Eighteen-year-old Miss Shatu Garko from Kano State has been crowned the 44th Miss Nigeria after besting 18 other contestants at the beauty pageant on Friday night.
Garko is the first Hijab-wearing pageant winner in Nigeria.
Garko loves riding horses and is passionate about proving religion and culture are not barriers to following one’s dreams and achieving whatever a person sets out to achieve.
The pageant which was held on Friday took place at Landmark Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos amid glamour and glitz.
The new Miss Nigeria succeeded Etsanyi Tukura, a native of Taraba State, 43rd winner of the 2019 Miss Nigeria contest.
Nicole Ikot emerged as the first runner up and Kasarachi Okoro was the second runner up in the contest.
“Winning this competition means a lot to me
“My whole life I have always wanted to be a Miss Nigeria. I’d like to thank Miss Nigeria and its sponsors. I would also like to thank my mum for supporting and loving me,” Garko said.
She was awarded the cash prize of N10 million, a luxury apartment, a car and ambassadorship.
Speaking in an interview, the manager, Miss Nigeria Organisation, Ms Chioma Nwigwe, said it was very challenging for the event to be organised especially in a pandemic.
“This has always been about empowerment. Miss Nigeria platform is beyond the beauty pageant.
“We are very committed to empowering women, girls and providing opportunities for women to grow”
“Miss Nigeria is a full-time job. It’s a 9-5 job. That is what a lot of people don’t know. It’s beyond the fun, the glamour and Miss Nigeria is always looking for someone who is committed to doing that,” Nwigwe said.
The organiser of Miss Nigeria had unveiled the 18 finalists to battle for the crown in the grand finale on December 7 at the KIA Showroom, Victoria Island.
But the eviction process began with over 1,000 ladies and was reduced to 120 who were later invited for a physical audition in Lagos then reduced to 37 including three wild cards. Contestants were further cut down to 21 and later down to 18.
Speaking at the event, the founder of Folio Media Group, organiser of Miss Nigeria 2021, Mr. Fidelis Anosike, said the vision was to create national empowerment and a role model that would serve as an inspiration for the girl child.
Miss Nigeria’s creative director and former Miss Nigeria (2013), Ezinne Akudo also revealed that this year’s selection was quite demanding due to the sheer volume of entries.