In the midst of all the accumulation of issues in the country and noise choking up the thin air about Mr. President’s recent and “controversial” interview with Christiane Amanpour on CNN, I set out desperately in search of something that can capture my attention and perhaps help me invest my thoughts more positively towards a Nigeria that I have; dreamed of, voted for and still dreaming/hoping for. Here is a young and dazzling Nigerian I stumbled into in the course of my news based adventure and immediately, her distinct personality and great achievements, more than captured my interest.
A native of Adamawa state, born in Lagos, Nigeria and has spent time in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. At 17, she was bestowed an International Rupee Scholarship from Wartburg College and subsequently honoured as a High Performance Scholar, an Elise T. Hinrics Scholar in Political Science, and is a recipient of multiple awards, including a Dell Association Peace and Justice Award. She is one lady of a kind with an over flowing resume for a 23-year old and I am talking about the beautiful and intelligent Hyeladzirra “Zirra” Banu, who is the present Miss ECOWAS Peace Ambassador for the West African Region. Astounding the audience with her intelligence, Miss Banu presented a winning speech on “The Role of Women in Peace Building”. Her excellent answers and composure during the question and answer sessions guaranteed her the coveted crown. The intellectual pageant included a Peace Forum, in which Miss Banu also won the Peace Message Award. Zirra went into the regional competition as Miss ECOWAS Nigeria and walked the whole nine yard of the contest to a well deserved victory against 26 other contestants from all the member states of the ECOWAS community, including the Cote D’Ivoire representative, who took 2nd place, and Miss ECOWAS Ghana, who came in 3rd. Her genuine drive to contribute to the world, her passion to serve Africa, and her honest love for West Africa has earned Hyeladzirra Banu the worthy and befitting title of ECOWAS Peace Ambassador, 2012.
Zirra is also known in the musical circles as DJ Ketchup and Grime. I guess at this point, you are as surprised as I was, but yes she is a professional DJ. Her profound love for music inspired her to learn the craft at Jam Master Jay’s Scratch Academy for DJs and Music Producers in New York. Working as a DJ has provided a platform for her to preach peace through the creative arts by fostering a community of people through entertainment, this goes in line with her belief that the best way to promote peace is to build positive interaction at a basic social level. She has also been the official DJ for Alien Prose Entertainment [a fast rising record company based in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, Abuja] amongst a long list of other accolades she has as a DJ.
In a previous press coverage, the new Miss ECOWAS said she would work assiduously to promote development, youth initiatives and peace in the sub-region. She called for cooperation from all relevant stakeholders to achieve this common goal.
Zirra Banu has worked as managing editor for Face2Face Africa Magazine [New York], editor and presenter for hellokpop [South Korea, USA, Australia], radio host on 93.5 Aso FM [Nigeria], on-air producer for KWAR FM, and TV presenter on WTV8 [USA]. She is currently founder and CEO of the DorcaSapel Foundation.