In a bid to glamorize and give an endearing face to the much maligned oil and gas sector of the nation’s economy, considering the amount of stick it has received, and by extension create excitement for it too, a Lagos-based events management company, X-Plore Integrated Service Limited, has initiated plans for a beauty pageant that seeks to exclusively celebrate the women of the Niger Delta.
Recall that a certain Nigerian from Abonema, in Rivers State, Agbani Darego, had in 2001 stunned the world with her beauty.
Darego, won Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria in 2001 and then represented Nigeria in the 2001 Miss Universe competition, held in Bayamón, Puerto Rico where she placed among the top 10 semi-finalists, finishing seventh. She was the only black semi-finalist that year – and the only finalist to wear a maillot as opposed to the more popular bikini
In November 2001, Darego was crowned Miss World, becoming the first native Sub-Saharan African to claim the title which earned her the Nigerian national honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON).
Perhaps, to also counter and negate the wrong assumption that the entire South-South region is all about its solid mineral resources which undoubtedly abound in the region, the beauty pageant remarkably stands out as it aims to also celebrate the rather under-appreciated human resources of the peoples of the region, particularly the beauty of the women of the region.
The project which is lined up in collaboration with stakeholders in the oil and gas sector, has created the BlackGold Pageant and Awards, a ore goal of which is to appreciate and celebrate the black woman, especially the beautiful and graceful damsels from the oil- producing areas of Nigeria who most times, suffer the consequences of the many civil unrests erupting in the sector.
In addition to the actual event, the organisers have also promised that every edition of the pageant will in addition appreciate outstanding personalities and corporate entities who have contributed significantly to oil and gas development in Nigeria.
According to Louis Nwadialo, the Project Director of BlackGold Pageant and Awards, the event is packaged to be a unique and conspicuous symbolisation, adding: “The Black woman is as beautiful as gold”.
The pageant also aims to encourage the development of the youthful girl child in the oil producing communities especially, the Niger Delta of Nigeria and beyond through the celebration of her education, talent, skill and beauty through the platform of the oil and gas sector.
The pageant also aims to foster the development of tourism and youth empowerment by participating companies.
“BlackGold Pageant and Awards shall recognise and honour individuals as well as corporate entities that served well. The industry, irrespective of the sector they operate from government, the media, banking, telecom, insurance, and others, thus different categories of awards shall be presented to these deserving individuals and corporate entities.
“Though every contestant in the pageant will win consolatory prizes, the major bounty is for the winner and runners up of the pageant who will go home with cars of different categories as well as educational scholarships, gift items from sponsoring firms and trips to renowned holiday resorts. The delectable beauties with brains will also be available for endorsements of brands by companies who wish to buy into their image and social clout for the marginal benefit of their products and services.
“They shall also serve as ambassadors to oil and gas sector, and work in consonance with government, companies and individuals for the betterment and development of oil producing states and the youth in host communities,” assured Nwadialo.
An existing Committee to facilitate the BlackGold Pageant and Awards will work in concert with the BlackGold Panel of Judges to deliver a credible and seamless event, just as there will be a post event audit to create confidence and trust in the mind of sponsors and participants to encourage sustainability of the project.
The event is expected to commence in December in any of the South-South states.