By Vincent Ujumadu, Awka
WHEN 19 year –old Miss Chidinma Okeke won the beauty pageant organized by the state -owned Anambra Broadcasting Service, ABS, in October last year, little did anybody know that her reign would turn out to be an anticlimax. Her colleagues and peers who envied her after the exercise have started singing a different tune. In fact, her emergence generated some controversy.
For instance, most people in the audience on the day of the event had expected the crown to go to the representative of one local government area in Anambra Central senatorial zone, who was considered the best, such that when Chidinma’s name was announced as the winner, there were shouts of disapproval in the hall. However, the judges knew better and Chidinma was eventually crowned.
Chidinma was expected to hand over to a new queen during another exercise earlier slated for next month, but the people of Anambra State were taken aback when the organizers unceremoniously stripped her of the title, withdrew her star prize ( a car) and suspended indefinitely the organization of next month’s pageant. The ‘Miss Anambra 2015’ boldly marked on the car was immediately deleted and the car parked at the premises of the ABS.
Shortly after she was stripped of the crown, the social media was awash with video clips where the beauty queen was allegedly practicing lesbianism with another girl. Though she made herself incommunicado after the incident, her lawyer, Mr. Ikenna Obidiegwu later arranged for a press conference to be addressed by the beauty queen to state her own side of the story.
The briefing, scheduled to take place at the NUJ Press Center, Awka, ended abruptly when information filtered into the area that some gunmen were coming to disrupt the press conference. It was gathered that Miss Okeke had vowed to expose those behind her ordeal in the controversial video, but her lawyer later said that she could no longer address journalists because her life was threatened.
A message she sent on her Face book account shortly after read : “The moment I made public this intention to speak with journalists, I was under siege of threats by my blackmailers and traducers. They are seriously threatening to shoot me at the press conference if I ever open my mouth to say the real truth about the ugly episode. “Since I have no protection and if I die now, the truth will be buried forever, it’s my intention to sacrifice myself to save not just myself but other girls and other upcoming pageant by letting the world know the truth and what we go through.”
She said her traducers had continued to assemble all manner of expertise and professionals to edit the video and send them in batches. Two episodes of the video were released last week and there were fears that more would come out by this weekend.
As the controversy raged, officials of ABS, organizers of the pageant, on Thursday issued a statement denying their complicity in the circulation of the video. The statement read: “The attention of the management of the Anambra Broadcasting Service, organizers of the Miss Anambra Beauty Pageant has been drawn to a video with lurid contents purportedly showing former Miss Anambra, Miss Chidinma Okeke (Miss Anambra 2015).
“We wish to make the following clarifications; The said Miss Chidinma Okeke who is allegedly linked to the lurid content in circulation has served-out her term as Miss Anambra 2015 and handed over the crown in line with the terms and conditions of the Miss Anambra pageant.
“We condemn in clear terms any amoral behaviour/ conduct as suggested by the alleged lurid content in circulation and do not condone such. It is on record that the Miss Anambra Beauty pageant has been a platform to empower Anambra women and celebrate our rich culture and heritage. Winners of the pageant are bound by contracts to be of good conduct and moral behaviour and to uphold/maintain the honour in their position as queen.
“Winners of the pageant also contract to refrain from any personal relationship that could appear to hinder their ability to perform the duties of their office as queen and role model and we do not expect any less. We therefore wish to dissociate the Miss Anambra pageant from any discussions on the said allegations.
“We feel sufficiently perturbed by the mere reference already made to the pageant and hereby state that we are in no way connected to the controversy.
“We apologize to the government and good people of Anambra State, our sponsors, supporters, friends and all those associated with the Miss Anambra project for the embarrassment the mere reference to the pageant in the controversy may have caused; whilst reassuring of the good intentions of the Miss Anambra pageant franchise.”
The Civil Liberties Organization, CLO, in a statement issued by its South East coordinator, Comrade Alloy Attah, described the incident as very shameful.
Attah said: “The sex act recorded and edited professionally portrays the level of moral decadence in the society. The video and act not only debased the pride of motherhood and the worth of the girl-child but is a pointer that many have descended to the level lower than animals in their instincts.
“The action of Chidinma and her co-partners is highly condemnable. While we know that lesbianism or same sex is prohibited and criminalized in our laws, we need to go beyond the actual fact and find out those behind the scene and their roles in the sordid act.”
According to CLO, questions that should agitate the minds of the people are: “Who recorded the video? Who leaked it? What was the motive for recording such a thing? Who commissioned the recording? Was it a precondition before announcing Chidinma as winner of the pageant? Who were the people behind the scene directing the act?”
To CLO, there were unanswered questions and the organizers of the pageant need to tell the world what they know in the entire saga and why they hurriedly withdrew her crown and the star prize and later issued a statement absolving themselves from the circulation of the video when Chidinma threatened to expose the entire debacle.
The CLO further said: “Chidinma has alleged threat to her life and had to chicken out of her earlier scheduled press conference where she would have revealed what many of us do not know. We call for adequate security for her while she should be monitored closely so that she won’t take any rash action that may injure her life.
“She needs psychological and spiritual rehabilitation as well as deliverance. It is also very important that she is guided to say all she knows about the ugly incident. The act is a dent on the image of the state and those behind the pageant. Anambra State is the light of the nation and should be a pace setter in all facets of excellence.”
Anambra State government officials kept sealed lips on the matter yesterday, but the incident had become the talk of the town. One fall-out of the incident in the state was that cucumber, which Chidinma and her sex mate in the video used to represent the male organ during their act, had become more or less a forbidden fruit as the female gender no longer purchased it in public.
A female civil servant, who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “We like cucumber in my family and I usually buy it. But I discovered that as I was buying it at the popular Aroma junction in Awka few days ago, many eyes were on me. It was later that someone told me that it was because of the Miss Anambra saga that made people to stop buying it in public.”