The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, has challenged women to always be responsible and to use their positions to positively impact on the society and the less privileged.
Represented by Mrs Peace Nnaji, the first lady gave the advice at the Miss United Nations Nigeria Pageant 2015 in Abuja on Sunday.
Jonathan congratulated Miss Precious Chikwendu, who won the 2014 edition of the pageant in Kingston, Jamaica.
She expressed optimism that such pageants would enable contestants develop their personalities and make them stronger and passionate to positively impact on the society.
She said Chikwendu brought honour to Nigeria by virtue of her not only winning the crown, but the hosting right for the Nigerian version of the pageant.
She added that being a beauty queen, was not easy as it seems because the queen had to be the best in whatever she does in order to achieve her goals.
The first lady, however, said that the beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.
“Remember, looking good is worth all the troubles, this is because beauty is the totality of the state of a woman’s health, physically, psychologically and mentally,” she said.
Jonathan reminded the contestants that it was all right to lose because there were no losers in pageants as all contestants were winners.
She also added that pageant was not only about winning the crown but about what was done after the victory, and charged the contestants to be responsible and useful to the society.
A quality, she said, the outgoing queen Chikwendu had exhibited during her tenure.
She added that on her part, she had through non-governmental organisations and programmes encouraged the girl-child and women generally to be who they want to be and express their natural talents.
Jonathan assured the outgoing queen of her continued support in her determination to make young women better citizens.
Chikwendu said her NGO “Snow White Foundation” adopted a lifecycle approach of development, focusing its interventions on children, their families and the larger community with emphasis on the less privileged.
According to her, beauty transcends the physical, is not just an outward thing but the inner qualities of an individual.
Chikwendu maintained that beauty pageant had moved beyond wearing crown and cat-walking to impact positively on the society.
The outgoing queen explained that the main focus of the pageant was to have volunteers who were ready to use beauty to add value to humanity.
She held that it focused on volunteer work, adding that each contestant must have a background in volunteer work for her community.
“This sisterhood strengthens them to see beyond their immediate surroundings and situations and extends their services across the globe.
“As each contestant shares ideas of how she serves her community, more women will be strengthened and edified because their paths have crossed for good,” Chikwendu said.
NAN reports that contestants at the 2015 Nigerian version of the pageant were accessed on the basis of character, personality, conversational skill, beauty, fashion and intelligence.
The pageant had a category for singles; married women, single mothers and teens because of it believe that every woman had a voice at any stage of her life.
Winners of the teens and married women categories will be further groomed and will join Miss United Nations (Nigeria) to represent Nigeria at the main Miss United Nations Pageant holding in July in Kingston, Jamaica.
Miss Vivian Nnamani, who represented the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), emerged as Miss United Nations (Nigeria) while Miss Kessy Isong, representing Akwa Ibom, emerged as first runner up.
However, the winners were expected to go home with a cash reward and a brand new car.
A formal Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, who was one of the special guests at the pageant, described it as exceptional.
“This is a pageant with a different, am excited to be here and so proud about the contestants and the organisers of the event.
“I’m particularly happy that the first lady said such nice things about the pageant and the organisers and her assurance of continues support,” he said
The 2015 Miss United Nations Nigeria Pageant was sponsored by Chikwendu, the outgoing queen.