History was made on Friday night when Shatu Garko became the first-ever hijab-wearing model to win the Miss Nigeria pageant.
Ms. Garko, who hails from Kano State, was also the youngest contestant this year.
The 18-year-old horse rider beat 18 other contestants to emerge as the 44th Miss Nigeria.
The event was held on Friday night at the Landmark Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Miss Nigeria 2021 represented the North-west zone at the competition.
Nicole Ikot was the first runner-up, while Kasarachi Okoro emerged as the second runner-up at the contest.
The outgoing queen, Etsanyi Tukura, who hailed from Taraba State, handed her successor the crown at the colourful ceremony.
The new queen Nigeria won N10m, a 1-year residency at a luxury apartment, a brand new car, and other mouth-watering brand ambassadorship opportunities.
According to the organisers, the pageant showcases the positive attributes of Nigerian women every year.
This year’s edition is the 44th.
“Thousands of applications (were)received. The number was pruned down to the top 37 and an additional 3 wildcard semi-finalists.
“The general public then got a chance to contribute to the process of choosing the 21 finalists who made it into the Miss Nigeria Bootcamp, which has now been further cut down to the top 18 finalists who will be going into the finale,” said Chioma Nwigwe, Manager of the Miss Nigeria organisation.
During her speech, the new queen said she is passionate about proving that religion and culture are not barriers to following one’s dreams and achieving whatever a person sets out to achieve.
She also promised to uphold the ideals of the Miss Nigeria pageant.
Ms. Garko also recently celebrated becoming the first hijab model to land a modelling job in Nigeria.
The organisers 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, Fidelis Anosike, the organiser of Miss Nigeria 2021, 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, former Miss Nigeria (2013), Ezinne Akudo, also revealed that this year’s selection was quite demanding, due to the sheer volume of entries.