President of the Miss Earth beauty pageant, Ibinabo Fiberesima, has gone a long way in putting her life back on track after her conviction in 2009 of manslaughter following her drunk driving accident of February 2, 2005, which killed Dr Suraj Giwa.
She was driving a Lexus jeep belonging to Daniel Wilson along the Epe-Ajah Expressway when the accident occurred.
Justice Deborah Oluwayemi of a Lagos High Court sentenced her to five years in prison describing a N100,000 fine imposed on her by a magistrate court as judicial recklessness.
The beautiful actress and former Miss Wonderland has however been living a low profile life since she was released from prison. She has since declared that she is now born again and gone are her wild days of drinking, smoking and partying.
The University of Ibadan English graduate who stunned the audience at a Miss Nigeria beauty pageant final years ago when she said she did not know the name of the institution’s vice chancellor, who was then Prof Ayo Banjo from her department, says she is now born again and is on the straight and narrow path.
According to the single mother of three, she also went off acting because she was no longer sure of what was right any longer.
“I stopped acting because I didn’t know what was right or wrong anymore. Feeling that the (Giwa) family lost a loved one, I figured that if they kept seeing me on screen, it could raise emotions. So I thought the best thing was to stay off the screen for a while for my peace of mind,” she said.
She however revealed that she is back to pick off from where she stopped. “I am back into acting and as we speak I’m on many sets,’ she divulged.
Not only has she returned to acting, Ms Fiberesima will any moment from now, roll out plans, in her bid to vie for the top most position of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN).
Fiberesima, who is a close aide to River State Governor Rotimi Amaechi said her immediate plan is to win at the polls and begin subsequently to implement her dreams of moving AGN to the next level.
A no stranger to the intrigues and politics of the guild’s election, she enjoys the support of her state government and has been a very key factor in the politics of the River State chapter of AGN. One wonders what spurred the bevy of beauty into wanting to lead her colleagues. “It’s about time someone repositions AGN”, she said.
Reminiscing on her experience in prison, the artiste revealed, “The inmates showed me lots of love, care and sympathy. They also gave me hope and the confidence to live. I was also treated as family in that peaceful environment. Surprisingly, and in spite of my incarceration, I’m still celebrated and recognised as a celebrity in the country”.
Aside her prison experience, one aspect of her life that seems puzzling to many is why she chose to be a single parent. “Well, that isn’t anybody’s choice; it happens. I still thank God for everything,” was her terse answer.
If she had not gone into showbiz, Ibinabo said she would have been a full-time housewife adding, for now, it is no longer possible. “I don’t want to be anybody’s housewife again. That time has passed. Now, I own a career. But that doesn’t make me less a mother.”
Ibinabo Fiberesima had a taste of her life-long interest, shortly after gaining admission into the university, as she contested and won Elopee Entertainment organised Miss Wonderland beauty pageant in 1990. This became a turning point in her life as she thereafter got involved in acting, modelling, singing, contracts and beauty pageants. She emerged first runner up Miss Nigeria (1990) and second runner-up of the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria pageant (1991), Ibinabo then realised she had a destiny in showbiz more than any other business.
Knowing that only pageant winners proceed to other international contests (a situation she dislikes since she believes other contestants ought to be given similar opportunities), Ibinabo registered her own Miss African Beauty Pageant and got the franchise for Miss Earth, Miss Intercontinental and Miss Tourism International.
Currently the chief executive officer of Miss Africa Beauty Pageant the extroverted artiste believes she is a Jack of all trade and master of all.
Born to an Okrika father and an Irish mother, Ibinabo lived with her grandmother for the greater part of her childhood and adolescent years. The second child in a family of six, she studied English Language and Literature at the University of Ibadan from where she graduated in 1994.