Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria

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Not to be confused with Miss Nigeria. ‹See Tfd›
Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria
Formation 1983 (as Miss Universe Nigeria)
1986 (as Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria)
Type Beauty Pageant
Headquarters Lagos
Location  Nigeria
Membership Miss Universe
Miss World
Official language
English
Pageant organiser
Guy Murray-Bruce
Website Official Website

Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria – often abbreviated as MBGN – is a pageant organised by Silverbird Group with the main purpose of sending representatives to international competitions. Originally known as Miss Universe Nigeria, it was renamed Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria after news publishers Daily Times lost its license to send delegates from rival contest Miss Nigeria to Miss World and Miss Universe.[1]

The current MBGN title holder is Anna Banner, who represented Bayelsa, and her platform is AIDS Awareness.[2]

History[edit]

Former publisher Ben Murray-Bruce ventured into show business after his magazine Silverbird flopped. He took a loan of N200,000 from his father which he used to organise a number of successful concerts which saw artists like Shalamar and Kool and the Gang perform in Nigeria, after which he promoted a new pageant known as Miss Universe Nigeria in 1983, but it only gained public attention in 1986 after it changed its name to Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria in 1986,[1] and its first winner was model Lynda Chuba.[3]

MBGN winners are expected to represent Nigeria at Miss World (although Lynda Chuba, Rihole Gbinigie, Chika Chikezie, Angela Ukpoma, and Isabella Ayuk did not have this opportunity), and until 2004 at other international pageants including Miss Universe, where Chuba was the first Nigerian in twenty-three years to compete after Edna Park's on-stage hysteria in 1964,[4] while the first MBGN winner at Miss World was English language student Omasan Buwa in 1987. As with most pageants second-place winners are expected to replace the title-holder if they are unable to complete their reign; this has only happened twice – Biology student Regina Askia replaced Bianca Onoh after the latter resigned in 1989,[5] while Philosophy student Ann Suinner continued Agbani Darego's win after she was crowned as Miss World in 2001.[6]

Winners traditionally adopt at least one platform (also known as 'pet project') during their reign – an issue which is of relevance to Nigeria. Once chosen the winner, and occasionally other finalists, use their status to address the public about their platform. The most popular choice of recent has been Sickle cell Awareness, but others have included Polio,[7] Child labour,[8] Education, and Widow Empowerment.[9]

In 2007, Silverbird announced that the pageant would produce four more representatives apart from the winner. The original titles were Miss MBGN Universe (to represent at Miss Universe), MBGN Tourism (Miss Tourism International), and MBGN Ecowas (Miss Ecowas). A fifth title, MBGN Model, which allowed its holder to compete in modelling contests at international level, was dropped and replaced with MBGN Ambassador, with its winner performing ceremonial duties in the country.[10]

Competition[edit]

Screening exercises (also known as 'auditions') are held nationwide to select contestants, and successful auditionees will be coached on etiquette and stage presence at boot-camp before competing at the finale where segments include Interview and Evening Gown, and unlike Miss Nigeria, Swimwear.[11][12] In the pageant's early days, contestants were allowed to wear maillots of their choice during the swimsuit parade. Identical bikinis are now used instead.[citation needed] Unlike most beauty contests, contestants are not normally required to display any talent, although a number have been asked to sing, dance, or recite poetry during the interview stage.

In the mid-nineties, after MBGN did not place at Miss Universe and Miss World, MBGN organisers placed height and weight restrictions on the contestants' entry forms, and judges were told not to select the woman they found most attractive, but the one with a greater chance of winning at international pageants.[13]

Due to the country's conservative standards, very few contestants competed in the early days of MBGN, and competitors from Northern Nigeria are rare, as its predominantly Muslim population frown on beauty pageants. Guy Murray-Bruce, who succeeded his brother as pageant director in 1992 told The Guardian: "... getting the girls to come and participate was hard, and we literally had to beg them to participate. But since (former Miss World) Agbani [Darego] won it in 2001, we don’t beg anyone anymore".[14]

Prizes for the winner vary each year, but have always included cash; as of 2012, it stands at N3000,000, and some winners have also received a car.[15]

Winners[edit]

