By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
Another year, another bout of controversy shrouds the Miss Ghana pageant!
The recent resignation of Sarah Odei Amoani, the 1st runner-up of the 2019 edition, after just 3 months of annexing the title has, for the umpteenth time, thrown the pageant into a murky space of confusion.
The Miss Ghana pageant has now become synonymous to a telenovela fraught with contention, and the incessant resignation of beauty queens in the last couple of years plus the unsubstantiated claims of scam, fraud, ‘pimping’ and tyrannical leadership have sunk the once prestigious pageant into a state of desolation.
The stance of the organizers not to address critical accusations made against the project and their choice to pick and choose what issues to address over the period – have not helped the confidence reposed in the project by sponsors and the populace.
Exclusive Events Have Done Well
Exclusive Events, under the aegis of Inna Patty have done well with the Miss Ghana brand, despite the telling negativity that has entangled it in the last couple of years.
Inna and her team have chalked lots of successes; guiding past winners like Naa Okailey Shooter to excel at the World stage, ensuring that the brand and Ghana as a country have been appealing to the international market, to the extent where the Miss World Organization and former Miss World winners have visited the country to engage in varied projects.
Most importantly, the team ensured that the pageant was more of a cause than the reliance on just plain beauty. They strategically focused on Human Empowerment, Development and Management, specifically using the beauty pageant to contribute to changing and transforming lives at the rural areas and deprived communities in Ghana, as well as help to empower the vulnerable in society.
Inna created ‘The Miss Ghana Foundation’, which is the outreach wing of the Miss Ghana organization that oversees the social intervention and humanitarian responsibilities of the group and equips young women with the necessary skills to be discerning and functional in society.
One of the major projects that was undertaken by the Foundation, among many others is the Don Bosco Street Child Project; where the Foundation aided in acquiring a 10-acre land and established a hostel where thousands of street children are given social and technical training.
Brand In Turmoil
Make no mistake, the Miss Ghana brand has had issues way before Inna Patty and her team took over. Before handing over the franchise after overseeing it for 10 consecutive years, Media Whizz Kids were accused by a section of the public of losing touch with the brand and not being conversant with modern trends of pageantry. Some choices of winners under their guidance were questionable.
Sparrow Productions under Shirley Frimpong Manso and Jane Awoonor-Williams were engulfed in controversy for almost the 5 years they had control over the pageant. Past winners like Inna Patty and Lamisi Mbillah had issues with the organizers and resorted to the court for redress. Miss Ghana@50, Frances Tekyie Mensah, the last winner under the organization of Sparrow had a well-publicized spat with the organizers over her official car.
The troubles of Exclusive Events started with the stripping off the crown and title for Giuseppina Nana Akua Baafi, Miss Ghana 2013. What followed were accusations and counter-accusations of family control of the pageant against Inna and brand soiling against the Beauty Queen.
The 2013 debacle opened the gates for wild allegations against the pageant by past winners and contestants, coupled with a string of resignations. The year 2017 was the worst ever the Miss Ghana brand – when former winners of the pageant including Miss Ghana 2010 – Stephanie Karikari, Miss Ghana 2015 – Antoinette Delali Kemavor, Miss Ghana 2013 – Giuseppina Nana Akua Baafi and 1 first-runner up – Margaret Kuma-Mintah accused the pageant of a litany of misdeeds.
Wait, there’s more! The 2017 winner, Margaret Dery, also resigned and took to twitter to vent her anger at the organizers, labelling the pageantry a scam. Her 1st and 2nd runners-up, Marigold Frimpong and Priscilla Nana Akua Gameli, also resigned shortly after.
Loss of Credibility & Trust
The perpetual controversies that have bogged the pageant have affected the standing of the brand in the last 3 years. Conceptions and misconceptions that have shrouded the pageant are attributable to the loss of conviction in the pageant by Ghanaians.
For Miss Ghana and other pageants, the general public play a role in the choice and approval of the winner, yet, in the last couple of years, the public shrugs off anything connected to the pageant with such disdain. In essence, the pageant has lost its glow and prestige, thanks to the condemnation by a vast section of the public, who are informed by the plethora of accusations leveled at the scheme.
Sponsorship or partnership has played an integral part of the organization of Miss Ghana and major corporate brands have supported the brand since its inception. It has been torrid in the last couple of years to attain enough sponsorship for such ventures, but, there have been some firms that continue to stay dedicated to the cause.
Unfortunately, the spate of negativity that smears off the Miss Ghana venture puts off corporate firms too. It is common knowledge that no entity would want to associate with a brand that elicits such pessimism and bad faith.
Time To Step Aside Gracefully
They say you exit when the applause is deafening but in some cases, you can also exit when the applause is non-existent. Here, Inna has no applause and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel.
She has done her bit, elevating the pageant and giving it purpose but that’s it; there’s nothing else to offer or prove considering the current state of a brand that was once considered the most prestigious, most credible and most reliable in Ghana.
When it got tough for Mr. Geddy Laryea and his Media Whizz Kids posse along the line, they gave it up to a new team that came with a new verve and fresh ideas. When it got cumbersome for Shirley Frimpong and Sparrow Productions, they didn’t fight the transition of the pageant’s oversight back to Media Whizz Kids.
It is a difficult decision to make, considering the sort of emotional, physical and monetary investments injected into the project, but at this stage, Inna should put the interest of the ‘Miss Ghana’ venture above her personal gains.
At this stage where the once biggest and most respected pageant lags behind the other relevant pageants, it makes sense for its handling be taken care of by a new team, a new face and a new force. At this point, Inna and Exclusive Events’ association with Miss Ghana has been tainted to an irreparable level, it would take the second coming of Christ to fix it.
Inna has options; still hold on to the franchise but can step down as the Head of the organizing firm and most importantly, not be the face and voice of the pageant, or lease it to another firm for a number of years, or give it up entirely and pursue another ventures.