The 2018 Queen of the Face of Candycity beauty pageant, Wendy Efele, has accused the company’s chief executive, Divine Oforma, of withholding her prizes as the winner of the 2018 edition of the show.
It was gathered that the prizes to be awarded the winner of the show included N1m worth of sponsorship deal with the House of GMYT, one year supply of human hair by Styleness Hair, N450,000 sponsorship deal with Zikel Cosmetics, an official car and a trip to Dubai, among others.
Lamenting through a long write-up on her Instagram page, Efele accused Oforma and the show sponsors of tossing her around whenever she requested her prizes, adding that the show was a deliberate move to extort money from aspiring young ladies
She wrote, “Face of Candycity is a one man’s business created for selfish gain and (the) purpose (is) to extort money from young girls and also to use them as a medium to raise money from other people.
“(The) FOCC is a total scam as what we saw online isn’t what it really is. Mr Divine (Oforma) have (sic) deprived me of the prizes I was supposed to get as the winner of the FOCC 2018. I’m coming out to my followers and everyone who supported me until I was crowned the winner to be aware that Candycity is a total scam as I didn’t get even one of the prizes they flaunted here online for everyone to see.
“It is clear that Divine did all that to get a good number of girls to come and participate so that he can (sic) get enough money for himself. When he contacted me about the 2018 edition, I decided to give it a shot but I wasn’t aware of the camping until after the online contest; we were informed to pay N50,000 as hospitality fee.
“When we got to the camp, the environment was not conducive enough and we don’t (sic) get to eat on time, which is tea and bread for breakfast around 1.30pm, and rice around 11pm or 12am. Divine made promises of taking us to the spa and salon to get our hair done for the grand finale, but he abandoned us there and we had to sort out our bills by ourselves.
“So many terrible things we went through during camping, only for me to emerge (the) queen and did not get anything for my hard work. On the night I was crowned the winner, I asked Divine when I’m (am I) taking my car and he told me in front of everyone that I can (sic) take the car after my face has (sic) been branded on it; but the next day after everybody has (sic) dispatched (sic), he called for a meeting to tell me that the car is (sic) an official car and can (sic) only be used when me or any of the queens visit Lagos.
“I was in Lagos for weeks to get the hair promised by Styleness Hair and makeup from Zikel Cosmetics, but no turn up (sic) from them. After sometime, when Divine noticed that I was angry, he called me to ask when I will (sic) be in Lagos to pick up my prizes, but when I came, they all snob (sic) me.”
Some other contestants in the 2018 edition of the show shared the sad tales of their relationship with Divine, alleging that the show was a fraud and was set up to extort young girls aspiring to become models for various brands.
Speaking in an interview with Punch, One of the contestants, 23-year-old Ruth Ayabina, said Divine extorted them in various ways.
She said, “Divine sent messages to most of us on Instagram and forwarded the flier to us; I thought about it and decided to give it a shot since it was not my first time of contesting for beauty pageants.
“All the other beauty pageants that I had participated in, I didn’t pay for camping; but when it was time to go for camping, Divine said we were going to pay and I asked him how much, he said it was going to be up to N30,000. I thought maybe because the contest was in Nigeria, that was why we were paying, because all my other contests were in Ghana, where I schooled.
“A week to the camping, he said the fee had changed to N50,000, because we would be in camp for a week and he was going to feed us. We had already done an online contest so the majority of us couldn’t back out again, but the payment came as a shock to most of us.”
Also commenting, another contestant, Esther Oluwagbemi, said, “We were unable to enter the room allocated to us for a long time, and when we eventually entered, we were four girls in a room. Breakfast was not served until 1pm and we were not being fed in the afternoon.
“Around 10pm or 11pm, he would call us to ask who had sold her tickets and that we should remit the money. We could do that till around 1am and still had to wake up around 5am for our morning training. We were drinking sachet water in the camp.
“On the eve of the grand finale, he made us sign a document and at that point, it was either you back out or you sign the document. Because we had come a long way, we couldn’t back out; so, we had to sign.”
However, Oforma, debunked allegations, claiming that he did not force any contestant to pay the camping fee.
He said, “I sent an official email that there was a camping fee of N50,000; it was not compulsory; if anyone could not pay, they should have backed out. Did they expect me to look for a place where they would sleep and feed for free?
“Although it was after the online voting that we told them about the fee, they should have asked. Some people asked and I told them, yes, they would have to pay, but that I didn’t know the amount at that time and that it depended on the hotel we were going to use.
“I never went to any ‘mama put’ to buy food for them. Food was always purchased from the Chicken Republic outlet and I never for once gave them sachet water, it was bottled water that they drank though we only gave them food twice a day.
“The queen is just finding something to say. The car she was promised was an official car. Before they registered, it was written on the flier that the car was an official car, but I did not tell her so personally.
“The only problem we are having is misunderstanding. I told her that there was a restriction that the official car would not leave Lagos, but it could be used whenever she was in Lagos. She is just lying that she came to Lagos and I did not allow her to take the car.
“I have sponsors and they are the ones who will provide her hair and make-up products, which they are ready to give her, but they cannot send the items through courier. Wendy is just cooking up stories for her own selfish benefits; she is after the official car.”