Although Mary Bieoneh did not win the maiden edition of MBGN in 1986, she became the first Nigerian to be named African Continental Queen of Beauty, reaching the top ten at Miss World 1987.[16] Other MBGN delegates who have received this honour are Chinenye Ochuba[17] and Anita Uwagbale in 2002 and 2004 respectively.[18] 1988 winner, Law student Bianca Onoh was crowned Miss Intercontinental in 1989,[19] and Theatre graduate Sabina Umeh was the first Nigerian to win the Personality prize at Miss World 1990. Toyin Raji was the recipient in 1995, despite withdrawing from the pageant due to political reasons.[20] Prior to this, Raji had been named Miss Congeniality at Miss Universe 1995.[21]

MBGN's biggest achievement was in 2001 when Computer Science and Mathematics student Agbani Darego became the first native Sub-Saharan to clinch the Miss World title,[22] and the first Nigerian in the top ten at Miss Universe.[23]

Three MBGN winners have previously competed at Miss Nigeria: Omasan Buwa (1987),[24] Sylvia Nduka (2010),[25] and Isabella Ayuk (2004)[26] Miss Nigeria 2002, Sylvia Edem, was in the top five at MBGN 1998,[27] as was Miss Nigeria 1993 Pharmacy graduate Janet Fateye who had competed in MBGN 1992 as Kemi Fateye.[unreliable source?]

Many MBGN winners have pursued careers in entertainment, including Sabina Umeh,[28] Regina Askia,[29] Emma Komlosy (who reigned for the longest period in MBGN history from 1996–1998,and to date remains MBGN's only mixed-race winner),[30] Celia Bissong,[31] and Munachi Nwankwo.[32] Lynda Chuba-Ikpeazu and Omasan Buwa have moved into politics,[33] and Nike Oshinowo has worked in pageantry.[34]

Titleholders[edit]

Year Titleholder State/town Notes
1986 Lynda Chuba Imo Politician[35]
1987 Omasan Buwa Warri Barrister, columnist, and politician in Delta[36]
1988 Bianca Onoh Abuja Now Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu; Nigeria's ambassador to Spain[37]
Regina Askia (Replaced Onoh) Akwa Ibom Now Regina Askia-Williams; registered nurse practising in America[38]
1990 Sabina Umeh Niger Now Sabina Umeh-Akamune; singer/songwriter[39]
1991 Nike Oshinowo Rivers Now Nike Oshinowo-Soleye; businesswoman and former creative director, Miss Nigeria[40]
1992 Sandra Petgrave Akwa Ibom
1993 Rihole Gbinigie Lagos
1994 Susan Hart Benue Whereabouts Unknown
1995 Toyin Raji Kogi
1996 Emma Komlosy Lagos Now Aret Kapetanovic; singer/songwriter;[41]Contestant on The Voice UK[42]
1998 Chika Chikezie Imo
1999 Angela Ukpoma Imo
2000 Matilda Kerry Rivers Medical doctor[43]
2001 a Agbani Darego Rivers International model[44]
2001 b Ann Suinner (Replaced Derego) Abuja
2002 Chinenye Ochuba Anambra Now Chinenye Akinlade; businesswoman[45]
2003 Celia Bissong Calabar Now Omotu Bissong; actress and model[46]
2004 Anita Uwagbele Benin City Now Anita Iseghohi; businesswoman[47]
2005 Omowunmi Akinnifesi Kwara Businesswoman[48]
2006 Abiola Bashorun Lagos Studying Law in England[49]
2007 Munachi Nwankwo Imo Now known as Muna Abii; rap artist and television presenter, and continues to model[50]
2008 Adaeze Igwe Anambra Now Adaeze Yobo; married to Joseph Yobo[51]
2009 Glory Chuku Nasarawa
2010 Fiona Amuzie Plateau
2011 Sylvia Nduka Taraba Actress; launched hair extensions range in 2012[52][53]
2012 Isabella Ayuk Cross River
2013 Anna Banner Bayelsa Appointed as Special Assistant of Tourism and Culture by Bayelsa governor Henry Dickson[54]

International Winners[edit]

MGBN Winners also won the other titles for worldwide pageants.

Year Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria State/town International
1986 Lynda Chuba Imo Miss Africa 1987
1988 Bianca Onoh Abuja Miss Intercontinental 1989
2001 Agbani Darego Rivers Miss World 2001

MGBN at International pageants[edit]

Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria Universe[edit]

Color key
  •      Declared as Winner
  •      Ended as runner-up
  •      Ended as one of the finalists or semifinalists

Nigeria debut in 1964. Nigerian representative selected by Miss Nigeria pageant in the first moment only and no Nigerian since 1965-1986 at Miss Universe. In 1987 Nigeria is back, MGBN beauty pageant selected the winner for the Miss Universe pageant. Specifically in 2005, the second title of MGBN automatically become representatives at Miss Universe (MBGN Universe or Miss Universe Nigeria). On occasion, when the winner does not qualify (due to age) for either contest, a runner-up is sent. In 2012 although MBGN World Isabella Ayuk was sent in place of Damiete Charles-Granville due to age restrictions in that year, both still retained their MBGN titles, and were not forced to swap.

