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« Ozodi Osuji Lectures #18: Extra-legal Governments in Nigeria:: the Military, Religious Groups, and Transnational Corporations | Main | Ozodi Osuji Lectures #19: Nigeria and the Business World »

October 21, 2005

The 2005 MBNG UK Pageant

by Uche Nworah (London, UK) --- It was a night of fun, thrills and laughs at Kensington Town Hall, in the swanky South West area of London in early October when 11 Nigerian women took each other to the wire in a bid to become the maiden Most Beautiful Nigerian Girl in the UK.

MBNG-UK, Evening wear ParadeThe event which was in aid of HIV/AIDS awareness campaign in Nigeria also featured live performances from budding Nigerians artistes such as Natives, Naturals and Johnnie N’doe amongst others.

The wave making and award – winning comedian Julius Agwu compeered and the London audience were treated to the many hilarious jokes which have made him a household name in Nigeria.

Speaking after the show, the event organiser Lawrence Akhidenor of LD Productions thanked all the contestants and their families, as well as guests and sponsors and promised even a much better outing in 2006. According to him:

these set of contestants are the best I have worked with, I am quite grateful to our numerous sponsors as well as to all the guests, I must say that for an inaugural event we quite exceeded our own expectations, this indeed is a positive sign although we have also learnt a few lessons, which will help our planning for next year.

MBNG-UK, Flanked by Runners up and Ms. Ghana, UKAsked if the MBNG pageant was a break-away from the long running Miss Nigeria UK pageant which he had coordinated in the past with Prince De-Martins Ojie (publisher of Celebration magazine) in honour of Prince De-Martins’ late daughter (Natasha), he replied in the negative. He said that he set up the pageant in aid of HIV/AIDS awareness and also because the Miss Nigeria UK pageant wasn’t really accommodating the interests of all Nigerian women in the UK who had aspirations of becoming beauty queens. According to him,

there are always room for variety in the pageant industry as shown by the Miss world, Miss Universe and Miss Earth pageants.

The interesting aspect of the 2005 MBNG UK pageant is the quality and profile of the contestants, most of whom are currently pursuing undergraduate and graduate level studies at different UK universities, this is against the popular misconception that beauty pageant contestants are usually women with not so impressive backgrounds. According to Amenze (one of the organisers of the Miss Pearl beauty pageant),

The Agbani Darego factor changed all that misconception in Nigeria, especially with all the fame and fortune she attracted to her self and her family, families now encourage their daughters to go for it, beauty and brains now go together.

Liz, her partner couldn’t agree more, according to her

The same way parents now encourage their sons to become professional footballers, following in the footsteps of the likes of Jay-Jay Okocha, so also do they encourage their daughters to take up careers in modelling, acting, fashion and so on – mainly as a result of the fame and fortune people like Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola, Oluchi Onweagba and Agbani Darego have earned.

Contestants at this year’s MBNG UK pageant were Rosemary Ijeoma Belonwu (22, medical student at Cambridge University), Gbemisola Animashaun (18, Pharmacy student at the University of Kingston), Omotola Olabowale (20,Business student at the University of Greenwich), Evelyn Omoregie (21, Human Resources Management student at Middlesex University), Adetola Alimi (22, Masters student majoring in Marketing), Adeola Bamigbade-Adele (23, MA Social science student at the University of Brunel), Abiola Adelaye (22, Economics and Management major at Middlesex University), Lara Olubanjo (21, Business systems student at the University of Luton), Annette Onaolapo (21, medical student at Kings College), Nkem Dike (22, has a Masters in International politics from Birmingham University), and Eseoghene Ebihor (23, a financial accountant).

Miss Eseoghene Ebihor: Most Beautiful Nigerian Girl UK 2005The contestants appeared in traditional and evening gowns courtesy of star designer Adebayo Jones, while a previously recorded swimsuit parade was shown on the large screen. They each took turns to answer questions from the event compeer, and also enumerated their plans if they eventually won the contest which attracted a first prize of £1,000 and also modelling contracts with Arista cosmetics and Regal Beauty (sole distributors of Dark & Lovely products in the UK). To their credit, the contestants showed very high level of maturity and poise, and also thrilled the audience with a well orchestrated and choreographed dance routine, evidence of lots of preparation and hard work.

In the end, the judges announced 23 year – old Miss Eseoghene Ebihor as the Most Beautiful Nigerian Girl in the United Kingdom (MBNG UK) 2005, Omotola Olabowale and Lara Olubanjo were judged 1st and 2nd runners-up respectively. Not surprisingly as in most beauty pageants, the judges’ decision attracted jeers and boos from the crowd, who had rooted all night for Cambridge medical student, Miss Rosemary Ijeoma Belonwu.

David Pryde who accompanied Miss Ghana UK (Naana Agyei-Ampadu) to the event said it was a good outing and was worth the £25 he paid for the ticket, ‘I’m already looking forward to next year’s event’, he said.

Uche Nworah is a freelance writer and lives in London.

Posted by Administrator at October 21, 2005 12:44 PM


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