INTERVIEW With The Face Of Igbo Nation 2017 HRM Queen Oluchi Agunwa
1. CAN WE MEET YOU?
A. I am Queen Oluchi Agunwa, the FACE OF IGBO NATION and MOBIGUN TOURISM QUEEN. I am from Ezeagu Local government area of Enugu state. I am a serial entrepreneur, the CEO/Founder of NELIVIA EMPIRE which is an umbrella to various sections of the brand including Fashion design, makeup artistry, footwears, bags, beaded jewelries, catering. I am also the proprietress of NELIVIA ACADEMY, Enugu which is made up of Crèche, Nursery and Primary. My greatest strength is multitasking and I can be a critical thinker when I am under less pressure. I feel most passionate about helping people. I am a very private person and highly optimistic.
2. HOW DOES BEING THE FIRST EVER FACE OF IGBO NATION and TOURISM QUEEN MAKE YOU FEEL,WHAT IS IT LIKE?
A. Well, being the first ever Face of Igbo Nation and Mobigun tourism queen is really something I feel good about (laughs). But I liken it to a tenant who moved into a very new apartment. The condition of the apartment depends on the tenant. If this tenant eventually moves out and leaves the apartment messy and uninhabitable, it becomes a problem for the next occupant, if there will ever be. So, I can say that being the first to occupy a space is quite sweet and beautiful but you must set a standard, leave the apartment better than you met it. I have crossed my "Ts" and doted my "Is" in this beautiful journey, and I can confidently say that I have made this space very accommodating for the next Queen.
3. WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF AN IDEAL BEAUTY QUEEN?
A. An ideal beauty queen to me, is one who knows that her crown isn't only on her head, but in her soul. She is one who understands that her crown symbolizes "a call to selfless service". Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, but yet she wears it as if it were a feather. She portrays cleanliness in body and spirit, purity of heart and soul, goodness in actions and deeds. She is not only gorgeous, but highly intellectual and knows how well to leave her footprints on the sand of time.
4. HOW CAN YOU DESCRIBE A TYPICAL IGBO GIRL?
A. A typical Igbo girl is not just beautiful, but so enterprising, respectful, Wise, creative, homely, intelligent and carefully crafted with the finest of all quality materials (laughs).
5. CAN YOU TELL US THREE IGBO PERSONALITIES YOU HOLD DEAR? WHY?
A. The three Igbo personalities I hold dear are in no particular order:
1. Chioma Ajunwa 2. Philip Emeagwali 3. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
CHIOMA AJUNWA is a former athlete who specialised in long jump. After various setbacks in her career she achieved fame when she became the first female athlete in the country and in West Africa to win an Olympic gold medal in a track and field event at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Till date, she remains Nigeria’s only individual Olympic gold medalist.
PROF. PHILIP EMEAGWALI is described as the ‘Bill Gate’ of Africa from Igbo Origin. He invented the world's fastest processing computer. He ranked 1 in Greatest Minds of Computing and ranked First by Google for “contribution to the development of the computer. He was also voted the 35th greatest African and greatest African scientist of all time".
CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE is a novelist, nonfiction writer and short story writer. She has been called “the most prominent” of a “procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors that is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature. Her books so far, has been translated in 30 languages and has appeared in prominent publications across the world.
They have not only done well for themselves and their generations, but they have succeeded in putting the Igbo Nation on the map. They inspire me to be the best version of myself, work smart and be a good ambassador of the Igbo Nation and Africa at large.
6. WHAT HAS CHANGED ABOUT YOU SINCE YOUR CROWNING?
A. A lot has changed, to be honest. I see the world differently now. I understand the plight of the "common man" better. I am a better person today. I am more tolerant, I listen more, I have a better foresight, I lead a careful life, I have broadened my social horizon and invested in my future.
7. HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW THE IGBO CULTURE AND IGBO LAND IN GENERAL? WE LOVE TO KNOW THE TOURISTS ATTRACTIONS IN IGBO LAND.
A. I know Igbo land as much as I know myself (laughs). I have been to a lot of communities in Igbo land and learnt so much about our diverse cultures, customs and Values from the Kings and elders, in addition to the ones I learnt from my family and read on the internet. So I can also say that I know the Igbo culture too well and can speak extensively about it at any point in time. Igbo land is blessed with both natural and man-made tourists attraction tucked in different parts of the states. We have;
(1) Ngwo pine forest. It is a collection of pine trees and also houses a cave and waterfall about 25 minutes walk away from the forest.
(2) Ezeagu tourist complex which is made up of a waterfall, a cave (ọgba cave), a spring and a lake.
(3) Ogbagada river/waterfall located in Ezeagu creates rainbows while descending and has fascinating rules and regulations (laughs).
(4) Awhum waterfall which is believed to have spiritual powers and is located close to Awhum monastery.
(5) Iheneke lake is one tourist attraction that leaves visitors appreciating nature because of the unique movement of the water. its direction changes periodically; in the morning the lake flows downwards, at noon it flows upwards and at sundown it becomes stagnant. I could go on and on mentioning the beautiful blessings of nature in Igbo land.
8. WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO THE YOUTHS AND PARENTS CONCERNING THE SUSTAINABILITY OF THE IGBO CULTURE.
A. Our culture is our identity and if we lose it, we lose our identity. We cannot preserve our culture if don't uphold it. We cannot preserve our culture if we keep seeing those who strive to uphold it as uncivilized, backward, archaic, belated. We must proudly identify with our roots, our home land, our ancestral home by representing the Igbo race within and outside our environment. Parents should rise up to their responsibility and teach their children the mother tongue to save our language from total neglect and extinction. Even those who manages to speak, does not even speak correctly. Whereas we crave to speak English language correctly to the detriment of our own. The enthusiasm and zeal with which we want to learn and speak English should also be channeled to our indigenous language. Our culture cannot go into extinction. Not on our watch! The sustainability of the Igbo culture lies in our hands. It is our responsibility, our treasure, and we must guard it Jealously. It is non-negotiable.
9. WHAT IS THE BEST THING THAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOU?
A. Having the Igbo blood flow through my veins, is a treasure. I won't trade the feeling for anything in the world. I am proudly and unapologetically a typical Igbo lady. That, to me, is the best thing ever.
10. WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF 5 YEARS FROM NOW?
A. The future is uncertain. But I have confidence that I will be at higher possible place, ruling my Empire, provide more jobs, be a great wife, an awesome mother and a more productive citizen. I just want to focus on my present, enhance my knowledge and continue building myself.
11. DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE SO FAR.
A. Wow! (Laughs) Honestly, it has been both beautiful and rough. But in all the sacrifices, I will forever be grateful for having the opportunity to serve, wear these crowns and sashes, to learn more about people and life in general. It has been a period of self discovery for me. I have gained a lot from this platform; friends, broadened knowledge, broadened horizon, amazing connections with individuals who I can always work with and count on, to mention but a few. In general, I am coming out better than I was and this is a good foundation to build on.
12. WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO THE GIRLS WHO LOOK UP TO YOU?
A. My advice to them,including myself is, Take your own advice because no one tells us the truth better than our conscience. Listen to that inner voice. Accept yourself, forgive yourself, value yourself, seek for knowledge, trust yourself, love yourself, Empower yourself, Work hard, work smart. Do not sit in your comfort zone and expect miracles to happen, you must push yourself, by yourself, and for yourself. Above all, be the type of girl you will love your son/brother to be with.