Thirty contestants have been selected out of 400 ladies, who applied to contest in the 2018 edition of the Queen Moremi Ajasoro Beauty Pageant, the organisers announced on Tuesday.
Cultural Ambassador to the project, Princess Ronke Ademiluyi, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the contestants were selected after a two-day screening, held at Ile Ife in Osun.
She said that the contestants, who must be Yoruba undergraduates, within the ages of 18 to 25 years, were selected by a team of panelists, including culture icons, Woli Arole and Odunlade Adekola.
Ademiluyi said that the contest, initiated by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi Adeyeye, was aimed at promoting Yoruba culture among young women.
She said: “The contest showcases our culture, which is really important to His Imperial Majesty, the Ooni of Ife, it encourages young ladies to discover and learn about their culture.
“The initiative about the queen is to project leadership roles in the future of our young girls as Queen Moremi Ajasoro did during her life time.
“The contest showcases the strength of a woman, dating back to thousands of years, in encouraging young ladies to be selfless and committed to nation building.”
The culture entrepreneur said that the contest, which started in 2016, commenced its third edition this year with a 10-day camping at Ile Ife.
Ademiluyi said: “The contest this year commenced in Ile Ife and the grand finale will be held in Abeokuta in Ogun State.
“The rationale for Abeokuta is to rotate hosting of the cultural event in different Yoruba states every year. In 2016, it was held in Ife. In 2017, it was held in Lagos and the 2018 edition will be held in Abeokuta.”
According to Ademiluyi, the choice of Ogun is because of the interest of the wife of the Governor of Ogun, Olufunso Amosun, who supports the Ooni of Ife, in promoting Yoruba culture.
Ademiluyi said that the winner of the contest would go home with a brand new car to be provided by the Ife monarch.
She said: “There is also a cash prize from the QMA Impact Investment Fund. In addition, the winner automatically becomes a young culture ambassador to the Ooni and the House of Oduduwa.
“She will also enjoy the privilege of becoming a part of the royal entourage for foreign trips.”
Ademiluyi recalled that the winner of the maiden edition, Blessing Animashaun, was in the royal entourage to UK last year, while the winner in 2017, joined the royal team to Brazil and the US earlier this year.
NAN reports that the out-going Queen, Shola Shittu, who graduated with a first class degree in automobile engineering, won various awards during her reign.
Shittu championed the fight against trafficking of young ladies and made tours to various schools, offering scholarships to indigent students in Lagos communities.