Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria
  •  Nigeria
  • Miss Universe
  • Miss World
  • Miss Supranational
Official language
Pageant organiser
Silverbird Group[1]
WebsiteOfficial Website

Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria – also 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 their license to send delegates from rival contest Miss Nigeria to Miss World.[2]

The current title holder is Public Health student Nyekachi Douglas who represented Rivers, and her platform is Healthcare.[3] Douglas is currently Africa's Continental Queen of Beauty, having reached the top five at Miss World; 2019 marked the first time since 2001 Nigeria placed at both Miss World and Miss Universe.


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 (Omololu Ojehomon was crowned in 1984, but never competed in Miss Universe). Murray-Bruce's pageant only gained public attention after Miss Nigeria Universe etamorphosed into Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria in 1986,[2] and its first winner was model Lynda Chuba.[4]

MBGN winners were expected to represent Nigeria at Miss World and, until 2004, Miss Universe, where Chuba was the first Nigerian in twenty-three years to compete after Edna Park in 1964,[5] 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,[6] while Philosophy student Ann Suinner continued Agbani Darego's win after she was crowned as Miss World in 2001.[7]

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) uses their status to address the public about their platform. The most popular has been Sickle cell Awareness, but others have included Polio,[8] Child labour,[9] Education, and Widow Empowerment.[10]

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.[11] In 2021, MBGN acquired the Miss Supranational franchise.[12]

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.[13] In 2010 Miss Nigeria was relaunched as a scholarship programme and its winners in recent years receive modelling contract as part of their prize.[14] MBGN focuses mainly on physical beauty unlike Miss Nigeria which is expected 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.[15]


Screening exercises (also known as 'auditions') are held nationwide to select contestants, and successful contestants will be coached on etiquette and stage presence at the boot-camp before competing at the finale, where segments include Interview and Evening Gown, and unlike Miss Nigeria, Swimwear.[16][17] In the pageant's early days, contestants were allowed to wear one-pieces of their choice for the swimsuit competition. Identical bikinis are now used instead. In 2014, a talent competition was introduced as part of the preliminaries.[18]

In the mid-nineties, after Nigeria yet again failed to place at Miss Universe and Miss World, MBGN organisers placed height and weight restrictions on contestants, and judges were advised not to select the woman they found most attractive, but the contestant with a greater chance of winning at international pageants.[citation needed]

Due to the country's conservative standards, very few contestants competed in the early days of MBGN, and competitors from Northern Nigeria are still 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."[19]

Prizes for the winner vary each year, but have always included cash; as of 2012, it stands at N3,000,000, and most winners have received cars.[20]


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,[21] and the first Nigerian in the top ten at Miss Universe.[22] Although Mary Ngozi Bienoseh 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 fifteen at Miss World 1987.[23] Other MBGN delegates who have received this honour are Chinenye Ochuba,[24] Anita Uwagbale, and Nyekachi Douglas in 2002, 2004 and 2019 respectively.[25] 1988 winner, Law student Bianca Onoh was crowned Miss Africa in 1988. She also won the Miss Congeniality Prize at the Miss Charm Pageant held in Moscow in 1989, and was crowned as Miss Intercontinental in 1989,[26] 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 protests.[27] Prior to this, Raji had been named Miss Congeniality at Miss Universe 1995.[28]

At least three MBGN winners have previously competed in Miss Nigeria: Omasan Buwa (1987),[29] Sylvia Nduka (2010),[30] and Isabella Ayuk (2004)[31] Miss Nigeria 2002, Sylvia Edem, was in the top five at MBGN 1998,[32] 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,[33] Regina Askia,[34] Emma Komlosy, Celia Bissong,[35] and Munachi Nwankwo.[36] Lynda Chuba-Ikpeazu and Omasan Buwa have moved into politics,[37] as has Bianca Onoh who became a presidential adviser, as well as an ambassador and Nigeria's Permanent Representative to the UNWTO while Nike Oshinowo has worked in pageantry.[38]


