Grace Atinuke Oyelude is the first person to ever win Miss Nigeria in 1957, three years before Nigerian gained independence from the British colonial masters. She defeated over 200 Nigerian girls who participated in the pageant to become the first-ever Miss Nigeria.
Grace Oyelude is from Oluponna a town in Osun State, She was born in Kano to James Adeleye Olude and Marthan Dantu and had her primary and secondary education between 1940 and 1952 in Kano.
After which, she proceeded to the school of nursing Ashford Kent, England and became a registered nurse in 1961. In 1962, she became a state-certified midwife SCM. After she enrolled at the school of midwifery, St. Thomas Hospital, London.
She also earned a Diploma in Nursing and Hospital Administration from the Royal College of Nursing in England in 1971, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Hospital Administration in 1976. She also holds a diploma from the Ghana Institute of Management and Personnel Administration.
Miss Nigeria commenced in 1957 as a photo contest. Contestants posted photographs of themselves to the Daily Times headquarters in Lagos where finalists were shortlisted. Successful finalists were afterwards invited to compete in the live final at the Lagos Island Club.
She disclosed in some past interviews that she became Miss Nigeria by accident as she did not initially plan on it.
Her brother, a broadcaster, noticed the pageant adverts in the newspaper and enrolled her without her consent in Lagos, despite the fact that she was still living in Kano working at United African Company.
Grace was, however, shortlisted to represent the then northern region. She won and was crowned the first-ever Miss Nigeria, a position that accompanied a reward of 200 pounds, a bicycle and a two-week return ticket to London.
After winning the contest, Grace Oyelude travelled to England to study Nursing at the School of Nursing in Ashford Kent.
She practised Nursing in the UK between 1962 and 1963, and one of the popular hospitals she worked at was Paddington General Hospital.
After returning to Nigeria, she took up an offer in Kaduna General Hospital between 1964 and 1965. Grace Oyelude was the senior nursing sister-in-charge of the former Kaduna Nursing home now known as Barau Dike specialist hospital, Kaduna.
Back in the 1970s when Nigeria was at civil war, Grace Oyelude was sent to Makurdi General Hospital, where she was in charge of a medical team from the then northern region.
Grace Oyelude was made senior matron and director of nursing services at Ahmadu Bello University’s teaching hospital in the 1970s and willingly retired from the post in 1985.
Oyelude holds the chieftaincy titles Iyaolu of Isaluland and Iyalode of Okunland, and has many grandchildren. In 2015, the Miss Nigeria Organisation presented her with a Peugeot car.
Today marks Chief Oyelude 92nd years on earth.