By BENJAMIN NJOKU
Etsanyi Tukura,from Taraba State is surely looking forward to facing a new chapter in her life as she begins her reign as the 43rd Miss Nigeria.
The 22-year old beauty was crowned the 43rd Miss Nigeria at a glamorous event that held last Saturday night at the prestigious Eko Covention Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
She defeated five other finalists to clinch the crown. It was indeed a dream come true for the law graduate of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Ondo State. Everyone at the event agreed that Tukura deserved to wear the crown, having bowled judges over when she told them that she would use the Miss Nigeria platform to reach out to the girl-child and make a positive impact on their lives.
“It has been my dream to go into pageantry,”Tukura said, shortly after she was crowned as the 43rd Miss Nigeria.
According to her, entering for the competition was the easiest way to achieve her dream, especially in the world today, where many female celebrities are passing the wrong messages to the young girls.
“Why not take that chance and go out there and be that platform of change where you can pass the right messages and make positive impact on the girls,” the queen added.
Tukura’s dream is to empower young girls to be the best version of themselves. While her reign lasts, one of the projects she would want to embark on, and which is very dear to her heart, is to give out scholarship to the young girls.
“From the out set, I stated it that my target is between the ages of 12 and 16 years. I feel that it’s a very important age in the life of a girl-child. That’s the age where you catch them young. So, I am going to be running an empowerment programmes of different types.”
On what stood her out among other contestants, the Taraba State born- beauty said it was the fact that “I was ready for the competition. I wanted the crown and I went for it.”
The beauty queen, described her camping experience as ‘amazing’ adding that “This was a goal I set out to achieve this year, starting from January.”
“I went for the audition and I was selected. The camping was amazing. They took care of us and I enjoyed meeting every single contestant. I can’t believe that I am the 43rd Miss Nigeria. I am so happy and honoured,” she enthused.
Tukura, who said she hopes to practice law after her reign, however, hinted how she intends to go about her reign. She disclosed that she would be working with Green Girl company, which is a social enterprise aimed at empowering young women to become facilitators of sustainable practices that build peaceful and economically viable communities in Africa. “I am going to work with the company to see how we can do more things, bring more empowerment to the young women across the country,” the queen explained.
Tukura’s emergence as the 43rd Miss Nigeria was not surprising .Even her close rival, Miss Abuja, Nonye who was the 1st runner-up acknowledged that she deserved the crown.
Miss Nigeria is expected to be eloquent, unapologetic, beautiful, demonstrate credibility and grace under pressure. And these were exactly what Tukura exhibited at the grand finale, which had 36 contestants representing the 36 states of the federation, including Abuja.
The beauty queen walked away with a N3 million dummy cheque, a luxury apartment and a brand new Hyundai car while Miss Adamawa won the prize of N250,000 @ogelleafrica Multimedia challenge, which was presented to her by the company’s MD of Marketing and Communication.
The event which was hosted by Ebuka Obi-Uchendu and Kemi ‘Lala’ Akindoju was an evening of glamour and glitz. It was clear that glamour was on the agenda with the contestants pulling out all the stops in the style department. While it lasted, tension filled the air as the contestants took turns to showcase their beauties and styles.
Leading the way was the immediate past Miss Nigeria, Chidinma Leilani Aaron, who stunned in a gold-coloured gown which she accessorized with her simple court shoes and her crown.
In her valedictory speech, Chidinma wished her successor a very warm welcome and every success in her reign. She enjoined the new queen to let the good Lord lead her,to keep close to her family and be true to herself.
Recounting how she began her journey into pageantry, the immediate past Miss Nigeria said the journey to this point has been both transformational and remarkable.
‘On the 25th of November 2018, I succeeded the 41st Miss Nigeria to become the 42nd Miss Nigeria. I did so with joy and carried the crown with gratitude and poise. It’s a rare opportunity to be so honoured.”
“It has been a year of notable firsts and multiple improvements. In the course of the year, I have been in alliance with the Green Girl Company Limited in the pursuit of several projects, and engagements all poised towards empowering girls beyond beauty.”
“These included raising girls workshops, where I sensitized young girls about sexual abuse and harassment, body positivism and personal hygiene. I hold dearly the potable water project that we were able to install in the Miss Nigeria residential unit. But all in all, it was the cherished responsibility of carrying the crown with dignity and exemplary conduct all year round that will stay with me the rest of my life. It has indeed been a year of remarkable firsts and multiple improvements and I am exceedingly grateful for the opportunity to be an ambassador for Nigeria,” the ex-beauty queen recounted.
Interestingly, in order to promote decency as well as integrate the diverse belief system of the people, organizers of Miss Nigeria eliminated the swimwear segment this year.
In their words: “We recognize that ours is a unique historic project and that is why she will uphold the ideals of our Nigerian culture, and yet be able to relate in today’s global village, while merging both traditional values and our modern way of life. The new queen will be a ‘Queen Ambassador.’ She will indeed, be the true essence of Nigeria womanhood.”
Dignitaries that graced the event included the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dame Pauline Tallen; Minister of Culture and Information Alhaji Lai Mohammed, First Lady of Lagos State, Dr (Mrs) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu; Senator Ita Giwa among others.
First held in 1957, Miss Nigeria beauty pageant has always represented the highest of ideals; a combination of beauty, grace, intelligence and artistic.