Year MGBN Universe States/City Placement Special awards
Brazil 2014 TBA
Russia 2013 Stephanie Okwu Imo State Unplaced
United States 2012 Isabella Ayuk Cross River State Unplaced
United States 2012 Damiete Charles-Granville Rivers State Did not compete
Brazil 2011 Sophie Gemal Abuja Unplaced Best National Costume (Top 10)
United States 2010 Ngozi Odalonu Abuja Unplaced
The Bahamas 2009 Sandra Otohwo Lagos Unplaced
Vietnam 2008 Stephanie Oforka Lagos Unplaced
Mexico 2007 Ebinabo Potts-Johnson Lagos Unplaced
United States 2006 Tienepre Oki Abuja Unplaced
Thailand 2005 Roseline Amusu Lagos Unplaced
Ecuador 2004 Anita Uwagbele Benin City Unplaced
Panama 2003 Celia Bissong Calabar Unplaced
Puerto Rico 2002 Chinenye Ochuba Anambra Unplaced
Puerto Rico 2001 Agbani Darego Rivers Top 10
Cyprus 2000 Matilda Kerry Rivers Unplaced
Trinidad and Tobago 1999 Angela Ukpoma Imo Unplaced
United States 1998 Chika Chikezie Imo Unplaced
Namibia 1995 Toyin Raji Kogi Unplaced Miss Congeniality
Philippines 1994 Susan Hart Benue Unplaced
Mexico 1993 Rihole Gbinigie Lagos Unplaced
Thailand 1992 Sandra Petgrave Akwa Ibom Unplaced
United States 1991 Tonia Okogbenin Lagos Unplaced
United States 1990 Sabina Umeh Niger Unplaced
Mexico 1989 Bianca Onoh Abuja Unplaced
Taiwan 1988 Omasan Buwa Warri Unplaced
Singapore 1987 Lynda Chuba Imo Unplaced

Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria World[edit]

Nigeria debut in 1963. Nigerian representative selected by Miss Nigeria pageant at Miss World. In 1987 for first time MGBN will be crowning winner as well for the Miss World also. Traditionally the first winner of MGBN will be competing at Miss World as MGBN - World title together with MGBN - Universe title.

Year MGBN World States/City Placement Special awards
Philippines 2014 TBA
Indonesia 2013 Anna Banner Bayelsa Unplaced
China 2012 Damiete Charles-Granville Rivers State Top 30
China 2012 Isabella Ayuk Cross River State Did not compete
United Kingdom 2011 Sylvia Nduka Taraba Unplaced
China 2010 Fiona Amuzie Plateau Unplaced
South Africa 2009 Glory Chuku Nasarawa Unplaced
South Africa 2008 Adaeze Igwe Anambra Unplaced Miss Sport (1st Runner-up)
China 2007 Munachi Nwankwo Imo Unplaced
Poland 2006 Abiola Bashorun Lagos Unplaced
China 2005 Omowunmi Akinnifesi Kwara Unplaced
China 2004 Anita Uwagbele Benin City Top 15 Queen of Africa
China 2003 Celia Bissong Calabar Unplaced
United Kingdom 2002 Chinenye Ochuba Anambra Top 10 Queen of Africa
South Africa 2001 Agbani Darego Rivers Miss World 2001 Queen of Africa
United Kingdom 2000 Matilda Kerry Rivers Unplaced
United Kingdom 1999 Augustina Iruviere Unplaced
Seychelles 1998 Chika Chikezie Imo Unplaced
India 1996 Emma Komlosy Lagos Unplaced
South Africa 1994 Susan Hart Benue Unplaced
South Africa 1993 Helen Ntukidem Unplaced
South Africa 1992 Sandra Petgrave Akwa Ibom Unplaced
United States 1991 Nike Oshinowo Rivers Unplaced
United Kingdom 1990 Sabina Umeh Niger Unplaced Miss Personality
Hong Kong 1989 Bianca Onoh Abuja Unplaced
United Kingdom 1988 Omasan Buwa Warri Unplaced
United Kingdom 1987 Mary Ngazi Bienoseh Top 10 Queen of Africa