Year MBGN State/Town represented Notes
1986 Lynda Chuba Imo
  • Miss Africa 1987[39]
1987 Omasan Buwa Warri
  • Miss Intercontinental (Top 5)
1988 Regina Askia Akwa Ibom Runner-up took over the title of MGBN after Onoh resigned.
Bianca Onoh Abuja
  • Miss Africa 1989
  • Miss Intercontinental 1989
1990 Sabina Umeh Niger
1991 Nike Oshinowo Rivers
1992 Sandra Petgrave Akwa Ibom
1993 Rihole Gbinigie Lagos
1994 Susan Hart Benue
1995 Toyin Raji Kogi
1996 Emma Komlosy Lagos
1998 Chika Chikezie Imo
1999 Angela Ukpoma Imo
2000 Matilda Kerry Rivers
2001 Ann Suinner Abuja Runner-up took over the title of MBGN after Agbani won the Miss World 2001
Agbani Darego Rivers
2002 Chinenye Ochuba Anambra
  • Miss World 2002 (Top 10)
  • Miss World Africa
2003 Celia Bissong Cross River
2004 Anita Uwagbele Edo
  • Miss World 2004 (Top 15)
  • Miss World Africa
2005 Omowunmi Akinnifesi Kwara
2006 Abiola Bashorun Lagos
2007 Munachi Nwankwo Imo
2008 Adaeze Igwe Anambra
2009 Glory Chukwu Nasarawa
2010 Fiona Amuzie Plateau
2011 Sylvia Nduka Taraba
2012 Isabella Ayuk Cross River
2013 Anna Banner Bayelsa
2014 Iheoma Nnadi Akwa Ibom
2015 Unoaku Anyadike Anambra
2017 Ugochi Ihezue Kebbi
  • Miss World 2017 (Top 15)
2018 Anita Ukah Imo
  • Miss World 2018 (Top 30)
2019 Nyekachi Douglas Rivers
  • Miss World 2019 (Top 5)
  • Miss World Africa
2021 Oluchi Madubuike Abuja

Other notable contestants[]

  • Chidinma Aaron, Miss Nigeria 2018
  • Lilian Bach (as Bola Bach), actress [40]
  • Kehinde Bankole, model and actress
  • Sylvia Edem, Miss Nigeria 2002[41]
  • Janet Fateye (as Kemi Fateye), singer and Miss Nigeria 1993
  • Yemi Fawaz† (as Miss Universe Nigeria contestant), model and actress[42]
  • Ibinabo Fiberesima, actress
  • Nengi Hampson (as Rebecca Hampson), reality TV personality and TNQ 2013 [43]
  • May Ikeora, lawyer,[44] Miss Ecowas 2003, and executive director, Miss Nigeria[45][46]
  • Alex Lopez, actress[47]
  • Erica Nlewedim, actress, model, and reality TV personality
  • Chikaodili Nna-Udosen, TNQ 2020
  • Stephanie Okereke, actress
  • Maristella Okpara, Miss Earth Nigeria 2018
  • Grace Oboba, actress/producer [48]
  • Ebinabo Potts-Johnson, model
  • Gloria 'Giomanni' Ziregbe, singer[49]
  • Patricia Osita Onumonu, model, fashion designer [50]

International winners[]

MGBN winners also won other titles at worldwide pageants.

  • Miss World
    • 2001 — Agbani Darego
  • Miss Intercontinental
    • 1989 — Bianca Onoh
  • Miss Africa


Originally, only the winner represented Nigeria at International level, although in some cases the runners-up acted as replacements where necessary. However, in 2007 the show was revamped to produce different representatives. MGBN World represents Nigeria at Miss World, while MBGN Universe and MBGN Tourism compete at Miss Universe and Miss Tourism International respectively.


The awards most frequently presented at MBGN are Miss Photogenic, Miss Amity, and Best Traditional Costume.[51]

From 2007 to 2012, soft drink marketers La Casera, in conjunction with MBGN, chose a contestant to be the face of their brand. The winner of the title, Miss La Casera, promoted their product and worked on various projects reaching out to society's less privileged.[52][53] The Miss La Casera winner also received a car and N1,000,000.[54]


In 1989, several months after winning the Nigerian version of Miss Intercontinental, Bianca Onoh opted to resign after tabloids reported a relationship with former Biafran leader and Ikemba of Nnewi, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, a political associate of her father over thirty years her senior, sparking outrageous rumors – Climax magazine falsely claimed she was pregnant.[55] Although the couple never confirmed the relationship until their wedding in 1994, pageant organisers Silverbird were furious as MBGN title-holders are said to be discouraged from 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 who completed the remainder of Onoh's tenure as MBGN.[56]

Actress Ibinabo Fiberesima has said in numerous interviews that she had competed in 1998 and emerged second runner-up,[57][58] 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,[59] 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.[60] However YouTube videos 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.[61] 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."[59]

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.[62] However, due to age restrictions, she did not represent Nigeria at Miss World that year.[63]

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 use 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."[64]

See also[]


