By ADA DIKE
Preparations for the celebration of 60th anniversary of Miss Nigeria scheduled to hold in November this year, is in top gear.
Established in 1957, the pageant which holds every year aims to showcase the positive attributes of Nigerian women and also serves as a platform used in uniting Nigeria.
Speaking at a media briefing in Lagos today to intimate the media on the event which started in January this year, the Executive Director of Miss Nigeria Organisation, Dr. May Ikeora, said that all arrangements have reached at advanced stage to achieve a successful multi-faceted celebration.
“Miss Nigeria is 60 years today. Founded in 1957 when we were trying to secure Nigeria’s independence, it was a more symbolic pageant specifically formed to promote peace and unity in Nigeria, which it has continued to achieve,” she said.
The former Miss West Africa adds: “Today, we celebrate Miss Nigeria at 60. We have come a long way. It is another chance to refresh and search for what we can do better for Nigeria. How do we change with Nigeria and how do we make contributions to make Nigeria better?
In continuing, she however, emphasised that the only way the pageant can be improved upon was for them to achieve the goals they had set.
“We have been working so hard from last year, especially, trying to make sure that Miss Nigeria as an organisation is clear with its objectives,” she stressed.
She mentioned the key elements of Miss Nigeria pageant and they among others include: the pageant itself, the women empowerment element as its vision today is empowering women beyond beauty, sustainable and long term project such as Green-Girl project which is reviewed every five years, and the culture and heritage.
“Every Miss Nigeria surpasses what her predecessor did. It brings value to our community and the sponsors. Every year from last year, Miss Nigeria takes a state or two and promotes their culture and heritage. Last year, the girls wore Benin attire on stage thereby promoting Benin culture.
She also said that: “We want a strong Miss Nigeria. We want to bring back pageantry better than what it used to be. It is unfortunate that we have too many pageants today that diluted pageantry, we don’t want that anymore.”
She revealed that they would continue to use Miss Nigeria as a platform to showcase who a beauty queen should be.
According to her, Miss Nigeria is not a perfect girl but the everyday girl that represents the entirety of Nigeria and implored Nigerians to support her.
“Miss Nigeria embodies an intelligent and beautiful woman that understands her identity as a Nigerian. It is not about beauty or whether a girl is from East, West North or South. Last year, we had more girls from the Northern part of Nigeria that contested for the pageant. We don’t want a girl from a particular ethnic group but, a Moslem or a Christian from any state that will represent who we are as human beings,” she explained.
She summed up her statement by saying that the 60th anniversary is an avenue for them to tell Nigerians and the world that the pageant is bigger, stronger and better.
“This is Miss Nigeria, well structured to promote peace, unity and our rich cultural heritage,” Ikeora added.
In the same vein, Special Project Expert, Edi Lawani, said that Miss Nigeria has a lot of history comprising visual and spectacle that goes through stages of selection, training, boot camp and the grand finale.
He maintained that the need to ensure that the event is recorded and stored for generations yet unborn to watch is by storing it in a recorded form.
“From the technical point of view, moving forward, we shouldn’t make a mistake like in the past. To capture it properly, that is where we come in to ensure the technical requirement is put together,” he said.
He further said that: “This year, we will ensure Miss Nigeria is presented in a way it can be termed world class that will make it engaging for people to want to watch after that day.”
Also speaking, the 40th Miss Nigeria, Chioma Obiadi, the current queen, said she has used the platform to orientate girls and women through Green-Girl project she inherited from her successor.
“While growing up, I wanted to be Miss Nigeria because it is ambassadorial. I would like young people looking up to Miss Nigeria to know that it is not about beauty but, for projection of peace and unity in Nigeria,” she explained.
The 22-year-old 200 level student of Geography and Meteorology, Namdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, reiterated that the 60 years old pageant has a lot of weight on her shoulders.
“It has been amazing. I have built my intellectual strength from being the queen,” she revealed.
It will be recalled that the winner of the maiden edition of the Miss Nigeria, Mrs Grace Oyelude, clocked on December 19, 2016, the day the 40th Miss Nigeria, Chioma Obiadi, was crowned.
The organisers of Miss Nigeria, in one accord stated that they would do all they could to sustain the pageant and ensure it continues to serve its purpose of bringing peace, unity and progress to Nigeria. They revealed that they had written letters to the American President, Donald Trump, individuals, organisations and some multinational companies, intimating them about the world class event that has interesting programmes that would thrilled Nigerians and the world.