Exposed: MBN/TUNM Owerri is a Monumental Fraud…Models/Beauty Queens Beware!
Our team had an exclusive interview session with Miss Ruth Ben Agu, pioneer Miss Arondizuogu and one of the contestants at Miss Beautiful Nigeria Owerri in 2015. The embittered beauty queen barred her minds on a wide range of topical issues especially the maiden edition of the MBN Owerri pageantry.
Below are excerpts:
- May we know you please?
My name is Ruth Ben Agu, a citizen of Imo State. I am also a model, ex-beauty queen of Miss Arondizuogu, and movie actress.
- How did you get to know about MBN OWERRI?
My dear, Fortune Nkem F-Dazzle, the CEO of the pageantry called me as a queen, and encouraged to pick a form in his then upcoming pageantry (MBN Owerri). Initially, I was reluctant to pick the form, but later after much considerations, I felt he was real. I picked the form, and even encouraged many of my friends to do so. An action I took, which I now regret.
Yes, I regret engaging myself with such pageantry. I just wasted time and resources with the wrong people, and ended up enriching them.
- How was the event?
It wasn’t okay. It was one of those things that I did in my life which I regret. It was very unfortunate that I participated, because it was not what I envisaged. From the look of things, the whole pageantry was a monumental fraud. We were ripped off of our hard earned money, and precious time. It was just very unfortunate.
- Really? You seem not to be happy?
Yes, I am not.
- Since when were you uncomfortable with the event?
In fact, few days to the maiden edition, it dawned on me that the event was just going to be an unfortunate one. I left even before the close of that event, after performing on the stage. F-Dazzle and his team have already chosen the person to be honoured earlier before that grand finale.
- Can you defend this?
Yes, if you have contacts of other people that participated, just contact them, and make your journalistic investigations, their experiences will never be different from mine. In fact, many of them have more ideas than me on this issue. It was obvious, they gave the crown to the person they wanted to, not the real winner.
- So, why have you been keeping quiet about it since then?
No! I didn’t keep quiet. I have been talking to few of my friends about it. I have also decided to talk to you now, because I discovered you guys were there at the grand finale. You covered the event and published it on the internet, but little did you know that the event was dead on arrival.
I am also talking to media because I learnt forms for the new edition is out, and it is sold at 6,000 naira. Imagine! I just want aspiring models / beauty queens to be careful, because it is not what they are thinking. The whole exercise is a saga.
- How many contestants participated?
We were 36 in number representing the 36 states in Nigeria plus the FCT. I represented Yobe State.
- Tell us your own side of the story. What really happened?
I was very active all through the auditions. He said that part of the selection process would be based on how many tickets you sold. I sold as many as possible, in fact I sold almost all my tickets; I gave him more than 70,000 naira. He was very impressed with my performance.
In the camping, he wasn’t feeding us well. Many of us relied on our personal pockets for our survival. We camped at Hollywood Hotels Aladinma Owerri. I am not complaining that I was expecting to be the queen, No. There were some talents that were hurt at that event. I won’t be complaining if it was based on merit.
But I felt the injustice meted on some of us were much. Even on that event, I performed creditably well, journalists and housemates were there who can bear me witness. The video clips of the event were still there for you guys to preview. You can go and get the complete video from F-Dazzle and watch it.
Now, do you know that the winner of that event was seen in F-Dazzle’s hotel room, the next morning unclad? My source told me that she was tying towel. The name of the reigning queen is Vivian Kaima.
So, it is either she was his personal girlfriend, or that was one of the things she did to pay for the crown. I leave it to your imagination what transpired in the room between two of them that resulted in Vivian tying towel in F-Dazzle’s hotel room just on the morning after the event.
Based on these little findings, can you now say that the event was a promotion of beauty and brains? Definitely it was not.
- Were you at any point sexually abused during the auditions?
No, I was not. In fact, I didn’t give room for such nonsense, because I came for beauty pageantry and I was focused on what I came for. I was then still reigning as Miss Arondizogu 2014/15. If he had come for that, I would have bowed out before the grand finale.
- How can you compare Miss Arondizuogu with MBN Owerri pageants?
(Smiles) There is no basis for comparison. Miss Arondizuogu pageantry was much more organized, reliable, and credible. I am not saying it because I won, if you interview other people that participated at that pageantry. They will tell you that I won based on merit, and they were happy with me all through my reign.
They hugged me after my declaration as winner. They saw everything how it happened, the woman who was the CEO of the pageantry was very decent, though relatively new into the beauty / entertainment industry then, but she exhibited high level of professionalism. At least I got half of my entitlements as a queen.
But MBN/ TUNM Owerri is a flop. Everything about them is shrouded in fraudulent activities and extortion of money. F-Dazzle and his team are not interested in the welfare of the beauty pageants. They are after their money. If you were at the inauguration, you will understand better what am saying. They are inexperienced, and not really ready to work likewise some mushroom beauty pageantry in Nigeria.
- What is TUNM Owerri?
It means ‘The ultimate Nigeria Model’ it is run by this same guy.
- What happened at the inauguration?
(Smiles) I came but left afterwards to other pressing engagements, because they didn’t keep to the time. They started very late, by the time I came back, they were done. I was reliably informed that at the event, he exchanged the first runner up with the second, probably because the second runner up came from a rich family, was going to be more enterprising, and probably would easily succumb to his antics. Things are not done that way. You can’t rob Peter to pay Paul.
- Is there any agency regulating beauty pageantry in Nigeria?
Currently No. And I think there should be one, because this type of beauty pageantry is springing up every day in Owerri and even beyond.
- Did you ever go to his office to make your complaints known?
(Laughter) He doesn’t have office. I don’t think he has that in mind.
- So where were you meeting both during and after the auditions?
My dear, everything took place in Hotels. He likes making use of cheap hotels where he won’t pay much, because he was afraid to spend money.
We did our auditions at several places. Now, look at this, the guy is a fraud from day one. First, he kept saying that the auditions / camping would be at Concord Hotel Owerri. At that time, Concord was under renovation, but he kept promising us that he has perfected plans to use that place, and that it would be ready before that day.
So, on the d-day, I dressed up, took a cab with my luggage, and arrived at the gate of Concord Hotel, everywhere was in a mess, so empty. I couldn’t see anybody to attend to me, and it rained heavily on that day. I called him on the phone, and he said Errm please come to Hollywood Hotels, and that was it. And there was no prior information on the change of venue.
I have to turn back, paid extra money for the cab to take me there. There was another beauty queen that was coming with few of my items. She was on my way, coming to see me from a far. I called her shortly after leaving Concord venue, and she was already close, her cab had to turn to look for Hollywood Hotels. It was disheartening. You can see that such a person is not transparent and can’t be trusted.
The only person that gained something meaningful from that event was the ‘FACE OF KMA’ she got a gift that day from KMA, she represented Kogi state, she is my friend. Do you know that during and after the auditions, there were no courtesy visits, indoor / outdoor fun activities at MBN Owerri pageantry, because the organizers were out for money. They got it, and turned their back on us.
- What has occupied your mind after the MBN Owerri event?
I have been working on a lot of things. I am an actress too. I have featured in about 8 movies since then. I played lead role in one of them.
- It has been a great time speaking with you
Thanks for coming and for allowing me to bare my minds.