Vanguard (Lagos)

24 January 2013

Nigeria: You Don't Need to Sleep Around to Win Laurels - Ajem, Beauty Pageant Winner

interview

Comfort Msurshima Ajem is a 300 level student of Mass Communication and the Kumashe u Tiv of the Benue State University, Makurdi. In this interview, she talked about her experiences and public misconception about her crown.

How did you emerge the Kumashe?

It was a contest. Many things like dancing were involved. There was also a greeting segment where we were required to greet in the traditional way. We came out in different traditional attires and I emerged the best among those who contested. I also contested for the Makurdi Youth Deanery and I am the pioneer Queen of the contest.

What have you done since you ascended the throne?

I have not done anything. I wanted to do one programme but the funds were not there. You see, our people don't encourage us. If they did, you could touch the lives of people. But if funds are not there, it is difficult. You win a crown and for you to do one or two things, the funds are not there. It is very bad.

What are the duties of your office?

You stop wearing trousers. You won't date any non-tribal person. You behave well. You stop clubbing and the likes to show a good example to others. This is the symbol of the Tiv people. Our forefathers were very conservative. As Kumashe, you have to adopt their way of life. Sometimes, my mates laugh at my hairstyle but you just have to be you because you are representing your culture.

What do you think about a beauty queen's dress code?

It is not by dressing and exposing yourself that you can find anything. Someone can still admire you if you dress decently. If you go to the university, you will see the rate of indecent dressing. I advise the youth to adopt the cultures of their people. Dress decently and people will respect you. It is not by exposing yourself that someone will admire you. They should be proud of their cultures. Many of them don't even know how to speak their dialects. Some pretend that they don't know. It is good to be proud of where you are coming from.

What are the challenges of the crown?

You know, you always have to look good. If you get to a place and someone says this is the Kumashe and you don't look good, it is not right. And looking good is not easy.

What do you think of some conceptions people have about beauty pageants?

The advice I will give them is that it is not what they think. You just need confidence. At first, people said you will need to sleep with people to win the crown. But when I went there, I didn't see anything like that. It was the audience that gave me the crown. You don't need to sleep with people. I will advise people to believe in themselves. I was just in 100 Level and I didn't know anybody but I won because I believed in myself.

Where do you fellowship and what does your pastor think about your crown?

Well, I am a Catholic. My first crown was actually a Catholic contest. It was because I was the best-behaved lady that I won, and it is expected that I will transfer those good qualities I have to the BSU contest. I am also planning to go for the national Kumashe u Tiv.

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