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Be mindful of leaders you elect in 2023, Miss Gorgeous advises youth

By Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
18 August 2022   |   10:00 am
Winner of the Most Gorgeous Girl in Nigeria pageant, Queen Rukayyah, has called on Nigerian youth to be mindful of the leaders they will elect during the 2023 election, stressing that next year's election is a one-time chance for youth to right the wrongs of past leaders.

Queen Rukayyah

Winner of the Most Gorgeous Girl in Nigeria pageant, Queen Rukayyah, has called on Nigerian youth to be mindful of the leaders they will elect during the 2023 election, stressing that next year’s election is a one-time chance for youth to right the wrongs of past leaders.

According to her, the youths must not vote based on gender sentiments but vote for candidates on the basis of their ability and capacity to deliver.

Speaking to newsmen in Abuja yesterday Rukayyah stated that Nigeria needs more women at leadership positions just as she hailed the emergence of Aishatu Binani, senator representing Adamawa Central as the governorship candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Adamawa State in the 2023 election.

Her words: “Recently a woman emerged the governorship candidate for APC. This indeed is a win for both men and women because I am very sure that it was not only women that voted for her in the primaries.

These are the kinds of steps we need to encourage women to start taking interest in politics, and that is why the theme of the Most Gorgeous Girl in Nigeria pageant for last year was, “We Walk This Part.”

Adding: “It means that we are walking our way to leadership and changing the narrative. She won the ticket due to support from both men and women. They supported her because they saw her as someone who has the capacity to deliver as a governor. That is why I advise people not to vote because someone is a woman or a man. Vote for what they can offer and their values.

“I want to encourage the youth to live up to their responsibilities by collecting their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and vote in the next election.

“This is our one-time chance to make things right for the next four years.”

Speaking on gender-based violence, the 500-Level Law student, University of Maiduguri, Borno State, advised young girls to purchase pepper spray as a precautionary measure against being raped by randy men.

While imploring girls to know how and when to seek legal redress if molested, she added: “Being an advocate against gender-based violence, I understand that a lot of men and women face this problem, especially women.

“We have been sensitizing women on different forms of domestic violence. Last year, we had a programme relating to that. We taught young girls how to defend themselves.

“We taught them how to make and use pepper spray. Some of them go out to read at night without knowing what will happen. So, we made them to understand that having a pepper spray is a step towards protecting themselves.

“We taught them how to use it wisely and responsibly. They were also taught on how to seek legal redress”, she said.

Rukayyah further promised to use her platform to reinforce her course for quality education, sanitation and clean water and decent work growth as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to her, she would not tow the part of beauty queens who only visit orphanage homes to distribute food items, but she would introduce life-changing projects to benefit thousands of Nigerians, especially in the North.

She said: “As the most gorgeous girl in Nigeria, I am passionate about executing projects that would touch the lives of others especially those at the grassroots level.

“It is not all about going to orphanage homes. Most beauty queens are known for reaching out to orphanages to share food items and that is it which does not have a long time impact.

“What I look at is how to impact the lives of individuals. My passion is to execute projects that are sustainable. I am also an advocate for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“So, my project is focusing on SDGs 4 which is education, SDGs 5 which is gender equality, SDGs 6.2 which is sanitation and clean water and SDGs 8 which is decent work and economic growth.

“We have been executing projects relating to SDGs 6 and 8 so far in Borno State. We have empowered young minds. We taught them how to make liquid soap and vaseline.

“We have Almajarai a lot and you see them coming with dry skins and smelling.

“We feel like teaching them how to make those things to help them curb whatever they are facing.

“So, it is decent work and economic growth because they cannot only use this for themselves but they will also sell it out and make a profit.

“It is a long-term plan. It is not a one-time initiative. We are also looking at a quality education. We are looking at partnering with the Kaduna and Kano States government to implement it.

“They have already sent us an email that we requested for a meeting.

“We are also organising a programme in Ibadan, Oyo State during the commissioning of the national museum on August 20.

“It is about inspiring young minds and showcasing their skills and talents in different arts. We want them to start thinking innovatively.”

The Ambassador of Museums in Nigeria, also recounted how she was able to break the embargo preventing female students from contesting for elective positions at the University of Maiduguri, especially her department.

“I remember a time I saw a flyer on MGGN, I was elated and I saw it as an opportunity to change the narrative about pageantry.

“In my school then, females were discouraged from contesting any leadership position in the Students Union Government (SUG). I was the first junior student to actually vie for a position against my seniors.

“And because I am a law student, there is a lot of seniorities. I broke that record. I felt it was another chance to change the narrative that Muslim girls can participate without conforming to anything they do not want to do.

“I went for it, registered and made my research. One of the things that impressed me was that MGGN is not interested in ladies wearing swimsuits.”
Adding: “Because even the Miss Universe contest you see them wearing swimsuits and exposing themselves.

“I did not feel comfortable wearing it and MGGN supported me. It enabled me to convince my family. It is not against my religion or culture or my personal values,” narrated.

According to her, “There are risk everywhere. But if we keep running away from certain things that need to be done, we will never go anywhere.

“That is why I feel like the objective of establishing any beauty pageant is to show that you could actually do things for yourself without relying on any person whether it is the opposite gender or your fellow gender.

“So, this organisation encourages us to reach out to philanthropists, organisations and governments to partner with to execute projects”.

And not an individual that would require us to do things that we do not want to do.

“This is why we inspire other women that pageantry does not mean that they would have to conform to things they do not want before getting what they want.”

Rukkaya said as parts of plans to tackle out-of-school children, especially in the North, her foundation had collaborated with some organisations to sponsor about 50 young girls through primary, and secondary schools and university.

“I see pageantry as a platform to boost my advocacy. Now is an opportunity to widen my plans and write all the things that I need”, she added.

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