By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa – Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has appointed 18 year old Miss Anna Ebiere Banner winner of the 2013 Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria MBGN pageant as his Special Assistant on Culture and Tourism.
The Nigeria Beauty Queen who is also Miss Bayelsa is billed to represent Nigeria at the Miss World pageant later this year in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The event which was held at the Banquet Hall of the Bayelsa Government House in Yenagoa was keenly contested by 32 contestants drawn from across the country.
Ebiere Banner defeated her closest rival, 19 year old Miss Imo State, Stephanie Okwu to emerge the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria MBGN.
Okwu Stephanie emerged as first runner up. Others include second runner up, (Miss Adamawa) Powede Lawrence was second runner up while Miss Kaduna, Enoma Agboniko clinched third runner up.
Miss Abuja, Imelissa Devidal who could have given the Bayelsa beauty a serious challenge for the coveted prize emerged as fourth runner up due to her poor showing in the question and session.
An elated Dickson who redeemed his earlier promise of proclaiming the winner as honorary citizen of the state said, “I had intended to proclaim or announce the winner as honorary citizen of this state and since you are a (Anna Ebiere Banner) natural citizen, an indigene of this great state I would announce the second bit of it, which is that henceforth as long as you are the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria 2013, you will also in addition to your other responsibilities be my Special Assistant on culture and tourism.”
In the same vein the governor chose the Beauty Queen as the state’s ambassador on culture and tourism.
The governor reiterated his desire to make the state the tourism hub of Nigeria and Africa.
“Playing host to these two historic events, the prestigious Africa Movie Academy Award AMAA and MBGN awards within a space of just four months gives credence to the the fact that Bayelsa State is fast growing to become the next tourism hub of the country and Africa,” he said.
According to him, it was a testament to the existence of peace and security in the state adding that his “restoration government is geared towards the promotion of gender equality as enunciated in the national gender policy of the country.”
The governor said, his administration will ensure that lives and property of investors are secured, noting that investment on security would drive the state economy to greater height.
Describing the contestants as worthy ambassadors of Nigeria, Dickson said the 32 contestants had been in the state for the past two weeks and had visited historic sites in Brass, the first oil well drilled in 1956 at OLOIBIRI and other tourists sites.
In his remarks, the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke said Bayelsa State has been chosen to host the 2013 Festival of Arts and Culture of Arts in September.
He said the event which would attract over seven thousand visitors to the state is expected to boost the economy of the state.
The minister also disclosed that UNESCO has approved the state as Africa Centre of Excellence for Underwater Imaging.
Duke who described tourism as one top money spinning venture worldwide lauded Governor Dickson for championing the course of the tourism sector and showcasing Nigeria’s beauty.