Miss Nigeria: 44 Past Winners of Prominent Beauty Pageant, Update on Where & What They Are Doing

Miss Nigeria: 44 Past Winners of Prominent Beauty Pageant, Update on Where & What They Are Doing

The Miss Nigeria Pageant is an annual beauty show that has lived through the years since its inception in 1957.

Organised by Dailytimes Nigeria, the event showcases the positive attributes of Nigerian women, and the crowned winner serves as a role model for young women in the country.

Miss Nigeria Shatu Garko, first Miss Nigeria Oyelude Atinuke Grace, Miss Nigeria creative director Ezinne Akudo
L-R: 1st Hijab Miss Nigerian Shatu Garko, pictures of the first ever Miss Nigeria (1957) Oyelude Grace, Present Miss Nigeria creative director and ex-queen (2013) Ezinne Akudo Credit: @missnigeria
Source: Instagram

The national pageant has continued to attract young patriotic female contestants who are judged on poise, intelligence, cultural values, and beauty—qualities that every family would be proud to see their daughters, sisters, and mothers possess.

Legit.ng went back in time to bring its readers information on the lives and times of the past queens who embodied the pageant's relevance and grace.

1. Oyelude Atinuke Grace

Oyelude Atinuke Grace was the first crowned queen of the national pageant in 1957. In the contest's early years, Miss Nigeria was a photo competition.

Read also

Davido's Anita Brown, 7 other notable events that rocked Nigerian entertainment industry in first half of 2023

PAY ATTENTION: Join Legit.ng Telegram channel! Never miss important updates!

Grace represented the northern region at the Miss Nigeria grand final after her brother sent a photo of her to the pageant's organisers, the Daily Times. After she won, Oyelude used her £200 cash prize to fly to England and enrol in nursing school. She finished in 1961 and became a midwife in 1962.

She relocated to Markurdi General Hospital in 1967 when the Nigerian Civil War began. Oyelude led a Northern Area team that assisted hospitals in handling war casualties.

In 2015, the Miss Nigeria Organisation presented her with a Peugeot car.

2. Helen Anyamelune

Helen Anyamelune was the second Miss Nigeria, who reigned in 1958. Helen hails from Ugbodu, in the Aniocha local government area of Delta state. The former beauty queen died on July 28, 2012, at 75, after a protracted illness.

3. Nene Etule

Read also

How Dele Momodu's SOS call, Dorian Homes' intervention saved 11-year-old boy from his father's crucifixion

Nene Etule took over the crown from Helen Anyamelune in 1959. She was the only non-Nigerian to have participated in the prestigious beauty contest. Nene, 18 years old, was a former seamstress from Bota Islands (Wovia) in Limbe, Cameroon, who surprised the entire Federal Republic of Nigeria by winning the Miss Nigeria Pageant.

Nene Etule is still remembered as the only non-Nigerian to have won the competition. She married the late Pen Malafa, former Director of United Nations Information Services in Nigeria, shortly after her reign, and she currently lives in Limbe's Mabeta New Layout neighbourhood.

4. Rosemary Nkem Anieze

Rosemary Nkem Anieze became the fourth Miss Nigeria in 1960, the same year the country gained independence from British rule. This earned her the moniker "Miss Independence". On September 28, 1960, Rosemary took a celebratory stroll in Lagos to mark Nigeria's freedom.

5. Clara Ifeoma Emefiena

Clara Ifeoma Emefiena was the fifth Miss Nigeria with double tenures. She took the crown after Miss Independence in 1961. She represented the Midwest region during the competition. Clara was known to be the Longest-serving Miss Nigeria.

Read also

"I won golden diploma": Nigerian man gets 5.0 CGPA in Russian university, emerges best graduating student

6. Yemi Idowu

Yemi Idowu was Miss Nigeria in 1962, after Clara Ifeoma's tenure. She later became the semi-finalist at Miss United Nations the following year.

7. Alice Alache Akla Ad'epe

Alice Alache Akla Ad'epe became the eighth Miss Nigeria in 1962. She emerged as Miss Kano in 1962 and eventually Miss Nigeria in 1963. She made history as the second lady from Northern Nigeria to win the highly revered crown.

Alice told Idoma Voice that no one cared to follow up or know how she was faring after her reign. She said, "Things were no longer rosy. I was abandoned, so I decided to return home."

8. Edna Park

In 1964, Edna Park became the nineth Miss Nigeria and made history as the first beauty queen to represent Nigeria in the Miss Universe beauty pageant the same year.

9. Anna Eboweime

Anna Eboweime became the next beauty queen of the country immediately after Edna in 1965. Anna represented the Midwest during the competition.

Read also

Sierra Leonean, Academic Prodigy: 5 Things You Need To Know About Johnny Drille's Mystery Wife, Tahini Rima

10. Rosaline Yinka Balogun

Rosaline Yinka Balogun took the baton in 1967 and became the first queen to exhibit Nigerian culture and beauty on the Miss World pageant stage. Rosaline represented the western state during the Miss Nigeria pageant.

11. Foluke Abosede Ogundipe

Foluke Abosede Ogundipe represented Western State at the beauty pageant and won the competition to become Miss Nigeria in 1968.

