|Joy Obasi winner of EPP 2009|
The second edition of the ECOWAS Peace Pageant (EPP), 2009 held recently in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, has crowned a 19 year-old Nigerian, Joy Ngozika Obasi, as the new ECOWAS Peace Ambassador in event keenly competed by 23 representatives of member states. Obasi, a native of Abia State, is a 200 level Micro-biology student of the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The event, an assemblage of the crème de la crème of the society, brought eminent personalities and artistes such as the ECOWAS President, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas; Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi; the legendary reggae artiste, Jimmy Cliff; and Cote D’Ivoirean, Alpha Blondy among others.
The Koko drummers and dancers opened the stage with a scintillating cultural display that made the over 3,000 crowd asking for more.
In his opening address the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Marcus Nle Ejii, said, “I am extremely happy today as we are proud to host the entire West Africa, Africa as a whole and even the world through the ECOWAS Peace Pageant (EPP). Our target is to return Port Harcourt to the old glorious city that is peaceful, loving, beautiful and ever ready to host the world; and the message of peace cannot be better preached than through this pageant.”
The Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi said, “we thank ECOWAS for the second time, especially the President and his entourage. I have seen the girls, they are quite beautiful, lovely and intelligent, they have enjoyed the best of our culture in the last two weeks and we say may the best mind and character iced with beauty be our peace ambassador.”
The ladies came out in four different attires including traditional costumes, white lace, swimming trunk and dinner wear after which they addressed the cheering crowd on “peace and how it could lead to sustainable development in Africa.”
Anchors by Comedian Yibo Koko from Nigeria and French speaking Bee Arthur of Ghana, the two intermittently tickle the audience with their hilarious jokes. The event also featured Little H, Nigeria’s youngest new sensational artiste, from the stable of La Face Records, who mesmerized the audience with his song and exceptional dancing steps that got the attention and applause of the audience, including the reggae icon, Jimmy Cliff. Dare Art Alade, the multiple award winner, six awards in 72 hours, was not left out of the show, as he thrilled the audience with his award winning song “ You are not the Girl” to the admiration of all, especially the ladies.
The ECOWAS President, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas ,who led other top ECOWAS officials to the event said” The ECOWAS Commission is delighted to be associated with the 2009 Peace Pageant, a collaboration between the Commission and the Government of Rivers State of Nigeria in the promotion of the region’s cultural heritage, peace and unity among member states.” Adding, he said, “this edition is dedicated to the promotion of peace, a cause, for which the region deplored its scarce human and material resources to.”
The duo of Sherifat and Wutah from Ghana, unleashed African-styled reggae music. The African Queen crooner, 2Face Idibia, took his time to do a special piece of the same African Queen Song with all the contestants. They danced, choreographed and serenade with the artistes and the three beautiful back singers.
At the semi-final stage, the contestants were short listed to 10 and subsequently reduced to five. The finalists were from Togo, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria and Guinea.
|Nlee Ejii presenting gift to contestants|
The judges had hectic time picking the final three from which
Joy Ngozika Obasi emerged winner, beating Sherilyn Reindorf of Ghana (second) and Marceline N. Diop from Senegal (third) to be crowned ECOWAS Peace Ambassador Queen.
“I had so many things running through me almost at the same time when I was declared the winner, everything just exploded in me. there is this shock, I said whao, finally, I made it, it was the happiest moment of my life, though, all the while I have the intention to win. It feels honourable to be the new ECOWAS Peace Ambassador; I thank God for the opportunity, it is a rare one. I hope to leave up to expectation with the support of everyone. We will collectively embark on the peace mission, I have already been pencilled down for the pet project of the Governor’s wife, Empowerment Support Initiatives (ESI)” Obasi says.
|Mike Dada, Jimmy Cliff and Stephen Alayande of ZMC|
She was presented with a brand new Toyota Corolla 2009 by ECOWAS President and the wife of the Rivers State Governor, Mrs. Judith Amaechi amidst sheers.