By Josephine Obute/Nkiru Ifeajuna
Lagos – Miss Oluwatosin Shola-Shittu, 22, an undergraduate of Elizade University, Ilara-Mokin, Ondo State, emerged the new winner of the of Queen Moremi Ajasoro Beauty Pageant in the early hours of Monday, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
The new queen emerged at the grand finale of the show held at the Oriental Hotel, Lekki in Lagos after a 10-day camp at the Grand Resort, in Ile-Ife, Osun.
NAN reports that Shola-Shittu, an Automotive Engineering undergraduate took over the reign from the first and outgoing queen, Blessing Animashun.
Animahaun, a 600-level Dental-Surgery student of the University of Ibadan, was crowned by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, in 2016 in Ile-Ife.
NAN also reports that 25 contestants slugged it at the final following the eviction of 16 candidates that went for the training at Ile Ife.
NAN also reports that 41 candidates were shortlisted out of the 500 that obtained forms to participate in the event.
The contest, sponsored by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, was open to young ladies from ages 18 years to 25 years, of which at least one of their parents must be of Yoruba lineage from Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, Lagos, Ondo, Kwara and Kogi states.
Oba Ogunwusi, who is the grand patron of Queen Moremi Ajasoro (QMA), presented to the new queen, a N5 Million investment fund and a brand new saloon car.
He also pronounced her the Cultural Ambassador to his throne for one year.
Responding, the 500-level undergraduate told NAN that she was overwhelmed by the results because she saw it as a reward for hard work.
“I feel great, I am short of words because I see myself as a testimony for hard work, it proved that nothing can be achieved without hard work and determination,” she said.
The new queen said she would focus on the upliftment of the younger generation as soon as she assume office.
“I am kicking off with projects for school children and youths, I have a tour-to-schools programme where I will encourage the pupils on the essence of hard work, teach them that nothing can be achieved without patience and hard work,” she said.
The Heritage ambassador to QMA, Princess Ronke Ademiluyi, while presenting the new queen to the Ooni, said the House of Oduduwa project was an empowerment for young girls who might have thought all hopes were lost.
“The foundation is concerned about the lots of young ladies who might be victims of human trafficking, rape, assault and gender discrimination and finds alternative for their survival.
“Thanks to the Imperial Majesty for going all out to support this project which focuses on cultural promotion and empowerment of young girls.
“It is a known fact that when you empower a girl-child, you empower a nation, which is why the Ooni has decided to support this global initiative right from when he ascended the throne of his ancestors,” she said.
Also speaking, the wife of the Ogun State Governor, Mrs Olufunso Amosun, urged everyone to support and uphold the nation’s culture and heritage.
She said they could be combined with beauty.
“We cannot continue to uphold borrowed culture, our culture is everything that we owe and have, it is very important for us to be proud of it
“I give kudos to Princess Ademiluyi and her team,” she said.
Miss Ajibade Akanke, one of the contestants who reached the top 10, and crowned Miss Amity (most friendly), said the contest was an experience to learn about the realities of life.
Akanke congratulated the new queen and the organisers of the QMA pageant.
She said that the contest had impacted positively on many lives.
Also, 24-year- old Abiodun Gaffar, said though she did not get to the top 10 position, she had learnt how to relate with her peers based on her experience at the camp.
“This is my first attempt so I am not hurt about the outcome. The most important thing is that I have learnt how to tolerate others, be brave and patient to achieve success,” she said.
Awards for special contributions in the industry were presented to Veteran actor Jide Kosoko, Laja Adedoyin, Falilat Ogunsanya, Funke Oshinaike, and others.
Some of the dignitaries at the event were the Ooni Ogunwusi, Minister of Information, represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mrs Grace Gekpe.
Others include : the wife of the Ogun State governor, Mrs Olufunso Amosun, Dr Olu Akin, Mrs Laja Adedoyin, Funke Osinaike and a host of others.