Queen Uche Umeagukwu won great honours for Nigeria in the United States by emerging as the 2018 Miss Africa World (MAW). Born in Uga town in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, Queen Umeagukwu recently returned to Nigeria in a celebrated homecoming that swept from Lagos to her native Anambra State.
“The Miss Africa World Pageant is based on the Three B’s of Business, Beauty and Brains,” Queen Umeagukwu said to me in the office of Anambra State Commissioner of Diaspora Affairs, Indigenous Artworks, Culture and Tourism, Mrs Sally Mbanefo, in Awka.
Umeagukwu had made tremendous marks in business in the US, and her company, Uche Hair, is a well-acknowledged brand. It is Queen Umeagukwu’s mission to use her platform for the empowerment of Nigerians. Her vision of educational advancement, eradication of hunger and general economic development are clearly articulated.
The Queen flew into Nigeria with a high-powered entourage from America and Japan. She hopes to accomplish her pet projects such as Kids’n’Hunger and the Out-Of-School Empowerment Foundation. She equally undertakes an eco-friendly waste reduction technology through Industrial Trash Furnace. Also in the works is the Digital Skills Marketing training program with the strategic partner, Online Company Card. The Queen will collaborate with the Image Cartel to develop TV shows and movies for Nollywood. This will be undertaken with the expertise of executive producers of American television shows. This way, The Jaime Foxx Show and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air will be ready fare.
Queen Umeagukwu began the Nigerian tour on June 19, 2018. She had a grand reception by His Royal Majesty, Alaiyeluwa Oba Rilwan Babatunde Osuolale Aremu Akiolu 1, Oba of Lagos. The Queen was then bestowed with the honorary title of Omo-Mu-Iyi-Bowale (The child that has brought happiness to her nation).
She was also received by H.R.M. Oba Shakirudeen A. Kuti, Elewu of Ewuland, and was conferred with the chieftaincy title of Yeye Oge of Ewu Kingdom (the most beautiful woman). She then forged ahead to visit Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi, Kusenla III, the Elegushi of Ikateland. The Queen promised to return for the formal ceremonies for both titles in the future.
The Queen undertook a colourful tour of both Oshodi and Amuwo in grand parades that provided the Miss Africa World Queen and her team the chance to meet face-to-face with the people of the communities. She gained the opportunity to learn what their most critical needs are.
In the course of the tour, the Queen distributed educational materials to children of the localities. After giving out the books, pencils, and erasers, Queen Umeagukwu vowed to donate many computers to the schools and graduates from Oshodi, Amuwo-Odoﬁn and her native Anambra State.
The Queen led her delegation to visit the local markets where she met with the entrepreneurs. She shared with the traders the Digital Skills Marketing training programme she is supporting. This technology will of course help the local businesses expand their reach. The business owners will thus be afforded the reach to buyers beyond the current visitors to the market. Their profit will of course markedly improve.
A grateful Queen Umeagukwu was honoured by the Out-of-School Children’s Empowerment Foundation on June 29 for her immense contributions to the organization. The well-attended event included naming the Queen as the Brand Ambassador. She then adopted the programme as one of her primary charitable causes. A van donated by the Queen will bear her image and name. The founder, Kelani Akeem Tolu, said that “the Queen’s impact is already being felt from her recent mention about the foundation; the phones began ringing consistently with people offering help and wanting information because of the Queen’s awareness campaign.”
Queen Umeagukwu also made the rounds of the radio stations. At Bond FM, she discussed her Miss Africa World title and the various programmes and projects she is spearheading. The Queen appeared again on Monday, July 2, as co-host on the afternoon drive Igbo language platform at BondFM. She had an interview at Metro FM on Tuesday, July 3.
On Wednesday, July 4, Queen Umeagukwu made the homecoming to her home state of Anambra. She was received by Governor Willie Obiano’s representative, the Hon Commissioner of Diaspora Affairs, Indigenous Artworks, Culture & Tourism, Barr. (Mrs) Sally Mbanefo. Queen Umeagukwu on July 5 expressed her dreams and hopes for the future of her homeland – Ndi Anambra. She upped the ante in economic empowerment opportunities from her Japanese investor-partner, an eco-friendly waste reduction technology through Industrial Trash Furnace. Queen Umeagukwu was presented with an Award of Honour by the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Chief Dr Willie Obiano. Also, an Award of Recognition was presented to the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, and Mike Gipson, a member of California State Assembly of the 64th Assembly District, both for outstanding economic successes in Los Angeles, California.
To the surprise and appreciation of all, the governor through Hon Commissioner Sally Mbanefo announced the appointment of Queen Umeagukwu to the position of Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Diaspora Affairs – a title germane to an Ambassador of Ndi-Anambra.
Queen Umeagukwu was on July 6 welcomed in a landmark manner by her local government – Aguata Local Government. She was presented with a Certificate of Recognition. She continued the journey with her entourage to her community in Uga where the Obi of Uga, Igwe Chidi Stephen Ezenwugo, conferred an honorary title “Ada-Di-Ora-Mma of Uga”, that is, “the precious daughter of the entire community”. The Umuoru Community Union (UCU) also presented an Honorary Award to Queen Umeagukwu in recognition of her commitment and good gesture to the community and Uga at large. The Queen equally received a Philanthropist Award from Uga Improvement Union (UIU) in recognition of her commitment and dedication to the Uga community, Anambra State and the Nigerian nation in general.
A highly-regarded model, Umeagukwu was Miss Face of Nigeria 2005.The reigning Miss Africa World (2018-2019), is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and global businesswoman. She holds a B.S. in Political Science, and has made many appearances in magazines and television networks such as VH1, Bravo, BET, Centric, ENews, Style Network and WeTV. She operates a multi-million dollar wigs and hair extensions company worldwide known as Uche Hair. She hopes to use her knowledge of building world class brands to help the local entrepreneurs increase self-sufficiency and expand their businesses.
According to Queen Umeagukwu, “the title for me stands for hope and saviour. That means I have the power to use my voice to give hope and save others from despair and struggle. My mission is to always use my platform to empower women, youths and kids through service and charitable giving.”
This homecoming tour marked a return to her homeland for the first time since her reign in 2005 and it is turning out to be quite impactful and very memorable.