She also represented Nigeria at the 18th edition of Miss World, held in the British capital in November 1968, which Miss Australia Penny Plummer won. Ntukdem died in her sleep in December 2022 at her Lagos residence. The news of her demise was made public by her son.

12. Stella Owivri

Stella Owivri was tagged as the new Miss Nigeria, after she won the crown in 1970 after representing the mid-western state in the competition.

13. Toyin Monney

Toyin Monney was recorded as the oldest winner of the national pageant. Toyin competed for Miss Nigeria at the age of 32, where she became the 1977 queen. She represented Lagos in the national competition.

Read also

Melodious moment as Tems speaks on her journey to global recognition: "My life is a testimony"

14. Irene Omagbemi

Irene Omagbemi represented Lagos state during the 1978 national pageant, where she emerged with the crown for that year.

15. Helen Prest-Ajayi

Helen Prest-Ajayi, formerly Prest-Davies, was crowned Miss Nigeria at 19 in 1979 and further represented the country at the Miss World pageant in the UK.

Helen is a lawyer and writer and has authored many books, including "The Complete English Guide." Helen wrote a popular lifestyle column in ThisDay Style and is the Creative Director of Media Business Company and mylifestylesolutions.com.

16. Syster Jack

In 1980, Syster Jack became the 17th crowned Miss Nigeria and represented Rivers state during the national competition.

17. Tokunbo Onanuga

Tokunbo Onanuga became the 18th crowned queen of the national pageant and was a representative for Lagos state. Tokunbo was later demoted after a flaw was discovered on her WAEC certificate.

18. Rita Baraleye Martins

Read also

President Tinubu's Wife to host Super Falcons, gives reason

Rita Baraleye Martins took over from Tokunbo in 1982 after she was disqualified. However, Rita didn't stay till the end of her tenure; she resigned after a short period of her reign.

19. Cynthia Oronsaye

Cynthia Oronsaye marked her reign as the 20th Miss Nigeria in 1984 after Rita Martins gave up the crown. She represented Bendel state during the competitive show.

20. Rosemary Nkemdilim Okeke

Rosemary held the crown between 1984/ 1985 and was the last Miss Nigeria to represent the country at the Miss World pageant.

After her reign, she ventured into fashion and tourism, later went into active politics, and was appointed Special Adviser /Imo State Liaison Officer, Abuja.

21. Rita Anuku

Rita Anuku became the 20th Miss Nigeria in 1986 at age 18, immediately after she left secondary school. She represented Bendel state during the competition.

In 2015, the ex beauty queen was reported dead after battling cancer for two years.

Read also

Ifeoma Amuche: 4 new things about the Nigerian lady who graduated as best student in China

22. Stella Okoye

In 1987, Stella Okoye made history as the first dark-skinned model to win the Miss Nigeria pageant

It was reported that security guards escorted Okoye from the venue after the crowd, which disapproved of a dark-skinned winner, booed when her name was announced. Stella represented the Imo state region during the competition.

23. Adewunmi Adebowale

Wunmi Adebowale was another dark-skinned queen who succeeded Stella Okoye in 1988, thus breaking a long line of light-skinned winners. She represented Lagos state during the competition.

24. Binta Sukai

Binta Sukai rose to prominence after becoming the first northerner to be crowned Miss Nigeria in 1990. She represented Kaduna state during the competition.

Her eligibility to compete was doubted due to rumours that she was Nigerian when it was revealed that the ambitious fashion designer was just one-quarter Scottish.

Sukai stayed in the country for a few years after her reign ended before travelling to Europe and enrolling at the Paris Academy of Fashion, where she studied fashion and history.

Read also

“Tinubu identified himself as a lady while seeking admission in Chicago Varsity,” Atiku’s witness tells court

25. Bibiana Ohio-Esezeoboh

Bibiana emerged as the 26th national beauty queen of the country during the 1991 Miss Nigeria pageant. Bibiana was once an actress, a Voice artist, and now a real estate agent.

26. Janet Olukemi Fateye

Janet Olukemi Fateye became the 27th queen of the notable beauty pageant in 1993. She represented Lagos state for the national show. Janet furthered her skills in Information technology and is currently an IT consultant.

27. Clara Nosakhare Ojo

In 1994, Clara Ojo competed in and won the national beauty pageant. She is still the longest-reigning queen Nigeria has ever had.

She represented Edo state during the competition. Clara presently runs a beauty and health consulting firm in Lagos and has published her book "The Incorruptible Crown". 

28. Regina Nwabunar

Regina Nwabunar took the crown from Clara Nosakhare after her long reign. She was the 28th national queen and the first Abia state representative to get the highly revered crown.

Read also

Yvonne Nelson: 5 positive lessons Nigerians can learn from The I Am Not Yvonne Nelson memoir

29. Vien Bemigho Tetsola

Vien Bemigho Tetsola, also known as the Millennium Queen, reigned in 2000 as the 29th National Beauty Queen. She represented Delta state during the competition.

Vien later moved on to become a pastor and is the General Overseer of the Holy City Empire of GOD Beulah Land Ministry. She changed her name to Israel Shepherd after finding a new purpose.

