When Miss Ozashawa Pricilla Odonye was crowned Miss Alago on December 28th, 2018 a table was set for her to sit with the custodians of the Alago culture.
The new young queen represented a niche for the younger generation to commune with the elders and learn all the documents that were preserved for centuries so the passage of this heritage will continue.
Miss Odonye is from Obi local government area of Nasarawa state and entered into the cultural pageant because of her love for modelling and adventures. She is a 400 level of Unversity of Jos, Plateau state majoring in Chemistry.
When she emerged the winner on the 28th, December 2018 among other contesters, the duty to promote the rich culture of the Alago people was passed on to her as a representative of the new generation.
In an online interview with haderotakisblog, the new queen shared with us her passion, educational background, family and cultural background, relationship status and her hope for the future.
Read the interview with Miss Ozashawa Priscilla Odonye below:
HOB:- Ok, let start with your real name?
M.A:- My name is Ozashawa Priscilla Odonye.
HOB: where are you from?
M.A: I’m from Obi local government in Nasarawa state.
HOB: tell us about yourself, tell us about your background, anything about yourself?
M.A: ok, I’m 24 years old, I am a student at the University of Jos, Plateau state, a 400 level studying chemistry. I graduated from st. Kizito secondary school in the year 2013. I’m from the family of five, I’m the third child of Mr and Mrs Sunday Odonye who are also from Obi local government of Nasarawa state.
HOB: socially, what kind of person are you? Introvert or extrovert?
M.A: I am an introvert.
HOB: what makes you think you are an introvert?
M.A: because I love to mind my business, I’m someone who likes to mind her business and do things my own way. I don’t like to pork nose or get into people’s affairs.
HOB: let talk about the crown you won, the miss Alago crown. When did you become the Alago queen?
M.A: ok, I became miss Alago on the 28th of December 2018.
HOB: for how long is your reign going to last?
M.A: it going to last for a year. On the 28th of December 2019, a new Alago queen will be crowned.
HOB: are you the first miss Alago? Is this the first edition?
M.A: Yeah, I am. Yes, it is,
HOB: since you became miss Alago what impact has your crown made in the promotion of the Alago culture?
M.A: before I was crowned, I had projects I wanted to do on the ground but because it’s hard to get supports from people and that has delayed my plans, that’s one of the challenges I’m facing. But I am not letting all these challenges stop me from what I intend to accomplish. Of late, I have been able to organize skill acquisitions for young women and after that, I had a chat with Kenny Jack and had a hangout. We talk about good hygiene, self-love and so many other things. I still plan on reaching out to people, to go into the remote villages of the state and donate provisions like toiletries, materials, good food etc to the people. That the next project I have in line. After that, I am going to organize a talent hunt for young people.
HOB: all these projects you mentioned above, are they going to stop after your reign as miss Alago or it’s something you intend supporting even after the next queen is crowned?
M.A: ok, all these I’m doing now are still going to continue after my reign, I’m still going to continue with the projects irrespective of if I am still the miss Alago or not. The skills acquisition I told you about, everyone that attended left with one or two skills and they can use that skill they gained from the program for a lifetime and will help them in a long run. Aside from that, the talent hunt is an outlet we want to create to motivate anyone with talent to showcase what they got, also to encourage that this talent they have is not wasted and can be used to build a lucrative career for themselves. Their talent can also put good food on their table so that in the future they can look back and be grateful.
HOB: ok, you mentioned some challenges you have in getting supports from individuals for the projects you intend to do, are you saying that the miss Alago office has not opened doors for you since you became the Alago queen?
M.A: thank you very much for this question. The office of miss Alago has opened doors and exposed me to a whole lot, to people and things I have never dreamed of. I have gotten assistance from so many people. Everything I have done so far, wouldn’t have been possible without the help of people that I came across and helped me. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish them on my own. So, I can say that this office has helped me a lot and taken me to a better place and I know it’s going to help me get to that place I’m dreaming of. But in everything in life, you face a challenge, that’s life. So, I can’t really say everything has been a smooth ride so far.
HOB: can you cite one example of the things that has happened to you since you became miss Alago?
M.A: the good or the bad?
HOB: both, anyone you are comfortable with?
M.A: for me, nothing bad has happened to me since I became miss Alago, it has been a good thing because I have met a lot of people that assisted me through the crown, assisted me in my personal life, even as a queen and the things I needed to do. I think the miss Alago thing is a different pageant entirely compare to other pageants out there. That all I can say for now.
HOB: there is a general belief that most girls that contested for any kind of pageantry event ended up sleeping with the judges or the organizers of the show to seek favour or help them win, did that happen to you?
