Meeting with the Face of Yala, Miss Yala, Jusustina Opoji Ogar, was quite revealing and inspiring.She’s a graduate of Civil engineering from the Cross River State University of Technology (CRUTECH). The beautiful, courageous, God-fearing, well informed, intelligent, passionate, doggedJesustina recently completed her compulsory one year NYSC with FERMA. She will love to run for office in the nearest future. And if she did participate in politics her motto will be “To Serve”, because according to her, “I love to serve.” In this interview with LEADERSHIPe-Train ‘s ANTHONY ADA ABRAHAM , she reveals that her passion for the girl child is what motivated her to go for the Miss Yala contest.
What inspired your decision to ho into pageantry?
What actually inspired me into pageantry is my desire for change .I love creating positive impact. I believe to achieve to achieve this, I needed a platform to achieve my goal that is to serve and work. Before I became a queen, I tried one or two things and it wasn’t service like. So I decided to try the queenly platform and I believed it would help me to serve my people properly.
When I got to the Cross River State University of Technology in 2011, I contested and won the Miss a CRUTECH pageant where everything started officially. As the queen, I embarked on some pet projects which was on personal hygiene where I visited various secondary schools in collaboration with Queens forum Nigeria which I am the national secretary. After my stints with the miss CRUTECH, I graduated and heard of the miss Yala contest. I became the 6th Yala Queen in 2016 and will soon hand over to the newly crowned queen when the contest will be done in August. I loves creating impact.
I went into pageantry because I want to impact my community. I am determined to fight for the girl child and stop teenage pregnancy. My major inspiration to the contest was about a little girl I know back in my community, back them, she used to come in company of her mum to sell moi moi around our community. She was in primary 5 then with a child. And when I asked which baby is this, she said it’s hers, her second child for that matter. I was devastated. I asked her if she was done with secondary school, she said no because she had to drop out because of the pregnancy. She complained that the guy that impregnated her wasn’t able to send her back to school, her parents weren’t buoyant brought to take responsibilities… I was just bitter.
There and then I told myself that this would be my path, my project. The quest to stop teenage pregnancy because it was becoming a norm amongst young girls. So even there onstage when I was asked what would be my project, I told them that it would be fighting for the girl child.
Did you ever had the believe that you would be crowned the Miss Yala looking at the caliber to contestants at the contest?
Yes I did even though as there were intelligent and beautiful competitors.
So when you eventually won, what was the feeling like?
I felt more closer to my goal, that’s what motivated me to go into the contest. But as I won, I was happy. But know that even if I didn’t emerge as the winner, I would have still embarked on my project for the girl child because it is a promise I made to myself. But the fact that I came out the with winner, it became a better way to serve.
You know lots of parents see pageantry as a way of pimps given out girls to their clientele. When you informed your parent that you were going to the contest, what was their reaction like?
My parent, especially my dad was 150 per cent in support of me because he knows that is my passion. He knows I needed a better platform to carry out my projects. I was raised by him and he knows what I can do. He trust my moral ability.
You have been the Miss Yala for sometimes now, what project are you working on?
I have carried out about four projects. But the one I am working on now is the Menstrual Hygiene tagged “ How Hygienic is the Adolescent Girl?” 28 May was the international menstrual hygiene day.
Is this your first edition or have you been doing this before?
No this is NY first edition of menstrual hygiene. The one I did before was on self esteem of the girl child tagged “say no to teenage pregnancy”
Aside your passion for the girl child , did you have passion for the entertainment industry like acting, modelling etc?
Aside pageantry, I really love acting. Although I haven’t had the opportunity to showcase my talent on the big stage. It has always been the church and school drama. If I get close to that, if I have any opportunity of showing what is in me, I will interpret my rile perfectly well.
What are the challenges you have encountered because we all know it is not easy to run all this project from your purse?
Finance is my biggest challenge. There is something many people believe about beauty Queens. We know them they don’t embark on any project, we support them and they just use the money to buy expensive clothes, jewelries ,big phones snap and put on Facebook, Instagram. They have told me to my face. Why should we support your project while many people has come to meet us we support them and tomorrow they as flying everywhere with the money that would have helped on impacting the people. That is why sometimes I carry out projects from my own purse. The extras could come from my dad who has been a great support. I have team members that believe in me alot, whenever I put a call to them ,they are always ready to work. The problem is that we don’t really have financial support coming from individuals and multi Nationals. I am using this opportunity to beg them to assist us to carry out this project.
Is your community not helping as the Face of Yala?
When I emerged the winner then, the community didn’t have ,should I say a council, there wasn’t any elected council heads. We were waiting for the state to conduct an election but on till now, nothing yet. I didn’t really get anything from the local government because there wasn’t a local council then.
What should we be expecting from you next?
I want to practice civil engineering because that is what I studied in school. I am a good multitasker, I am ready to combine my discipline with my pet projects. There are bigger things ahead which I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag now. You will be the first to know when the time is ripe.
What do you do in with your spare time?
I love reading motivational books, and surf the internet to catch up with trending news. I am a music enthusiast.
Who is your best artiste locally and internationally?
My biggest artiste is legendary Celine Dion (for international) and Run Town (Locally). I am their big fan.
What about the actors you love?
Nse Ikpe (Local movie)
Jason Statham (International movie). I love action movies.
Would you want to go into politics seeing that that president has just passed the Not Too Young To Run Bill and what’s your advice to young ladies like you?
As a grassroots lady, I know where the shoe pinches. I will be the new face of service to the people if called to serve. I know my people and their challenges. We don’t have lots of women in politics in my community. I am urging fellow ladies to come out and join the political process. Ladies should look beyond men, what people would say, and look at what is inside and make a reasonable move that would bring the people out from squalor. I want young ladies to be themselves and focus on the passion rather than influence. Know that when you make a reasonable move, a reasonable person will support you reasonably.
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