Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu

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Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu
Beauty pageant titleholder
Born Bianca Odinakachukwu Onoh
Title(s) MBGN 1988
Miss Africa 1988
Miss Intercontinental 1989
Major
competition(s)
MBGN 1988
Miss Africa 1988
Miss Intercontinental 1989

Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu (born Bianca Odinaka Olivia Onoh, 5 August 1967)[1] is a Nigerian businesswoman, politician, diplomat, and lawyer and multiple pageant titleholder, She was Miss Africa and is best known as the first African to win Miss Intercontinental. Formerly Nigeria's Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Affairs[2] and the country's ambassador to Ghana and Spain,[3] she is now Nigeria's permanent representative to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.[4]

Early life[edit]

The sixth child of former Anambra governor Christian Onoh, and his wife Carol, Odumegwu-Ojukwu was educated in Enugu and Yorkshire, but spent most of her childhood in rural Ngwo. She attended boarding school at Ackworth School, Pontefract ,St.Andrews College, Cambridge as well as the Cambridge Tutorial College where she obtained her A- levels .She soon began a combined honours degree in Politics, Economics and Law at the University of Buckingham, but transferred to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka as her father, who was a lawyer, wanted his children to join his firm in Nigeria and insisted she concentrated solely on Law. Following her graduation she attended the Nigerian Law School which eventually led to her call to the bar.[5]

Pageantry[edit]

In December 1988, Odumegwu-Ojukwu was crowned Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria at the National Theatre Igamnu, Lagos. Prior to this, she had won the Miss Martini contest whilst at college in Cambridge. Bianca went on to win more beauty contests, notably Miss Africa, hosted in Banjul, Gambia, few weeks after the MBGN pageant and the prestigious Miss Intercontinental Pageant hosted in Lagos in 1989. She was also Nigeria's representative at the Miss World pageant held in Hong Kong in 1989 as well as the Miss Universe, Pageant held in Cancun, Mexico. She was named Miss Congeniality at the now defunct Miss Charm International in Russia where she was a semi-finalist.[6]

Controversy[edit]

In 1989, it was revealed that Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu was dating former Biafran president and Ikemba of Nnewi Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, a political associate of her father who was over thirty years her senior.[7] Their controversial romance was a national talking point in the early 1990s,[8][9] Odumegwu-Ojukwu declared later in the year that the pressure of being in the public eye had become unbearable, causing her to resign as Miss Intercontinental and stated that her main concern was completing her education as a law student. Having obtained her law degree, she married the former Biafran president in a lavish wedding ceremony at Nigeria's capital city, Abuja

In 2012, following the death of her husband, his will, which left most of his assets to her generated a great deal of controversy and disaffection among several family members. Odumegwu-Ojukwu has appealed to her critics to allow Ikemba Odumegwu-Ojukwu to "rest in peace", describing him as a man of honour and integrity whose legacy should not be obscured by rancor over inheritance issues and stating that the will was drafted in 2005, registered and placed in the custody of the State Probate Registry with the legal witnesses and executors who were present at the time it was prepared, still living.[10]

Career[edit]

After graduating from Law School, Odumegwu-Ojukwu briefly practised the profession before quitting, and dividing her time between her home, her cosmetics business Bianca Blend and her interior decorating outfit Mirabella.[11] Although she had stated in interviews her disdain for modelling in the past, Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu has fronted an advertising campaign for Bianca Blend. She also established the non-government organisation Hope House Trust, centred towards rehabilitating juvenile offenders in Enugu.[11][12] In 2011, she was appointed Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Affairs by president Goodluck Jonathan,[2] and in 2012 she was named Nigeria's ambassador to Spain. Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu was honored with the Certificate of Merit by El Mundo Diplomatico, Spain for her efforts towards providing effective platforms for constructive engagement between Nigeria and Spain, and was voted Africa's Outstanding Ambassador by The Voice Magazine, Netherlands in 2014. She was also honored with the "Ambassador of Excellence" Award by the Government of Anambra State, Nigeria at its Silver Jubilee commemoration in 2016. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, the Political Party that was founded by her late husband Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu and which has maintained political power in Anambra State for over a decade.

Personal life[edit]

Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu was married to the Ikemba until his death in 2011; the couple had three children together. Bianca Odumegwu- Ojukwu holds many traditional titles in her native land as well as the highest chieftaincy title conferred on women in her region. Of her marriage, she admits that while she was happy to be married to him, she would not encourage her daughter to marry the same way.[13]

References[edit]