Other notable contestants[edit]

Awards[edit]

The awards most frequently presented at MBGN are Miss Photogenic, Miss Amity, and Best Traditional Costume.[59]

Since 2007, soft drink marketers La Casera, in conjunction with MBGN organisers have chosen a contestant to be the face of their brand. The winner of the title, Miss La Casera, is expected to promote their product and work on various projects which would reach out to the less privileged and the needy in society.[60][61] The Miss La Casera winner also wins a car, and N1,000,000.[62]

Similarly, cosmetics firm SelectPro select another contestant to become Miss SelectPro, the face of the company.[63]

Controversy[edit]

In 1989, shortly after winning the Nigerian version of Miss Intercontinental, Bianca Onoh was forced to resign after it emerged that she was in a relationship with former Biafran leader and Ikemba of Nnewi Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, a political associate of her father who was over thirty years her senior – one tabloid falsely reported that she was pregnant.[64] Although the couple never confirmed or denied the affair until their wedding in 1994, pageant organisers Silverbird were furious as MBGN title-holders are said to be discouraged from having high-profile relationships during their tenure. Onoh later stated that the pressure of performing her duties as a pageant queen was unbearable, which explained her decision to hand over her crown to second-place winner Regina Askia. To date, Silverbird does not acknowledge Onoh's 1988 win on the MBGN website, and refuse to mention her at MBGN live shows.[65]

Actress Ibinabo Fiberesima has claimed in numerous interviews that she had competed in 1998 and emerged second runner-up,[66][67] but this statement is questionable as the person who had actually placed third was International Relations student Sylvia Edem, who would later win Miss Nigeria in 2002.

In 2011, a day after the grand finale, pageant judges of MBGN complained that the name announced as the winner was not the one they had picked. Sylvia Nduka, who most believed was an undeserving winner,[68] was asked by a reporter why she had failed to promptly respond to a question during the interview stage, and she replied that she was unprepared, as MBGN was her first pageant.[69] However video evidence has revealed that Accountancy student Nduka had been a contestant in Miss Nigeria 2010 where she received coaching in etiquette and media, and participated in the competition's reality show, but failed to make the final ten at the grand finale in Abuja – reports claim that an enraged Nduka, who had represented Kaduna, refused to return to the stage during eventual winner Damilola Agbajor's coronation and even smashed her 'Miss Kaduna' plaque.[70] Silverbird later defended Nduka by stating, "Everybody will always have something to say when someone wins. Even when Agbani Darego won in 2001, people talked. We should understand that people who supported other contestants that didn’t win won’t be necessarily happy with the results. And as for [Nduka] goofing her questions, it's just a case of her being nervous, I spoke with her at the after-party of the pageant and she was quite eloquent."[68]

2012 winner Isabella Ayuk claimed to be twenty-six when she competed, until reports suggested that she had forged her age, thus giving the impression that she was younger than her actual years (she was said to be thirty). Despite a public outcry, pageant director Guy Murray-Bruce stated that Ayuk would not be dethroned and will continue to serve as the reigning queen.[71] However, due to age restrictions, she did not represent Nigeria at Miss World that year.[72]

Rivalry with Miss Nigeria[edit]

The differences between MBGN and Miss Nigeria have been compared with Miss USA and Miss America. While MBGN delegates compete at international level, Miss Nigeria winners no longer have this privilege.[73] In 2010 Miss Nigeria was relaunched as a scholarship programme and its winners in recent years receive modelling contract as part of their prize.[74] MBGN focuses mainly on physical beauty unlike Miss Nigeria which is excepted to promote inner beauty with a wholesome girl-next-door image – as a result its swimsuit competition was famously scrapped in 2010 but this feature remains popular at MBGN.[75]

Shortly after Agbani Darego's victory at Miss World, Miss Nigeria 2001 Amina Ekpo took legal action against her MBGN counterpart who was accused of misrepresentation, stating that Darego had fraudulently presented herself as Miss Nigeria at the international pageant, and had not been authorised to used the title. Former Daily Times managing director Onukaba Adinoyi Ojo, who had famously described MBGN winners as "lowly-rated queens" at the Miss Nigeria 2001 grand finale, supported the $10,000,000 lawsuit, claiming "We will do everything possible to make sure we prevent people from tampering with a patented pageant like Miss Nigeria, [and] will not allow anybody to misrepresent us."[76]

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External links[edit]