Fair-skinned Ogenna Ekuwbiri is the new Miss Tourism Nigeria, a keenly contested competition held on Saturday, July 8, 2016, at Ruby Gardens, Lekki, Lagos.
She won a brand new car, a plot of land in Abuja, one year supply of Woodin fabrics, Techno J8 phone, champagne by Luc Belaire, skin care by Laserderm Clinics and Post Hair by Ebube Nwagbo.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had an interview with the winner on her winning strategies and her pet project…
Congratulations for emerging Miss Tourism Nigeria 2016?
How does it feel?
It feels good. Very good.
Did you envisage winning?
Yes, I did. It was a competition, anybody going for a competition will go there to win. I prayed about it and worked towards it.
What was your winning strategy?
I was original. I was true to myself. I participated in every single task. I tried as much as possible to be friendly and related perfectly with every girl on board.
Can you tell us the prize that came with your title?
One year supply of Woodin fabrics and Techno Mobile presented me a phone.
Is this your first time in modelling?
No, it is not my first time. I started modelling at 16. I got into the university at an early age. I used to be a tomboy but I really wanted to change and be a lady. I participated in my first competition while in school. I also represented my school at World Miss University contest in Nigeria. I won at the regional but lost at the final. I also went for a competition organized by a telecommunications company. I won a lot of money and started buying shoes and stuff.
In 2014, I won Queen of Aso in Abuja. I wanted to retire from modelling but my friends asked me to go for an international competition that was how I put in for Miss Tourism, here we are today.
Share your camp experience with us?
Camp was fun. This was the first competition in which I saw all the ladies bond together after the competition. We have a WhatsApp group chat where we all communicate with each other. I was sick in camp and they all took time to take care of me. They will took off my makeup and took turns to feed me. All the ladies were amazing.
Were you in a relationship before coming to camp?
No, I was not but a guy might walk up and claim me.
Are you planning on having a relationship during your reign?
For now, I don’t have a man in my life but everybody wants me to be in a relationship. They said I would make a good wife. Everything is in the hands of God.
Tell us about the pet project you have in mind…
I have an initiative called Motivating African Youth Initiative (MAYI). I started a project called Empower Her Project under MAYI. It is about empowering female entrepreneurs, especially those into agriculture. If you have a business idea, we will help you start up.
At my age, I pay six people’s salaries. Imagine if we culd have more girls paying salaries of more people, a lot of people will not be on the street. My pet project will follow that course. We will also encourage people who are into tourism. I will partner banks and well meaning Nigerians to fulfill that dream.
I believe tourism is not just about site. If a Nigerian should travel outside the country, that person is an export of Nigeria. We must be able to trade our qualities outside the country and translate it into money. I will look at how to move people forward.
Tell us more about your background?
I was born in Jericho, Ibadan, Oyo state. I am the last of four children. I am a determined and passionate person. I studied International Relations at Imo State University. I am an entrepreneur. I own two firms. I have a unisex salon and spa in Abuja. It is known as Grandeur Lifestyle.
I also own a consulting firm, Havilah Walter. We do more of property and brokering. I was to start developing content for television. We have an audio studio for music production. I am just a determined person. I may be smiling sheepishly but I know what I am doing.