It was all colourful and beautiful as Osun State witnessed the abundant display of culture and style at the just concluded Queen Moremi Ajasoro 2021.
The prestigious fashion and beauty contest event, had the presence of His Imperial Majesty, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, who initiated the contest five years ago to promote the Yoruba culture and tradition to prevent it from going extinct.
Akinwale Grace Oluwabukunmi was crowned as the new Queen Moremi Ajasoro 2021. She went home with a branded Toyota Camry and a cash gift of One million naira.
Also at the event, which held last Sunday, at Oshogbo, the Osun State capital, the 1st runner up got a cash gift of N750,000, the 2nd runner up N500,000 and the Miss Amity also went home with a cash gift of N500,000. The contestants were judged on their catwalk skill, carriage, traditional fluency and intelligence.
The judges were made up of veteran Nollywood actress, Jaiye Kuti and actor-producer, Jude Chukwuemeka, amongst others. They narrowed the contestants to five finalists, with Grace Oluwabukunmi Akinwale , 21-year-old 400 level Psychology student from the Obafemi Awolowo University, eventually clinching the coveted crown.
The event had in attendance both foreign and local dignitaries, including royal fathers who converged on the ancient city, popularly called the cradle of civilization.
The grand finale of the contest held at the Ojaja Arena of the Ife Grand Resort saw 15 finalists out of 100 contestants, that were previously screened out, slug it out on the catwalk in outfits created by Nigerian designers, at the Adire Oodu textile hub. It was a showcase of fashion and cultural heritage as contestants came out in turns introducing themselves in Yoruba language while paying homage to the Ooni of Ife.
A major highlight of the show was the dance competition by the academia in attendance, as some erudite professors from the OAU Ile-Ife, Osun State showcased their dance skills to the loud ovation and admiration of the audience, with the winner selected by the students themselves.
This year’s contest, which was merged with the annual Africa Fashion Week Nigeria (AFWN) in collaboration with the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC, featured a showcase of amazing collection by leading Nigerian designers, including Ade Bakare, Ejiro Amos-Tafiri, Sister by Eyoro, and others, who thrilled the audience with outstanding collections, all made with the local adire fabric from the Adire Oodua Textile hub.
The AFWN also showcased the creative talents of young indigenous fashion designers from Ile-Ife, and students from the Oodua Textile Hub, who sent models down the runway in impressive collections to the admiration and applause of the audience.
Amongst dignitaries at the event were the wife of former governor of Ogun State Olufunsho Amosun; Director General of the NTDC, Chief Folarin Coker, who sent a representative, a bevy of royal fathers, including the 55th Alara of Ilara Kingdom in Lagos State, Kabiyesi “Oba Olufolarin Olukayode Ogunsanwo, Telade IV” and many others too numerous to mention.
According to the Queen Moremi Global Ambassador, and founder of Africa Fashion Week Nigeria and London, Ronke Ademiluyi, “it is also a way of institutionalising the legacy of the legendary queen Moremi.
Everybody knows what she did and how she gave up herself for sacrifice. People know how selfless she was, so we are trying to instill that into young women of today. “ We want her story to be impactful.
So, whoever emerges as a queen, which has happened over the years, has to have an impact on what they do.
They need to live their trademark within the community and outside the community as well.”