By Modupe Gbadeyanka
One of the events held in Nigeria that has remained on the lips of many was the 60th anniversary of Miss Nigeria and the 2017 edition of the beauty pageant.
Many have continued to talk about the top class event, which held few days ago at the Eko Convention Centre in Lagos and produced Miss Ehiguese Mildred Peace from Adamawa State as the new Miss Nigeria.
The beauty contest was largely successful due to the partnership entered into by Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s most innovative banking service provider, and Folio Media Group, publishers of the Daily Times, organisers of the Miss Nigeria pageant.
Other winners of the night were Miss Rita Chinedu, representing Delta State and Miss Benjamin Anne Ufuomanefe, representing Ondo State, who were the first and second runner-ups respectively.
Miss Cross River, Ana Victoria Lawrence emerged as Miss Emerald Queen, after winning the task organised by Heritage Bank, which centred on assessing the contestants on their knowledge, complement, fluency, articulation, appearance based on ingenuity and creativity of the Nigerian contemporary hairstyles. Whilst, Miss Ifidon Sarah representing Edo State Miss Onyeabo Amarachi representing Abia State, emerged first and second runner ups, respectively.
The award given to her, which was an artefact (African queen bronze head in a moulded box), speaks of African culture and symbolic of the Bank’s pride of its heritage.
Miss Nigeria focuses on issues that affect Nigerian women; she is an ambassador of culture, of purpose, of the environment.
The ambition of the new beauty queen is to provide medical and psychological help for women who are victims of rape as well as empower them.
Speaking with journalists immediately after the crowning of the new pageant queen, Mr Fela Ibidapo, Head of Corporate Communications of Heritage Bank said, “We are partnering with Folio Group to empower women”, adding that this is what the Daily Times used to be known for and we wants to help them to revive it.
“Our involvement in this is not because of beauty per se, it’s primarily to empower ladies and women generally; to encourage them to always put in their best in whatever they do to make a living.”
Mr Ibidapo agreed that the impact of the initiative might not be so visible in the short-term period, but he was so optimistic that it would impact positively on their contributions to the nation-building process in the long run.
Also speaking, Chairman of Folio Media Group, Mr Fidelis Anosike said the group would use the Miss Nigeria pageant to create a strong female platform, remarking that the group has signed a partnership deal with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) over the next five years to tackle the scourge of human trafficking.
He said as part of strategy to empower contestants in the Miss Nigeria beauty pageant, the group has resolved to give five percent of its toplined revenue to be shared among them, adding that this year about N4.1million will be given to them.
Former Governor of Ogun State who also doubles as former Managing Director of the Daily Times, Mr Segun Osoba, noted that the Miss Nigeria beauty pageant was part of the history of Nigeria and commended Anosike for keeping the history alive.
In her contribution, Mrs Helen Prest, a former Miss Nigeria in 1979, observed that Miss Nigeria was a platform for empowering women, noting that before the advent of social media, Miss Nigeria was the social platform for young women to dream and make their dreams realities.
She said she was happy that the pageant was being revived by the new management of the Daily Times because it provides opportunities for young girls who are polished, good mannered, well- spoken and poised to attain national recognition by drawing attention to causes and empowerment for women.
The Miss Nigeria Beauty Pageant which came into being in 1957 is the only national pageant in Nigeria and it represents the highest ideals of a combination of beauty, grace and intelligence; artistic and refined.
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