When Gee Concepts Modelling Company successfully organised the Miss Abia Beauty Pageant 2021 on April 11, not a few regarded it as one of those shows that glitter and fade.
But the government of Abia State, which authorised and collaborated with the company to stage the pageant in Umuahia looked beyond the glitz.
The government said that it recognised beauty pageants as a form of youth empowerment given the prizes that come with such shows.
The star prize of the pageant, a car, was last Friday presented to the winner of Miss Abia 2021, Chikaodi Agidi, a student of Abia State University Uturu(ABSU).
Handing over the car keys to Miss Abia 2021, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Chief Friday Ikpeoha, explained that the beauty pageant was in consonance with the mandate of the ministry to build, develop and empower the Abia youth.
"So, we can't bring out Abia youths to what won't benefit them. The company registered with the Ministry of Youth Development, we brought state government officials to identify with the (pageant).
"Government was fully involved because we saw that what he(Gees Concept MD) was doing was real. What the company did is a kind of empowerment, just like the winner was given a car, there was consolation prices," he added.
Ikpeoha, who commended the company for sincerity in redeeming the prizes to the pageant winners, pledged that "the ministry and Abia State government will continue to partner the company in doing more programmes that will benefit the youth and the state".
Managing Director of Gees Concept Modelling Company, Mr. Felix Onuiri, noted that it was a difficult task convincing the girls that the pageant was for real.
According to him, the activities of fake modelling companies that had in the past come up with fraudulent pageants had made the girls to lose faith in participating in pageants.
Onuiri therefore called on Abia State government to set up a taskforce that would monitor the modelling companies to checkmate the fraudulent ones.
He advocated that whoever intends to organise a pageant should be made to bring out the prizes first before the show would be allowed to hold.
He said the Miss Abia 2021 pageant was free and fair, noting that the eligibility criterion, which stipulated that contestants must have lived in Abia for at least two years, irrespective of where she hails from, was strictly applied.
The modelling company boss said the car presented to Miss Abia 2021 was fully insured and with a clause that the car won't be moved out of Abia State until after a year.
He further stated that the branding on the car would remain for a year after which "the car totally becomes the property of the model".
In turn, Abia beauty queen, Miss Chikaodi Agidi, said she would devote the period of her reign to visit secondary schools and educate students on how to resist sexual harassment and other forms of abuse.