The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed says Miss Nigeria Pageantry is an integral part of the nation’s creative industry that should be made a national asset.
The minister stated this on Friday in Abuja when the management of Daily Times, the initiator and franchise owner of Miss Nigeria pageantry visited him in his office.
It was reported that the delegation was led by the Chairman of Daily Times, Mr Fidelis Anosike and accompanied by the 40th Miss Nigeria, Chioma Obiadi.
Mohammed said that the competition which started way back in 1957 had evolved over the years and should be strengthened to become a national asset.
Linking pageantry to tourism, the minister said the history of the competition globally dates back to medieval time in 1821 when a business man wanted to attract tourists to his city, New Jersey.
“I look at beauty pageantry as one of the integral part of creative industry because it awakens all segments of the sector. “Beauty Pageantry is beyond gathering together of some beautiful ladies to judge them by their physical attribute. It is a catalyst for the creative industry and it must be encouraged.
“At the beginning of the beauty pageantry all over the world, it was not too popular and some people view it as not decent.
“However, over the years, the occupiers of the titles have made a whole of difference of it.
“Today, we see a beauty pageant becoming a role model and we have seen where the position is used effectively even in times of war and conflict.
“At the level of Miss Nigeria, the occupier has become the ambassador and embodiment of everything that is good in Nigeria and it is not a title to be taken lightly,’’ he said.
The minister advised the delegation to partner with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) in promoting the Miss Nigeria Pageantry.
He said the partnership would put the competition on a completely new pedestal.
“We can work out the details, but in doing so you must be ready to let go some of the proprietorship interest,’’ he said.
Anosike said that Daily Times conceived Miss Nigeria pageantry in 1957 to create a young female empowerment platform.
He recalled that the winner of the maiden Miss Nigeria pageantry is Mrs Grace Oyelude, now 85 years, from Kogi state and she represented Kano state at the competition.
Anosike said the platform had helped in promoting the nation, its culture and values and therefore seek collaboration with the ministry to further advance the competition.
Obiadi, the reigning pageant who represented Anambra state, thanked the minister for receiving them and pledged her readiness to partner with government in promoting national cultural values and heritage.