Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo has called on beauty pageants organisers to make the crusade against illiteracy and poverty their objective for promoting such events.
Okorocha made the call when contestants and organisers of a non-bikini beauty pageant scheduled to hold in Owerri on Nov. 29, paid him a courtesy visit.
In a statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Sam Onwuemeodo on Sunday, Okorocha expressed hope that the pageant would project the culture and ideals of an African woman, which promoted decency.
“It has always been my desire to see Africans under one roof to dramatise African Unity so that wherever Africans find themselves, they will remain united people.
“And today that dream has come true as all parts of Africa have converged in Imo State to promote those ideals.
“I want you to understand that though languages may seem to divide us, hills and oceans may separate us, but what keeps us as Africans is more important than the rivers and oceans that separate us.
“I am equally happy that you are here to promote culture, decency and also to represent the very ideals of the African woman by having a non-bikini contest.
“This is what caught my interest, that and the fact that you love education and have come to promote education and to speak for those vulnerable children; those who could not go to school due to poverty. ”
He advised the contestants against making the same mistakes others before them had made, noting that Africa was looking up to them for a change in perception and hope for a better tomorrow through them.
“We are getting old and you are the next generation of Africans; We may have made mistakes as your leaders, elders and parents, but you must never make the same mistakes made in our time.
“Africa looks up to you, we have gone through a very difficult time ranging from poverty to insurgency to natural disasters, to HIV and many ills that have befallen the African nations.
“This is a trial time for Africa; take note that you have a responsibility to build a greater Africa for the next generation of Africans.
The governor also urged the beauties to display the spirit of sportsmanship because all of them were winners if they imbibed the African spirit.
“We urge all of you to remember the less-privileged in Africa and become ambassadors in the fight against poverty in Africa.
“Your contest is different from others because it is a contest of brain, beauty, patriotism and nationalism.
“Whoever wins the contest will be made a citizen of Imo State. In the contest there must be a winner and loser when you lose, in African Spirit, hug the person that wins.
“As you leave Imo State, you will become ambassadors of Rochas Foundation College of Africa; You must speak against illiteracy and encourage African children to be in School no matter their background.”
Earlier, the President of the Organising group, Mr. Taylor Nasar, said the pageant started in 2010 and was aimed at discouraging indecent dressing in Africa.
“You do not have to expose your body or sell your body to become a celebrity, this is the message we are giving to them. ”
The pageant will have beauty queens from 55 African countries participating. (NAN)