-Short takes from the pageant
Another Sisi Oge, the eight in the series was crowned on Friday, May 30, 2014, in an exquisite ceremony held at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
It was a night the 21 year old final year student of Lagos State University, Miss Simisola Banjo would remember for her lifetime as she claimed the highly sought after crown, which is a celebration of African culture.
The event wasn’t all about Sisi Oge alone as a great Nigerian artist with the biggest art gallery in West Africa, the multi award winning Chief Mrs. Oyenike Monica Okundaye, who hosted the event, celebrated her birthday. Nike is the Managing Director/CEO of Nike Center for Art and Culture, Osogbo as well as the Nike Art Gallery in Lagos.
The event started with a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, followed by a dance by two little boys, Waheel Akintayo and Ismaeel, who left guests giggling all through.
That performance set the tone for the evening, with Adunni Oge Fashion Outfit doing a fashion parade immediately after.
On parade were exquisite designs that showcased the creativity the designer put into the works. The models, of different shapes and sizes, strut on the runway with well tailored dresses that gave a good advert for African attires.
Then came the contestants’ first appearance of the night. They came out in bum shots and jeggings and danced to some Nigerian hip hop tunes, leaving the men drooling as they wriggled and whine, shaking their assets to the delight of the guests.
After them came a number of entertainers after the other to entertain with music and comedy. The contestants made their second appearance individually with each contestant dancing to the stage to introduce themselves.
Their attires represented different African cultures ranging from Yoruba to Igbo, South African, Swahilli, Ghanaian and several others.
LAWMA ambassador, wonder kid, Ozzybosco was one of the entertainers that did what he does best, dishing out his popular songs alongside his colourful dancers before the contestants reemerged in their dinner wears to field questions.
Their appearance in dinner wear was glorious. What beauty on parade. They cat walked onto the beautiful runway one after the other with elegance that would shame a cat, garbed in the most stylish evening gowns in African prints that accentuated their delicate looking bodies.
NIKE OKUDAYE CELEBRATED
Then came the time for the birthday celebrant to cut her cake with her husband and friends. The tribute by the Chairperson of the day, Senator Ita Giwa, said it all about the person of the celebrant.
Ita Giwa said, “I’m pleased to be here today. I didn’t know I would be the chairperson of this event. I came here to celebrate Nike. We are here to celebrate talent. I watched her on CNN and I was very pleased to see a fellow African woman being celebrated. A woman who rose from nowhere to the peak of her profession and her husband has been of tremendous support.
“When mummy is no longer here, her works will live on forever.
“May she live long, and enjoy the fruits of her labour, she added.”
Then came the moment the girls feared most as they came one after the other to test their knowledge of some current affairs and general knowledge.
They didn’t disappoint though, as they aced the questions the judges threw at them with the exception of a couple who flunked theirs.
Then came the moment of truth, when the winners were separated from participants.
2nd runner up was Miss Abigail Udu, a very beautiful ‘sisi’, who had a lot of fans among the guests shouting their approval each time her name was mentioned. However, she could only manage to occupy the third spot.
1st runner up was the crowd favourite. Miss Ure Ndukwo connected ever so well with the crowd from her first appearance to the last, and despite her not putting a foot wrong all evening, the dark African beauty with all her swagger eventually came short of becoming the Sisi Oge 2014. She accepted the result with grace as she couldn’t stop smiling after her name was announced as the first runner up.
The Sisi Oge 2014, Simisola Banjo looked the part from her first appearance. Coincidentally, she was the contestant number 1 and she always chose the first question, so it was only befitting that the most confident, smart and beautiful of the lot was crowned queen.
ENCOMIUM Weekly’s DANIEL FAYEMI had a chat with the newly crowned Sisi Oge as well as the first and second runners up on their emergence and what they plan to do next.
‘I’m really excited’ -SIMISOLA BANJO (winner)
Congratulations on your victory tonight?
Thank you very much.
How are you feeling now?
I’m really excited. I thank God Almighty for this beautiful day, for the platform that I have been given today to give back to the society. I’m so happy.
Did you see yourself winning this from the onset?
I won’t lie to you, I was actually so scared. I didn’t see this coming because I saw loads of ladies that I thought could be the queen. I just thank God for crowning my efforts.
What worked for you?
I think it was my confidence, costumes and my charisma.
Now that you have won, what do you intend to do with this crown?
My plan is to make an impact on the society. I’m going to run a project called Mother and Child, it would be for teenage mothers and the less privileged. I also plan to run a campaign for peace. Those are the two projects I have on my mind right now.
What word of encouragement do you have for ladies that want to participate in competitions like this?
I’d say that not all pageants are not free and fair. This one was very free and fair and I want to thank the organisers and the sponsors for this wonderful opportunity.
What about the prize, have you received anything?
I’m supposed to get a car, but they are still working on the branding so I cannot disclose anything about that for now.
‘I don’t feel disappointed at all’ -URE NDUKWO (1st runner-up)
Do you feel disappointed you didn’t win the Sisi Oge crown as you were a crowd favourite?
No, I don’t feel disappointed at all. I was almost there and I’m not a loser, I’m still a winner and I’m proud of what I was able to achieve here. I’m very happy.
So, you don’t have any regret whatsoever?
No, I don’t. Not at all.
What next for you, how would you use this platform?
I plan to help youths with self employment workshops and programmes so they can learn how they can be gainfully engaged instead of having to go look for jobs.
I wish you good luck?
‘I feel happy right now’ -ABIGAIL UDU (2nd runner-up )
How do you feel emerging the 2nd runner up?
I feel happy right now, though I wished I emerged the winner but I know everything happens for the best. I’m glad I am the 2nd runner up.
What next for you?
Although I didn’t win, I will still be an ambassador for culture. I will as much as I can promote the African culture, attires and the language too.
Do you have any regrets participating in this competition?
No regret at all. I’m happy I participated because I have learnt a lot, I have also met a lot of wonderful people and the experience will remain with me for a long time so no regret at all.