30. Valerie Ama Peterside

Valerie Ama Peterside was a former Nollywood actress who was deprived of her title after lying about her age and qualifications. Peterside battled hard to preserve the reign but was dethroned on June 14, 2001.

31. Amina Eyo Ekpo

Amina Eyo Ekpo, who was the first runner during the 2001 contest, became the new queen that same year, after Valerie Ama was dethroned. She was an Applied Chemistry student representing Akwa Ibom state during the competition.

32. Sylvia Ansa Edem

Sylvia Ansa Edem became the first South-South winner of Miss Nigeria in 2002. She represented Cross Rivers state during the contest.

Read also

Stunning beauties: Osas Ighodaro, 4 other Nollywood stars who were beauty queens and their titles

At the time, she was a student at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, and she was widely sought after by members of the opposite sex. In 2007, she married a multi-millionaire businessman, Chris Emechete, and moved to the United Kingdom shortly after.

33. Nwando Okwuosa

Nwando Okwuosa rose to prominence after winning the prestigious title of Miss Nigeria in 2003. She was the country's first Miss International Beauty Pageant representative and was the last Miss Nigeria to compete at the international level.

34. Ene Maya Lawani

Ene Maya Lawani became the 35th Miss Nigeria in 2004. The ex-beauty queen was known to be an Instagram sensation in the mid-2010s and was known for colourful fashion displays. Ene represented Benue State during the contest.

35. Oluwadamilola Agbajor

There was a long hiatus in the Miss Nigeria contest after Ene's reign until 2010, when Oluwadamilola emerged as the 36th queen, representing Delta state.

Read also

President Tinubu walks under rain in France, video, photos emerge

36. Oluwafeyijimi Modupeola Sodipo

In 2011, Sodipo, 21, was proclaimed the winner of the 2011 Miss Nigeria pageant. Feyijimi represented Ogun state in the competition and was said to be the fans' favourite throughout the campaign.

37. Ezinne Akudo Anyaoha

In 2013, Ezinne Akudo represented Imo state to win the Miss Nigeria beauty pageant. Akudo was appointed Creative Director of the Miss Nigeria Pageant five years after her reign.

The ex-beauty queen is now a lawyer and activist who uses her NGO, The Eight Foundation, to campaign against sexual violence. She is the creative head of Nkassi, a luxury home essential brand in Lagos state.

38. Pamela Lessi Peter-Vigboro

Pamela Lessi Peter-Vigboro represented Rivers state during the national competition to become the First Ogoni winner of Miss Nigeria. During her reign, the ex-beauty queen was reported to have been conferred with the chieftaincy title "Gberebia Eedee Tuaka of Bodo City in Rivers State. Pamela owns a photography brand and is currently into Alte music.

Read also

Lush Hair Takes Stylists Hang Out 2.0 to the Southwest

39.Chioma Stephanie Obiadi

Chioma Stephanie Obiadi, who was Miss Anambra at the time, beat 36 other contestants to be crowned the winner of the 40th edition of Miss Nigeria 2016.

Following her win, she represented Nigeria at the 2016 Miss Earth beauty pageant in the Philippines and beat 36 other contestants to win the prize.

Aside from the title, she also won an all-expense-paid trip to France.

40.Mildred Peace Ehiguese

Representing Adamawa State, Peace Mildred Ehiguese was crowned Miss Nigeria 2017 replacing the outgoing Chioma Obiadi Stephanie. She is a 2016 graduate of Psychology from Redeemers’ University

41.Chidinma Leilani Aaron

Chidinma Leilani Aaron is a Nigerian model, entrepreneur, chef, business development manager and motivational speaker. in 2018 she won the Miss Nigeria crown and took home N3 million, a luxury apartment and an automobile.

42.Beauty Etsanyi Tukura

In 2019, Tukura represented Taraba state at the Miss Nigeria pageant at Eko Convention Center, Lagos, and won the pageant. She manages an online business known as StylishBeauty, which retails original branded items from various designers around the world.

Read also

Davido performs at 2023 Juneteenth commemoration with the US vice president in attendance: "OBO is doing well"

Beauty made it to the popular reality TV show Big Brother Naija where she was unveiled as the second housemate to enter the Season 7 house.

However, she was eliminated from the competition two weeks later when Biggie gave her three strikes for breaking his rules and damaging properties.

43. Shatu Sani Garko

Shatu Sani Garko, born November 23, 2003, is the reigning queen. She represented Kano state during the competition and brought a notable change to the pageantry as the first hijab Muslim to win Miss Nigeria in the pageant's 64-year history.

As a model, Garko was advised to ditch her hijab to succeed in the industry, which she refused.

Source: Legit.ng

Chinasa Afigbo avatar

Chinasa Afigbo (Editor) Chinasa Afigbo is a pop culture/music journalist and content writer with over four years of experience in other mainstream media organisations, including Vanguard Media and Guardian Life. She holds a degree in Information Management Technology from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO). She also moved on to pursue courses in writing & media communications. Chinasa has also been published in other Intl journals, like The African Report. Reach her at: chinasa.afigbo@corp.legit.ng.