M.A: I also had the same impression of beauty pageants too. I was told that I had to go extra miles to win and all that but to my greatest surprise it didn’t happen to me because I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to do all that or do what any other girl will do to win. For me, I will ever be grateful because the judges were strict and straight forward, they didn’t compromise their integrity by favouring one girl over the others, they were impartial. So, everything that happened that day was just God, they judged base on who they thought was the best among the girls and after that, there was never a time I was asked to do anything or been harassed by any one of them, no, it didn’t happen. No one ever asked me to come and do this to get this because you are a queen. So for me, it’s a different thing. You remember I told you that the miss Alago beauty pageant is different from any other pageant.
HOB: are you in a relationship? Do you have a boyfriend?
M.A: Yeah, I do, I do.
HOB: ok. And do you think that since you became the miss Alago you have been getting more attention from men?
M.A: (mild laughter) Yes, I have. Though many people think that it’s normal for anyone to see you out there and like you and now that I am a public figure, yeah I have gotten more attention than before but that has never distracted me from that I intend to accomplish
HOB: How do you combine your studies and your social responsibilities as the miss Alago? Since you are science student reading chemistry at the university, how do you cope?
M.A: since I became the queen of Alago, I told myself that I wasn’t going to allow this distract me cause the main thing, the reason I’m out here and because I can’t even be a queen if I don’t go to school. So, this crown came when I was already in school and I won’t allow it to distract me. The first thing I did was to keep my crown at home while I go to school, once I’m in school I try as much as possible to avoid anything that will distract me or anything coming from the pageant aspect of my life or the social life, so when I’m in school I know I’m in school and any opportunity I get to be at home I come back home to do something or whatever project I have in mind I just go to school and when I have a break I will rush down to Nasarawa state and do them. So, that’s how I have tried to balance them all.
HOB: what do you think is the sole responsibilities of a miss Alago?
M.A: the main thing is to take this culture of ours, to bring promotional opportunity to the Alago community first and secondly, to bring out the beauty in the culture. This is an ethnic group that is a bit obscure and some people don’t even know we exist, so with my position now the main thing miss Alago is supposed to do is to announce this culture to the world and to let them know that we exist, and also to let them see the beauty of our culture. Also, everything we get out there we bring back to the people so that they can benefit and become something better. An example is: the Alago women travel a lot, they travel to Lagos, Port Harcourt and other places to do an odd job and domestic work, for me, I think it’s wrong, I don’t see it as the best thing for them, anything can happen to them out there. So as a queen if I’m able to bring them a better opportunity to this people, it will stop them from travelling, even if they don’t stop completely, it will reduce the rate of Alago women travelling out there for odd jobs. Because most of them don’t come back home and some that do, come back infected with one or two sexually transmitted disease. So, I believe that one of the sole responsibilities of Alago queen.
HOB: so you are saying that, for some Alago women that travel out there to make a living for themselves, they shouldn’t go but rather stay back home and do what they have to do at home?
M.A: Yeah, that’s what I am saying.
HOB: but are you aware that travelling is also another form of education?
M.A: Ok, the question is, what are you travelling out there to do? Are you just going out there to do domestic jobs to earn a living? What if you came back home and I teach you how to make bags, teach you how to sew and you use that skill to earn a living for yourself? Do you understand what I’m trying to say?
HOB: yeah, I do.
M.A: ok, that’s why I said it’s wrong. But if you are going out there for school, it’s a different thing, it’s a good idea, that’s good but to go out there to wash plates or maybe do something you are not supposed to do like sleeping with men for money. That’s tarnishing the name of the Alago women.
HOB: I understand your angle and in a way you are right. As miss Alago, have you travelled outside your present environment before? Outside your state or out of the country?
M.A: Yeah, I have. As the miss Alago, I have been to Abuja, been to Lagos and I still have a journey ahead of me, come November I will be travelling out of the country.
HOB: if you were to advise the next Alago queen, what would you say to her?
M.A: first of all, I would tell her to work alone because working with any other person is going to be a distraction, I think that’s the challenges I had too but I made my up my mind to work alone and that really helped me to move faster and better than the way I started. So, I would advise her not to compromise. And I want her to work hard, whatever I have not been able to achieve, she should be able to achieve it or even do better than myself.
HOB: you talked about promoting Alago culture, what platforms are you using? Are you using social media or physical platforms to do that?
M.A: I am using social media and sometimes when I meet people I use that opportunity to promote the culture. Some know about Eggon than Alago, so with that point, I tell them more about the beautiful Alago culture. And through social media as well. I have done photoshoots with the Alago traditional attire and posted them on my social media platforms and this has attracted a lot of people who often want to know more about the Alago culture. They also go as far as asking me where I’m from and my culture. With these mediums, I have tried to promote the culture extensively.
HOB: can you name some of the social media platforms you are using to promote?
M.A: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.
HOB: Ok, miss Priscilla, thank you very much for your time and do have a beautiful day.
M.A: thank you too.