By Edidiong Esara, Ikot Ekpene
Glamour and style were at their best while Ritman University celebrated her students during a beauty and brains contest in Ikot Ekpene Akwa Ibom State. A befitting prelude to Christmas it was on that 13th December night of 2017, and the competition was first in History for the two-year-old tertiary institution.
Christiana Obaila was crowned Miss Ritman University and Donald Kelvin received regal honour as Mr. Ritman University. Christiana studies History and International Studies, while Donald, who was recently elected Director of Socials in the Student Leadership Team, reads Sociology. In the keenly contested pageant, Donald displayed exceptional artistry and keen intellect. His performances included theatrical depiction of a traditional warrior who prays to his gods, fights bravely but gets killed in battle. He says the significance was that Almighty God is the ultimate.
Christiana survived a tie with First Runner-Up, Melody Dodoh, and snatched a slim win over her closest rival in knowledge test. Mr and Miss Ritman University went home with laptops and each got N10,000 (cash donated by Uduak Celestine Ntuen – the Vice Chancellor’s daughter), while the first and second runner-ups in male and female categories received phones. Uduak also pledged N50,000 for next year’s pageantry.
Competitors needed to show their cleverness by not only exhibiting elegance and skill on stage and runway, but to demonstrate their intellectual capacity, which carried more marks than beauty and stage performance. In the traditional segment, aspiring kings and queens had to show how much they knew Nigerian culture, by appearing in indigenous costumes of the Ijaw, Ibibio, Annang etc and stating the cultural connotation of their attires. They also displayed their respective talents in dance, poetry recital, singing or acting to audience delight. Notable among them was Second-Runner Up – Livinus Baloga – a surprise entrant because he is committed to the Deeper Life Campus Fellowship. Livinus received loud cheers and standing ovation while rendering a popular gospel hymn that speaks of Christ’s second coming: “When the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there”. He projected his Ogoni culture in native dressing. Arnold Bassey was First Runner-Up in the male category, and Precious Bazari was female Second Runner-Up.
Chairman of RU Beauty Pageant Committee and Acting Dean of Student Affairs, Mrs. Rita Umoh, said the event came after a one-month rigid training, practice and sleepless nights, describing contestants as “talented, beautiful, and intelligent”. She said the aim of this competition was to promote cultural, moral values and encourage young people to be their best. She thanked the Vice Chancellor, Principal Officers, staff and students of Ritman University and the Ritman Group of Companies for support.
Students had a variety of activities to wrap up the year before proceeding on holidays. They got free airtime, plus lots to laugh and cheer about in comedy, dance, musical performances, eating and drinking competitions. Rehoboth, an undergraduate, serenaded the audience with melodies from his saxophone, while another student, Precious Bunmi Johnson, was co-compere with guest emcee – Udeme Okono – who remarked that this was the most organized pageant he has witnessed, adding that Ritman University has by this first outing paved the way for others to follow.