Tonight, the winner of Gulder Ultimate Search (GUS) 9: The Gatekeepers’ Fortune, will emerge. The job of the three gatekeepers – Dominic Mudabai, Michael Nwachukwu and Christopher Okagbue – has been concluded. Of the 12 contestants that started the race, four are left. They are: Nuhu Zigwayi, Paschal Eronmose, Adah James and Onyinye Udodi. In this report, WALE ALABI chronicles the journey to their finale.
Who emerges the ultimate champion? This will be known tonight, hopefully by 10 o’clock. But the crown for Ultimate Woman has been picked by Onyinye Udodi. Before then, it was a straight contest between Uzor and Onyinye, who were the only remaining female contenders in the competition. The last female contestant standing has a lot of goodies waiting for her. She is entitled to a million naira cash prize, irrespective of her prize winnings, even if she emerges winner of the competition. There is also the pride of the bragging rights to the Ultimate Woman moniker.
Other female contestants that have been evicted from the competition are: Kofya Brown, Ayo Ojueromi, Bornford Patience and Priscillia Ezeh. Keen watchers of the show would have predicted that Bornford Patience, despite her small frame, was the favourite for the GUS last female standing prize. She possessed strength and mental alertness. She, however, ran out of steam when it mattered most, thus leading to her eviction.
However, Uzor crashed out of GUS 9 because of disobedience; thereby giving Onyinye an easy claim to the throne. Uzor was sent packing for relieving herself from the burden of the Stump of Shame: she removed it from her leg twice. It is forbidden for contestants to remove the Stump of Shame unless directed to do so by Chidi Mokeme, the Anchor man; and this must be at the task location.
The Stump of Shame, as the name connotes, is a heavy stump of wood, which those who perform woefully in tasks are expected to wear around their right leg. It was, however, a running battle between the two over who would emerge as last female contestant standing.
Uzor and Onyinye are not new to being in the limelight. Uzor is a 27 year old actress who stars in Tinsel, About to wed and a long list of TV soaps. On the other hand, 23 year old Onyinye who hails from Anambra State is a model and a one-time Face of Anambra State. Her sister, Chimaobi Udodi was a contestant in GUS 8: The Contest of Champions.
Onyinye placed fourth in the first gatekeepers’ task while Uzor was sixth, in the same challenge. In the following day challenge, which was group based, Onyinye was part of the losing group while Uzor was part of the winning team. In the climb and dunk competition, in which contestants were expected to climb up a tree and dunk oranges in a basket, Onyinye outshone Uzor. While Onyinye put in eight oranges out of 10, Uzor could only dunk five oranges.
Uzor’s weakness was clearly manifested in the Raise Your Flag challenge; when she was paired alongside Nuhu Zigwayi. The game involved the contestants going through an obstacle course, fetching braces in the process then fixing it on the skeletal frame of a ladder which they then climb on to raise a flag. Nuhu kept on dragging Uzor and at a point in time, she was shown falling. Onyinye and her partner, Paschal Eronmose won the challenge.
Onyinye was also part of the winning team in the Ladder of pain task. She inspired Paschal to victory in a game which tested the strength and endurance of contenders. Uzor on the other hand was part of the losing team. Her partner, Nuhu, was the first to give up in the game. Even though Gatekeeper Chris Okagbue was present, Nuhu and Uzor narrowly missed eviction. Meanwhile, Onyinye and Paschal were handed a calabash by the Council of Elders for their victory. According to the elders, the content of the calabash will aid the two contenders in their search.
Uzor soon showed that what she lacked in brawn, she more than made up for by using her brains. She had the honour of emerging as the first female Head Warrior after winning the Archer’s Quest. Not only did she hit bull’s eye on her first attempt, she also solved her riddle in record time. Though Onyinye solved the same puzzle, she finished fourth.
Uzor upstaged Onyinye in the Episode 12 challenge. Onyinye emerged last. She, however, bounced back in Episode 13 when she emerged second in the Memory Recall challenge. This was despite a 10 second delay she had to suffer due to her poor performance a day earlier. Uzor finished fifth.
In the Gauntlet challenge, Uzor was part of the winning team while Onyinye was part of the losing team. Onyinye performed better than Uzor once again in the Puzzle of Doom. Onyinye emerged fourth while Uzor placed sixth. In the Pot of Life challenge, where contenders were required to smash the pots of other contenders, thus marking their end in the games; Uzo placed sixth while Onyinye emerged second.
By Episode 19, the warriors had been down to seven. The Giant Crossworld puzzle required that three players should form two teams while the rejected contestant would serve both teams as a transporter. While Onyinye was picked in one of the teams, Uzor was not picked by any. She had to play the role of transporter. Onyinye’s team eventually won.
In the challenge of the 20th episode, Onyinye finished second, while Uzor finished third. For the challenge of the 21st episode, they were grouped into two teams comprising three members each. Onyinye’s team also won the competition.
However, in games in which both female contenders were grouped in the same team, their side lost. The games were the Tug of War, Mudgby and Human Raft.
Speaking after her eviction, Uzor said: “My experience in the jungle was tough. I have to say it was really, really, really tough. Yes, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but nobody said it was going to be this difficult. I probably gave up a thousand times everyday. I was like, I think I’ve tried. I can’t kill myself. I think I’ve pushed myself beyond limits. Judging myself, I would say I did 120 per cent. I tried. I could not do any of those things before. I’m sure nobody would expect that I would come this far on the quest. Because most of the times, I didn’t seem like the strong contender, who you know, could beat them to it. I’m sure some people would say yes, she got lucky. It’s more than luck, I have grace, so amazing on my life.”
She added: “Everything is for real o, nothing is staged on Gulder Ultimate Search. It’s been amazing. I’m grateful to God, my family, Gulder, Nigerian Breweries and everybody who has been involved in this in one way or another.”
Speaking on her emergence as last female contestant standing, Onyinye said: “ It feels wonderful being the only girl in the gang. It makes me feel like I’ve finally made it through, that I’m not like the other girls, or a weakling or something. It means a lot to me.”
The grand finale will be shown tonight on Africa Independent Television, African Magic World (DSTV), Real Star (Star Times), Akwa Ibom Broadcasting Corporation (AKBC) and ITV, Benin at 10pm.
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