In 1957, Atinuke Oyelude became the first Miss Nigeria.
According to report, She was crowned queen at the Lagos Island Club in a contest that involved 200 young ladies from different parts of Nigeria.
Emerging the winner, she was given £200, a wardrobe filled with four beautiful cotton dresses and a trip to London.
Ofcourse she came out winning but the story will not end well, if you don’t get to know the wonder that surrounded her winning and how she continued with life after emerging winner.
Going through an interview conducted by premium times years ago with the first ever Miss Nigeria, Atinuke Oyelode, the part that seem so intriguing was how she won the contest and what she did after she won the contest.
In Atinuke Oyelode’s time, according to her, pageants were really beauty pageants and considered very prestigious. There were so many virtues a queen could emulate and a lot of lessons to learn from.
Contestants in her time stood normally in photographs and not the regular posing that is the order of the day now.
She did not actually contest, as it is known today, this she said in the interview.
All a prospective queen needed to do at the time was to send her picture to Daily Times in Lagos and her picture was sent.
She lived in Kano at the time (she was a staff of UAC) but her brother who was a broadcaster saw the advertisements for the pageant in the papers and entered her for the competition. She travelled to Kaduna State at the time.When she returned, her brother told her he had something to show her but she would have to give him six pence. Ofcourse she gave him six pence, which was a lot of money then.
Afterwards, He brought out a copy of Daily Times and she saw her photograph there.
She exclaimed, “God, how come? A poor girl living in Kano?’
At that time, she was working at UAC.
One day, her manager came to her house very early in the morning even before she got ready to go to work. He said he received a letter, which stated that she should be in Lagos and that she would be flying down to Lagos. He then brought out a copy of the letter.
she had go to Lagos to be interviewed and it was the first time she ever flew in a plane. when she arrived, she was driven straight to the Daily Times office.
According to her, There was no form of luxury whatsoever. She was not even accommodated. She had to stay with her brother who is now late.
On the day of the event, she dressed up in native attire and tied her wrapper neatly.
She was the only one dressed inIro and Buba that night.
There were 200 of them contesting and she was the only one who resided in Kano.
Atinuke was asked simple questions about her background.
The competition was held on a Saturday in 1957 and they all converged at the Lagos Island club.
They were offered drinks and asked to go to a wall and catwalk in front of the judges; there were three of them.
However, after a short while, she was announced as the queen but she didn’t even hear her name being called.
Oyelode was never aware of the criteria.
After she won the pageant, she was given 200 pounds and that was a lot of money back in the day.
She also won a wardrobe filled with four beautiful cotton dresses and a trip to London. At that time, she was earning 3 pounds a month at work.
She also won a return ticket to London for two weeks.
Shortly after winning the pageant she completed her nursing training and became a state registered nurse in 1961. Not yet satisfied with her achievements, she enrolled immediately at the school of midwifery, St. Thomas Hospital, London, where she qualified as a state registered midwife SCM in 1962. She also attended the Royal College of Nursing, England in 1971 and obtained a Diploma in Nursing and Hospital Administration and in 1976; she obtained another diploma from Ghana Institute of Management and Personnel Administration.
While Atinuke was in the UK, she practiced in a number of hospitals between 1962 and 1963, notably Paddington General Hospital.
On her return to Nigeria in 1964, she became a nursing sister at the General Hospital, Kaduna, between 1964 and 1965, then senior nursing sister-in-charge of the former Kaduna Nursing Home now Barau Dike specialists Hospital, Kaduna) from 1965 to 1977.
When the civil war began in 1967, she was sent to Makurdi General Hospital where she headed a medical team from the then northern region, which prepared the hospital for receiving war casualties and treating them.
By 1970, she joined the Institute of Health, Ahmadu Bello University, as a senior matron and she became director, nursing services of the ABU teaching Hospital. She held the position until she voluntarily retired in 1985.
Atinuke Oyelode focused on nursing till she was satisfied.