By Funmbi Cole
L-R: Mbali Mokgatla and Kebone Mofokeng on the night of the pageant
A beauty pageant organized by the Campus Activities Board of the American University of Nigeria (AUN), has generated controversy and almost pitched two friends against each other.
Two bosom friends, Kebone Mofokeng and Mbali Mokgatla, all South African students, had among other students, contested for the Miss AUN crown.
The grand finale of the pageant, which took place at the university’s Commencement Hall, Friday, saw Mofokeng emerged as Miss AUN.
Students, including Miss Mokgatla, who also contested for the crown, applauded the announcement.
Miss Mokgatla had congratulated Miss Mofokeng by giving her a hug just before she was coronated.
Michael Ogbolor, also known as James in a popular TV show, “Jennifer’s Diary,” played host at the event.
Trouble started on Monday, when the Dean of Student Affairs, Byron Bullock, upturned the result of the contest.
Mr. Bullock sent out a long mail the Monday after the show indicating there was a mix up in the result of pageant.
“Each year, immediately after the Mr. & Miss AUN Contest, I ask to have all the data from the judges so we can be certain there were no errors in the process,” Mr. Bullock indicated in the mail.
“This year, unfortunately, the Office of Student Activities and Involvement decided to use a web-based program for the calculation of the final scores.
“This program experienced some problems because of the network fluctuation and in his haste, Sesugh Annger, had to pull the results by hand and of course one of our worst nightmares occurred.
“In several of the categories, the wrong winner was announced. The category which is most affected by this was the Miss AUN category. The correct winner of the Miss AUN contest was Mbali Mokgatla.
“Since the mistake was ours, we have decided to take the high road and for this year, Mbali Mokgatla, will correctly serve as Miss AUN.
“Kebone Mofokeng will serve in a dual role as Miss Stallion. Both will have the appropriate crowns and recognition throughout next year.
“While it is so unfortunate that we cannot recreate that moment for Mbali, we will host an activity later to formally recognize the winners. Kazayet, Mbali, and Kebone will have the opportunity to launch their platforms in their new ambassador roles.” Mr. Bullock stated.
The mail instantly generated mixed feelings among students.
“I felt uncomfortable with the change because I think Kebone deserved the crown,” said a senior, Aisha Mohammed.
“They shouldn’t have taken too long to announce the mix-up. It was strictly unprofessional of them.”
David Musa, an information systems senior, also felt the same way.
“Knowing how much work Kebone and all the contestants put into the pageant makes me upset because the whole show turned into a battle of friends,” Musa said.
When contacted, the Assistant Director in the office Students Activities and Involvement, Mr. Annger, Miss Mbali and Miss Mokgatla, declined to speak on the matter.