Courtesy: Liberian Observer Online
MONROVIA– Knowlden was announced, adding, “We never sent her name as the winner. What we said was that she had the highest online votes from text messages; making her the most popular contestant, not the winner. She only had 169 points.”
ContestantsAppearing on a local talk show yesterday, Onanuga justified his decision to have Leela Knowlden of Lofa County announced the victor of the pageant. He said Leela “was not chosen based on her performance during the show, but on points accumulated from past sub-shows, including the online text, reality program, etc., leading to the final on Saturday, April 14. But the international judges only based their judgment on the pageant held on Saturday night.”
The Executive Producer of the ECOWAS Peace Pageant then threatened to not allow Onanuga’s chosen queen, Leela Knowlden, to participate in the upcoming Miss ECOWAS and Miss World Pageants, if the title was not returned to the “rightful winner”.
MICAT’s due diligence over the stalemate between Mr. Onanuga and the judges from the Miss Liberia Pageant will first of all validate either one of the opposing parties – not both – which could have serious consequences for the future of one of the nation’s most popular annual events.
A decision in favor of Mr. Onanuga could slap Liberia with a ban from contesting Miss ECOWAS or Miss World pageants for years to come, subsequently smothering the morale of the national pageant for that amount of time. On the other hand, a decision in favor of the judges could easily warrant MICAT stripping Mr. Onanuga and his CT Com of the franchise, depending on the terms and conditions stated in the contract.
MICAT went through great pains to do damage control after the dismal “Reloaded” pageant, and will clearly be doing same for the rest of this month, or until the dust settles. With a new minister at the helm – Lewis Browne – a seasoned orator and master of propaganda, there is no doubt that MICAT will get through this, and rather smoothly.
However, the test of the Ministry’s interest in reversing the abysmal trend of the Miss Liberia franchise over the last two pageants, will be when it finally tells the public who is the
queen and who is the culprit. Leroy Sonpon contributed to this story.