Grace Tinuke Onyelude, Miss Nigeria in 1957

As preparations for the Miss Nigeria Beauty Pageant enter the home stretch, tables for the event are being snapped up like hot cakes. There are only 40 of them available at N1million each. Each table accommodates 10 people.

Individuals can also place orders for their invitation cards which cost N25, 000 a card.

Meanwhile, the organisers have unveiled the name of the Special Guest of Honour for the event taking place next Saturday in Lagos.

The nation?s 1st Miss Nigeria Queen, Mrs. Grace Tinuke Onyelude, who was crowned Miss Nigeria in 1957, has been given the honour at the event holding at the Main Banquet Hall of the Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos at 7pm.

Now a spritely 82, Chief Onyelude took time to reflect with the Daily Times on how she was a reluctant contestant some 56 years ago only entering because her younger brother submitted her photograph to the organisers.

?It was my younger brother that saw the advert and entered for me before I even knew of it. All I wanted at that time was to become a trained nurse; to be able to take care of people.

?When he came to me he said, ?I have something for you but you have to give me something ? six pence? then he showed me a copy of the Daily Times newspaper with my picture in it. He had already sent my picture to them earlier.
Then I was asked to fly to Lagos. I hadn?t flown in an airplane before. That was my first time.?

The former nursing beauty, who was just 26 at the time, vividly remembers how the event that was to change her life took place.

?There was no cat walking and all the other things they do now.  We were asked to walk round the Island Club (in Lagos) once or twice while Bobby Benson played. After that we were asked to go and sit down.?

The former Director, Nursing Services of the ABU Teaching Hospital, Zaria then explains how the news of her victory was broken to her.

?It was after midnight and I was falling asleep – I was a bush girl my dear. I was falling asleep then someone tapped me on my shoulder. It was Lady Alakija and Mr Adewale they said I should stand up. I stood up and they took me to the centre of the stage and announced me as the winner. That was how I became Miss Nigeria!? she said in an exclusive interview with Daily Times.
However, for this year?s event, which is already generating tremendous interest both within and outside Nigeria, organisers are unlikely to announce the winner in such a manner.

Meanwhile, individuals, groups and organisations interested in booking tables or buying tickets for the 38th edition of the Miss Nigeria Beauty Pageant, can contact Julie on 08037870683.

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