in tertiary institutions.
How would you combine Miss Olokun and your education?
They won’t clash. I have to plan my itinerary and I will utilize the time I have judiciously. Remember that Miss Olokun is also educative, when we talk about culture and tourism.
What advice do you have for others that are aspiring to be queens?
My advice to them is to believe in God. They should believe in themselves, have confidence and go for whatever they desire.
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Yetunde Barnabas from Kogi State. I am 22. I am studying Public Administration at University of Lagos, a 100 level student.
Miss Olokun Beauty Pageant Director, IHUA ARMSTRONG
You are the Director of the beauty pageant, can we meet you?
My name is Ihua Armstrong, I am a chartered accountant. I have been in event organizing since 1977, during Festac ’77. I am the organizer of Miss Olokun beauty pageant.
What are the reasons behind the pageant?
Many people do not understand the normative reason behind the pageant. The reason and the philosophy behind the pageant is to promote younger generation to appreciate this cultural things we are doing.
This younger generation, when you say pertaining to culture, they don’t really appreciate it. This is so, because most of them are going away with other religions and they see our custom as old and outdated, but because we put pageantry along with the festival, they tend to show more interest to our culture on the platform of beauty pageant.
What is the essence of the pageant?
It is to appreciate our culture so that it is not watered away. It is to make our culture known internationally. The pageant we are doing is to bring cultural appreciation and also push it up to international standards, so that our queen can go anywhere in the world to contest and stand the test of the value.
Why is your beauty queen not participating in other pageants?
It is because our pageant has a philosophical background that is based on cultural values and tourism. So, other pageants are just for business sake but our own has its symbolic importance.
What advice would you give to other tribes to hold on to their culture?
I have to give kudos to Otunba Gani Adams for this imitative. I will advice other tribes to take the same initiative for their identity not to be eroded away.
– DAPO ADESEKO