Ganiyat Alli is a woman on a mission to unite the Nigerian Diaspora in the UK. The 27 year old entrepreneur has the ambition and drive to make a difference in the Nigerian Diaspora community through the Mr & Miss Nigeria UK pageant. After years of experience within the African events scene she decided to launch the first joint male and female cultural pageant specifically for the Nigerian community as a way to unite the diaspora. In early 2013, after almost losing her mother to a sudden head injury, Ganiyat became disillusioned by the entertainment and events industry and fell into depression. The only way she could get out of what she calls “the dark place” was to put all her focus and attention into a new project. Whilst attending a beauty pageant in London towards the end of 2013 she was asked why there was not a Miss Nigeria UK pageant. Ganiyat had an “A Ha moment” and began researching the beauty pageant events sector in the UK and discovered that there had not been one for the Nigerian diaspora community since 2009. With her interest now piqued she decided to add the male element to the show and Mr & Miss Nigeria was born.
“Being born in London was not my choice and whilst I love being British I did not want to forget my Nigerian heritage. I love the rich culture of Nigeria and I also wanted to learn more about where I came from. I love making people happy and giving young people a platform to better themselves, particularly young black men and women who rarely see themselves in the mainstream media.” Ganiyat Alli, Founder.
Founded in 2013, Mr & Miss Nigeria UK was created to bring together young men and women of Nigerian descent, both living in the UK and in Nigeria, to embody the meaning of what it is to be Nigerian. It is more than just another beauty pageant it is a celebration of culture and the impact of the Nigerian diaspora in the UK. Unity & faith, Peace & Progress are the words which make up Nigeria’s coat of arms and are part of the ethos of Mr & Miss Nigeria. Run by a team of budding young graduates and students, this pageant aims to add an element of youth and fun to the event.
“We want everyone involved to feel like they have achieved something great and encourage young people to work hard and succeed in their hopes and dreams.” – Ganiya Alli.
The pageant which takes place in September 2016 encourages contestants to embrace their heritage and learn what it means to truly represent their country of origin. By encouraging the contestants to work together and build each other’s character the pageant promotes unity and positivity, a powerful force in the diaspora community.