is apageantorganised bySilverbird Groupwith 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 publisherslost its license to send delegates from rival contestMiss NigeriatoMiss WorldandMiss Universe.

The current title holder isMedical Laboratory SciencegraduateAnita Ukahwho representedImo.3

Former publisherBen Murray-Bruceventured into show business after his magazineSilverbirdflopped. He took a loan of N200,000 from his father which he used to organise a number of successful concerts which saw artists likeShalamarandKool and the Gangperform in Nigeria, after which he promoted a new pageant known as Miss Universe Nigeria in 1983, but it only gained public attention after it changed its name to Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria in 1986,2and its first winner was model Lynda Chuba.4

MBGN winners are expected to represent Nigeria atMiss World(althoughLynda Chuba, Rihole Gbinigie, Chika Chikezie, Angela Ukpoma, and Isabella Ayuk did not have this opportunity), and until 2004 at other international pageants includingMiss Universe, where Chuba was the first Nigerian in twenty-three years to compete after Edna Parks on-stage hysteria in 1964,5while the first MBGN winner at Miss World was English language studentOmasan Buwain 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 BiologystudentRegina AskiareplacedBianca Onohafter the latter resigned in 1989,6while Philosophy studentAnn Suinnercontinued Agbani Daregos 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 beenSickle cellAwareness, but others have includedPolio,8Child labour,9Education, andWidowEmpowerment.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 MBGNEcowas(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

The differences between MBGN and Miss Nigeria have been compared withMiss USAandMiss America. While MBGN delegates compete at international level, Miss Nigeria winners no longer have this privilege.12In 2010 Miss Nigeria was relaunched as a scholarship programme and its winners in recent years receive modelling contract as part of their prize.13MBGN focuses mainly on physical beauty unlike Miss Nigeria which is excepted 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.14

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.1516In the pageants early days, contestants were allowed to wearmaillotsof their choice during the swimsuit parade. Identicalbikinisare now used instead. In 2014, a talent competition was introduced as part of the preliminaries.17

In the mid-nineties, after MBGN had no place at Miss Universe and Miss World, MBGN organisers placed height and weight restrictions on the contestants entry forms, and judges were told not to select the woman they found most attractive, but contestants with a greater chance of winning at international pageants.18

Due to the countrys conservative standards, very few contestants competed in the early days of MBGN, and competitors from Northern Nigeria are still rare, as its predominantlyMuslimpopulation frown on beauty pageants. Guy Murray-Bruce, who succeeded his brother as pageant director in 1992 toldThe 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 dont 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 some winners have also received a car.20

Although Mary Ngozi Bienoseh did not win the maiden edition of MBGN in 1986, she became the first Nigerian to be namedAfrican Continental Queen of Beauty, reaching the top ten atMiss World 1987.21Other MBGN delegates who have received this honour areChinenye Ochuba22andAnita Uwagbalein 2002 and 2004 respectively.231988 winner, Law studentBianca Onohwas crowned Miss Africa in 1988 as well as Miss Intercontinental in 1989,24and Theatre graduateSabina Umehwas the first Nigerian to win the Personality prize at Miss World 1990.Toyin Rajiwas the recipient in 1995, despite withdrawing from the pageant due to political protests.25Prior to this, Raji had been named Miss Congeniality atMiss Universe 1995.26

MBGNs biggest achievement was in 2001 whenComputer Scienceand Mathematics studentAgbani Daregobecame the first nativeSub-Saharanto clinch theMiss Worldtitle,27and the first Nigerian in the top ten atMiss Universe.28

At least three MBGN winners have previously competed at Miss Nigeria:Omasan Buwa(1987),29Sylvia Nduka (2010),30andIsabella Ayuk(2004)31Miss Nigeria 2002, Sylvia Edem, was in the top five at MBGN 1998,32as 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, includingSabina Umeh,33Regina Askia,34Emma Komlosy(who reigned for the longest period in MBGN history from 19961998, and to date remains MBGNs onlymixed-racewinner),35Celia Bissong,36andMunachi Nwankwo.37Lynda Chuba-IkpeazuandOmasan Buwahave moved into politics,38as has Bianca Onoh who became a presidential adviser as well as an ambassador whileNike Oshinowohas worked in pageantry.39

2nd Runner-upMiss World SportinMiss World 2008

Top 15 Semi-finalist &Miss World Top ModelinMiss World 2017

Top 30 Quarter-finalist & Top 32 atMiss World Top ModelinMiss World 2018

Vanessa Ekeke, Miss Commonwealth Nigeria 2002 and Nigerian Representative to Miss Earth 2002. Now Executive Director of Miss Nigeria International.

