Shatu Garko, the 44th Miss Nigeria, has stated that critics discouraged her from participation in the contest, claiming that she would harm the brand and introduce Boko Haram into it.
The 18-year-old hijabi who become the first Muslim to win the Miss Nigeria pageant since its inception in 1957 revealed this during an interview with The PUNCH.
According to her, naysayers told her to face her schooling instead of going for the contest.
When asked if she received any backlash for her decision to contest, she said;
“Yes, and not only from Northerners; from other people too. Some said, ’go to school’ and some said I was going to spoil the Miss Nigeria brand. Others even instigated that I was bringing in Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen. I simply ignored them.”
Speaking on her motivation, Garko said;
“I wanted to take a chance on myself. When I applied, I honestly did not think for a second that I could win.
“But a small voice kept ringing in my head, ‘what if you get selected’? I realized that just by getting selected, I could inspire so many young girls even if I didn’t win.”
Garko, who hails from Kano State, was crowned the 44th Miss Nigeria after beating 17 other finalists at an event on Friday, December 17, 2022, in Lagos.
She was also the youngest contestant this year, winning N10m, a one-year residency at a luxury apartment, a brand new car, and brand ambassadorship opportunities.