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    Friday, July 5, 2013

    Ex-beauty Queen Goes Down Memory Lane

    Grace Onyelude
    The winner of the maiden Miss Nigeria beauty pageant, Mrs. Grace Onyelude, has been named the special guest of honour at this year’s event, which takes place on Saturday, July 6 (tomorrow) in the Main Banquet Hall of the Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.

    Onyelude, now 82-year-old, is the former Director, Nursing Services of the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria. She was crowned Miss Nigeria in 1957 at the age of 26.  About 56 years later, she recalls with nostalgia the dramatic twist that would transform her from a modest and reluctant contestant to a celebrity.

    It all began when her younger brother submitted her photograph to the organisers without her knowledge.

    “My younger brother saw the advert and entered for me before I knew of it. All I wanted was to become a trained nurse. When he came to me, he said, ‘I have something for you, but you have to give me six pence’. Then he showed me a copy of the Daily Times newspaper with my picture in it. He had 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.

    “At the time, the contest was different from what it is now. 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,” she says.

    For the ex-beauty queen, her presence at tomorrow’s event will serve as a boost to the organisers of the pageant.

    Meanwhile, preparations are in top gear and the show is expected to be attended by celebrities and captains of industry.
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