  1. ^ "Silverbird Group Businesses: Our Websites". Silverbird Group. 20 July 2014.
  2. ^ Jump up to: a b "MTV Base". 18 February 1956. Archived from the original on 30 January 2013.
  3. ^ @seefinish (11 October 2019). "Winner #Mbgn2019" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  4. ^ "One crown: 34 hotties line up for MBGN". 24 June 2011.
  5. ^ Edna Park Ebony Magazine. Johnson Publishing Company. October 1964.
  6. ^ "Nigerian Beauty Queens still rocking". 7 October 2011.
  7. ^ "Anne Titilope now Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria".
  8. ^ "Dress sexy if you must, but not indecent – MBGN (World)". 9 June 2007.
  9. ^ "MBGN to help victims of child labour, human trafficking". 1 March 2011.
  10. ^ "The MBGN Is A Most Veritable Platform For Big Dreams". 19 May 2012.
  11. ^ "". 30 April 2012. External link in |title= (help)
  12. ^ "ROAD TO MBGN 2021". 23 May 2021.
  13. ^ "Being a Beauty Queen is a Huge Responsibility". 15 August 2010.
  14. ^ Nkechi Opurum (22 November 2012). "Miss Nigeria 2013 calls for entries".
  15. ^ "Miss Nigeria Returns after 6 years, without swim wear segment". 12 August 2012.
  16. ^ "32 Finalists Emerge For MBGN 2012".
  17. ^ "Miss Nigeria Beauty Pageant". 1 April 2011.
  18. ^ MBGN Talent Show Archived 19 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Guy Murray-Bruce: We Used To Beg Girls To Participate In MBGN Pageant". 28 July 2012.
  20. ^ "How Ayuk won MBGN contest". 12 May 2012.
  21. ^ Miss World 2001 Archived 7 May 2006 at the Wayback Machine[unreliable source?]
  22. ^ Miss Universe 2001 Archived 6 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine[unreliable source?]
  23. ^ "Mary Bienoseh, Miss World 1987". Archived from the original on 16 November 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  24. ^ Miss World 2002 Archived 24 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine[unreliable source?]
  25. ^ Miss World 2004 Archived 14 November 2004 at the Wayback Machine[unreliable source?]
  26. ^ "Peerless Sliverbird Group". Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  27. ^ "Nigeria Pulls Out of Miss World". 4 December 1995. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  28. ^ Miss Universe 1995 Archived 9 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine[unreliable source?]
  29. ^ Ukonu, Nkarenyi (1 April 2012). "Unlike now, beauty pageants never opened doors – Omasan Buwa". The Punch. Lagos, Nigeria. Archived from the original on 8 April 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2012.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  30. ^ "The lie Sylvia Nduka told". 22 August 2011.
  31. ^ "A queen, her age and tale bearers". 29 June 2012. Archived from the original on 27 July 2014.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  32. ^ "A Time Out With Miss Nigeria".
  33. ^ "The Founders". Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  34. ^ "Celebrating African Motherhood Organization (CAM) Gala". African Events. Archived from the original on 20 July 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  35. ^ "Something Good, Omotu Bissong". 23 April 2011. Archived from the original on 15 June 2013.
  36. ^ "Munachi, Modenine settle rift at Industry Nite". 2 June 2012.
  37. ^ Onoh became a presidential adviser as well as an ambassador, option=com_content&view=article&id=85889:isabella "Isabella … All bless the Queen" Check |url= value (help). 13 May 2012.
  38. ^ Olukole, Tope (19 June 2010). "Miss Nigeria Returns After Six Years •To Hold in Three Continents". Nigerian Tribune. Ibadan, Nigeria. Archived from the original on 15 June 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  39. ^ "Lynda Chuba". 30 January 2004.
  40. ^ Lilian Bach Turns 50
  41. ^ "Men Are Scared of Me". Archived from the original on 27 March 2012.
  42. ^ Why I Never Married
  43. ^ MBGN 2017: Meet the Contestants
  44. ^ "Why we need to understand Voodoo". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  45. ^ "Nigerian Wins Youth Award".
  46. ^ "Demand for bleaching creams in Nigeria still high — Dr May Ikeora - Vanguard News". Vanguard News. 20 May 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  47. ^ "Alex Lopez". 18 March 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  48. ^ Why I Dumped Modelling for Acting
  49. ^ I slept in a terminus the first time I came to Lagos –Gloria Ziregbe, former Miss Tourism Nigeria Archived 2 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  50. ^ "trish o couture".
  51. ^ "Pageant Veteran Isabella Wins MBGN".
  52. ^ "Miis LaCasera 2011". 1 September 2012. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  53. ^ "Miss La Casera". Archived from the original on 30 April 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  54. ^ "Men or money won't make me forsake values my parents taught me – Antoinette Igebu, Miss La Casera". 11 August 2012. Archived from the original on 10 November 2012.
  55. ^ "Congratulations to Bianca".
  56. ^ MBGN Website Archived 15 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  57. ^ Alhassan, Amina (22 December 2013). "Nigeria: I Was Destined to Be an Entertainer – Ibinabo Fiberesima". Daily Trust (Abuja). Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  58. ^ My past turned me into a new person Archived 8 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  59. ^ Jump up to: a b "Controversy Trails MBGN 2011".
  60. ^ "Sylvia Nduka confesses: I was tensed on Stage".
  61. ^ "The Lie Sylvia Nduka Told". 22 August 2011.
  62. ^ "Isabela Ayuk shuns MGBN controversy, says 'I will win Miss Universe'". 2 November 2012. Archived from the original on 30 December 2012.
  63. ^ "We Stand By Ayuk". 22 June 2012.
  64. ^ "Fellow Nigerian's 10-million-dollar suit hangs on Miss World".

External links[]

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