Janet Fateye (as Kemi Fateye), singer and Miss Nigeria 1993

Yemi Fawaz (Miss Universe Nigeria, 1984), model and actress

and Miss Ecowas 2003, executive Director ofMiss Nigeria

Patricia Osita Onumonu, model, Fashion designer

MGBN Winners also won other titles at worldwide pageants.

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 five representatives. MGBN World representsNigeriaatMiss World, while MBGN Universe and MBGN Tourism compete atMiss UniverseandMiss Tourism Internationalrespectively.

The awards most frequently presented at MBGN are Miss Photogenic, Miss Amity, and Best Traditional Costume.58

From 2007 to 2012, soft drink marketersLa Casera, in conjunction with MBGN organisers chose a contestant to be the face of their brand. The winner of the title, MissLa Casera, was expected to promote their product and work on various projects which would reach out to the less privileged and the needy in society.5960The MissLa Caserawinner also received a car and N1,000,000.61

In 1989, several months after winning the Nigerian version of Miss Intercontinental, Bianca Onoh opted to resign rather than end it, after it emerged that she was in a relationship with formerBiafranleader andIkembaof, a political associate of her father who was over thirty years her senior one tabloid falsely reported that she was pregnant.62Although the couple never confirmed or denied the affair until their wedding in 1994, pageant organisers Silverbird were furious as MBGN title-holders are said to be discouraged from having 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 winnerRegina Askiawho then completed the remainder of her tenure as MBGN.63

Actress Ibinabo Fiberesima has claimed in numerous interviews that she had competed in 1998 and emerged second runner-up,6465but 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,66was 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.67HoweverYouTubevideos revealed thatAccountancystudent Nduka had been a contestant in Miss Nigeria 2010 where she received coaching in etiquette and media, and participated in the competitions reality show, but failed to make the final ten at the grand finale in Abuja reports claim that an enraged Nduka, who had representedKaduna, refused to return to the stage during eventual winner Damilola Agbajors coronation and even smashed her Miss Kaduna plaque.68Silverbird 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 didnt win wont be necessarily happy with the results. And as for [Nduka] goofing her questions, its just a case of her being nervous, I spoke with her at the after-party of the pageant and she was quite eloquent.66

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.69However, due to age restrictions, she did not represent Nigeria at Miss World that year.70

Shortly after Agbani Daregos 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. FormerDaily Timesmanaging 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.71

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MBGN 2018 winner is Miss Imo Anita UkahLailasNews.com

One crown: 34 hotties line up for MBGN. Vanguardngr.com. 24 June 2011.

Nigerian Beauty Queens still rocking. Vanguardngr.com. 7 October 2011.

Anne Titilope now Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria. Nigeriaworld.com.

Dress sexy if you must, but not indecent MBGN (World). Imoonline.org. 9 June 2007.

MBGN to help victims of child labour, human trafficking. Indepthnigeria.com. 1 March 2011.

The MBGN Is A Most Veritable Platform For Big Dreams. Ngrguardiannews.com. 19 May 2012.

Being a Beauty Queen is a Huge Responsibility. Vanguardngr.com. 15 August 2010.

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Miss Nigeria Returns after 6 years, without swim wear segment. Sundaytrust.com.ng. 12 August 2012.

32 Finalists Emerge For MBGN 2012. Thenetng.com.

Miss Nigeria Beauty Pageant. Guardiannewsngr.com. 1 April 2011.

Guy Murray-Bruce: We Used To Beg Girls To Participate In MBGN Pageant. Guardiannewsngr.com. 28 July 2012.

How Ayuk won MBGN contest. Vanguardngr.com. 12 May 2012.

Mary Bienoseh, Miss World 1987. Pageantopolis.com. Archived fromthe originalon 16 November 2011

Nigeria Pulls Out of Miss World. Findarticles.com. 4 December 1995

Ukonu, Nkarenyi (1 April 2012).Unlike now, beauty pageants never opened doors Omasan Buwa.

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The lie Sylvia Nduka told. Fabmagazineonline.com. 22 August 2011.

A queen, her age and tale bearers. Punchng.com. 29 June 2012. Archived from the original on 27 July 2014.

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Something Good, Omotu Bissong. Tribune.com.ng. 23 April 2011. Archived fromthe originalon 15 June 2013.

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Onoh became a presidential adviser as well as an ambassador, option=com_content&view=article&id=85889:isabella Isabella All bless the Queen

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Chinenye Puts To Bed. Punchng.com. 8 January 2012. Archived fromthe originalon 27 July 2014.

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Demand for bleaching creams in Nigeria still high Dr May Ikeora – Vanguard News.

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Inactivesince2015(contest began in outside UK)

Inactive non-existing countries and former territories

Articles lacking reliable references from June 2012

Articles lacking reliable references from March 2013

This page was last edited on 23 April 2019, at 13:28

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