Saturday, 2 August 2014
I Hope to be Married someday! – IRENE ONWUKA, MISS AMBASSADOR FOR PEACE
You’re such a beautiful woman. What is the secret of your beauty?
Honestly, God is responsible for my good looks. He has been lifting me higher and actualising my dreams and this gives me fulfilment, making me beautiful from the inside out.
Since you emerged Miss Ambassador for Peace, what has the journey been like?
To God be the glory, I have impacted the lives of children and adults alike especially widows and school children. We distributed school materials to pupils and mosquito treated nets in states like Abia, Niger, Nazarawa, Kano, Abuja and Kaduna. We have done a lot of educational campaigns in schools. We also collaborated with the Ministry of The Niger-Delta under its Youth for Peace Summit/Peace Education Campaign.
As a beauty queen, what is your main pet project?
Basically it is centred on children. I am also a writer. I wrote a book for children entitled, The Emeralds. The objective is to help inculcate good morals in our children and let them know that education is imperative for them as future leaders.
Could you tell us about your background?
I grew up in Aba, Abia State. I studied at Abia State University and Imo State University where I studied History & International Relations. I am presently undergoing my national youth service year. However, my growing up years shaped me into an independent lady. My parents are disciplinarians and I believe those values they made me imbibe as a child has played a major role in shaping me today.
How did you get into the pageant?
A friend sold the idea to me. And besides, I have always wanted to become an ambassador because that is what History & International Relations is all about. So after my friend sold the idea to me, I applied and it was really challenging. There were over 36 beautiful and intelligent contestants in that pageantry. I had to work really extra hard and I am happy I was crowned Miss Ambassador for Peace 2013.
There were over 36 contestants in the pageantry, how did you emerge winner?
I believe it is all about being elegant and confident; if you are bold, there is no limit to what you can achieve. I strongly believe in my potentials. Beauty pageantry is like politics. You have to go on stage and assure people that you are going to make impact in their lives when you finally emerge winner. Of course, they look forward to the execution of your promises. In fact, I am elated to have reached out to people through this medium.
How has your reign transformed you?
I believe life is not about just thinking of yourself but thinking about those around you. As an ambassador, I have realised that I am no longer a girl but a mother to every child out there; the pageant has also taught me the need for humility.
How have you used your reign to preach peace in Nigeria especially at this time of crisis?
I have advocated peace in schools, educating children on the need for peaceful co-existence. It is what we need in our country because if there is no peace, there would be no meaningful development economically. We have travelled across the country with this message of peace. A major point was our collaboration with the Ministry of The Niger Delta under its peace initiative.
Recently, a beauty queen narrated how an agency made empty promises but dumped her at the end. Tell us your own story?
(Laughter) veni vidi vichi. In my case I came, saw and conquered. My agency has been wonderful. They gave me the platform and I had the opportunity to travel abroad on several peace tours. I got a brand new Mercedes Benz car and a mouth watering cash prize. I must appreciate Ambassador Kingsley Amafibe for being there for me.
Who is the lucky guy taking care of you?
I don’t want to talk about my relationship, it’s my private life and not for public consumption.
Are you saying you are not in love with this man enough to talk about him in public?
Let’s say my reign as Peace Ambassador has taken much of my time. I am neck deep in humanitarian work, so I don’t have time for my personal life, least of all romance.
Men will definitely admire you as you travel across the world…?
I have been told that I have all it takes to be adored by men. I have a lot of admirers who shower me with compliments on my looks and command of the English language. And I have met a lot of nice and influential people who compliment me and now I am used to it.
How do you handle them?
I always let them know my reign is a priority and I am glad they respect my decision. Maybe, they are all lined up, waiting patiently for me to step down as Queen.
Are you saying you don’t have a boyfriend?
In fact, I hope to be with someone when I eventually handover my crown to the next Queen on September 27, at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, when the next edition is held.