As the search for the next Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN) takes off this year, with the first screenings scheduled to hold on August 8 in Enugu, the emphasis will be on the need to tackle gender based violence, which has been an uprising scourge in the nation and world at large. This is particularly to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the prestigious MBGN pageant.
The Vice President, Silverbird Group, Mr. Guy Murray-Bruce, during a press briefing to announce the 30th edition of the pageant in Lagos, said that the pageant would be epoch making as it rides on the hair raising sub theme ‘Gender Based Violence – The Plight of the Nigerian Woman’, in addition to the pageant’s main theme ‘The True Essence of Beauty -Timeless’. He said this year’s pageant comes with lots of surprises plus much more mouth-watering prizes for the winners and assured everyone of a world class event in line with the best of Silverbird’s tradition. Murray-Bruce who was visibly excited over the announcement for the 30th edition of the pageant further called on corporate organisations and the media to be a part of the show as sponsors and partners.
Screenings have been scheduled to hold on August 8 in Enugu, August 10 in Port Harcourt and in Abuja on August 12 while the final screening to select the 35 contestants will hold on August 14 at Best Western Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos. Winner of the anniversary competition, which holds on September 15 at the Eko Hotel in Lagos, will represent Nigeria at Miss World pageant in Sanya, China on November 18, 2017, while the first runner up will represent Nigeria at the Miss Universe pageant.
Speaking during the press briefing, outgoing MBGN, Unoaku Anyadike made a passionate appeal to government at all levels to take the fight against gender based violence more seriously. Unoaku, in a very moving speech said, “It is sobering to realise that behind the closed doors of homes everywhere, in the place where women have the right to feel most safe, horrific abuse is a daily reality.” Unoaku, like many other campaigners before her, is shocked by the statistics which show that nearly 50 per cent of all sexual assaults worldwide are against girls 15 years or younger.”
Past winners of the MBGN have made huge imprints globally with Agbani Darego now an international super model and fashion entrepreneur, becoming the very first Black African Miss World in 2001. Others are Mary Ngozi Bienoseh, Chinenye Ochuba and Anita Uwagbale named African Continental Queen of beauty, reaching the top 10 at Miss World 1987, 2002 and 2004 respectively. Bianca Onoh was crowned Miss Intercontinental in 1989, and Sabina Umeh was the first Nigerian to win the Personality prize at Miss World 1990. Toyin Raji was the recipient in 1995, and until recently, Celestine Queen won the Miss Congeniality title in the Miss Universe pageant 2014.