Meet the first ever Miss Nigeria, Grace Oyelude, who still rocks at 86 by Ukpono Etuk

Grandmother, Grace Atinuke, born November 16, 1931, is known to be the first ever Miss Nigeria, having won the pageant — also the maiden edition — in 1957.
Though she hails from Kogi State, Grandma Oyelude was born in Kano to James Adeleye Olude and Marthan Dantu, who both hail from Isanlu, present day Kogi State.
The story of how she became the first Miss Nigeria is as riveting as her enigmatic personality, even in her advanced old age.


Miss Nigeria started in 1957 as a photo contest, whereby contestants posted photographs of themselves to The Daily Times headquarters in Lagos. Finalists were shortlisted, and successful finalists were invited to compete in the live final at the Lagos Island Club.
Then, the Miss Nigeria contest did not include a swimsuit competition.
Then, Oyelude was working at UAC when she represented the then Northern region. After winning the contest, she travelled to England where she studied Nursing. Within months of gaining admission to the School of Nursing in Ashford, she was crowned Miss Nigeria.
“The following day, they got me on a plane to Lagos and that was it.”
Oyelude currently holds the chieftaincy titles Iyaolu of Isaluland and Iyalode of Okunland. She has many grandchildren.
More recently, precisely on July 16, 2018, her ebullient nephew and a Professor of English Language at Carleton University in the United States, Pius Adesanmi, posted a photograph of the gracefully ageing Grandma Oyelude.
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