Twenty-four-year-old Chinedu Ubachukwu has emerged winner of the 11th season of Gulder Ultimate Search (GUS), which ended last night.
Ubachukwu and 13 others were in the Aguleri jungle in Anambra State for 26 days, for the adventure reality show which aired on digital and terrestrial television channels.
A graduate of Petroleum and Gas Engineering from the University of Port Harcourt, Ubachukwu, who hails from Anambra State, edged out co-finalists, Emmanuel Afolabi and Nne Cosy Joe, to discover the mythical General?s Helmet, a symbol of this year?s search aptly tagged The Mission.
As promised by Nigerian Breweries Plc., organisers of the show, Ubachukwu, by his feat, automatically qualified for the grand prize of N10 million and a brand new Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV).
No doubt, it was a grueling 26 days for all the contestants, who will each get a prize according to how they were evicted from the show.
Perhaps the winner?s familiarity with the topography of Anambra North local government area was an added advantage for his victory. It is not clear what part of the state he hails from, but Ubachukwu had said, in a previous interview, that his place is not far from Aguleri, giving the reason he should win the contest.
?My expectation is very high. I?m from Anambra and my village is actually a few distance away from Aguleri. So, I just have to win this one or else I don?t know if I will be able to go home for Christmas, if I don?t win it,? he had said.
When asked what his strategy would be, Ubachukwu, who appeared the ?weakest? of all 14 contestants, said he had no specific strategy: ?No strategy yet until I get to the jungle. But having spent a little time with my fellow contestants, I can say I stand a good chance. I will just give my best in my tasks.?
Perhaps the ?good chance? being referred to by the young man had little to do with physical capabilities, because when the contestants commenced their journey from Boat Landing, where they had camped the previous night, Ubachukwu, it will be recalled, stated that he was not 100 percent fit. He added that if the final search for the helmet became a purely physical task, it might be to his disadvantage.
At some point in the show, Ubachukwu was the last to climb over a very high wall, and the remaining contestants, feeling pity for him, insisted that he should be the first to cross another rope ladder, which was suspended between two trees because he appeared weak.
But in the last lap of the ?search?, Ubachukwu seemed to have regained more strength. As shown on television last night, he and the other two raced towards three canoes and paddled away in different directions. Emmanuel and Cosy Joe appeared to paddle their canoes aimlessly, while Ubachukwu paddled towards a particular direction. It turned out that he rowed his canoe towards a clay pot that was emitting fire.
At that point, Cosy Joe appeared frustrated and angrily hit the water with his bare hands. He had no paddle. As Cosy paddled his boat to shore and alighted on land, Emmanuel attempted to row his canoe in Ubachukwu?s direction, but the latter was already far ahead. Ubachukwu raced on land and retrieved the great General?s Helmet, which was surrounded by three fire pots.
Consequently, he has joined the Order of Heroes as the 11th winner of GUS, Nigeria?s longest running reality TV show.
Ubachukwu, the third child and second boy in a family of five children, revealed that he had attempted to be on the show previously to no avail. ?This year is my second time; I tried last year, but could not make it. I?m so happy and feel so fortunate to have made the last 14 this year.?
He said he was motivated to apply for the show because ?GUS is the first realities show I grew up watching and I have always admired the participants and always imagined myself in the jungle. So, it was natural for me to give it a try now that I?ve come of age.
Upon Ubachukwu?s discovery of the General?s helmet, Chidi Mokeme, the anchor of the show, congratulated him, saying: ?After 26 murderous days in the Aguleri jungle, after days and nights of pain and sorrow, thinking about the unknown, nursing your wounds with sweats and blood, it is you Chinedu who made it here. It is you who has carved your name in history. It is you who has earned the bragging rights; it is you who has made it into the elite league of extraordinary warriors. By the powers conferred on me by the Council of Elders, I now pronounce you Last Man Standing.?
Two other contestants will also receive brand new vehicles. They are Samantha Appi, who will get a brand new Ford Eco sport for emerging the last woman standing and a Ford Focus car for whoever becomes winner of the viewers? choice.
The contestants who were evicted earlier in the show are Otto Canon, Ikenna Emedike, Addoh Evi, Iroh Noella, Blessing Eriata, Loretta Erijakpor, Sandra Nwagbagiro, Samantha Appi, Sharon Robinson, Joshua Nwagboso and Iwuoha Ikenna.
The prize presentation ceremony will be presided over by Governor Willie Obiano at the Women Development Centre, Awka, on Saturday.