As Gulder Lager Beer pruned several thousands of GUS 11 hopefuls for the character traits needed for survival in this year’s contest, Mrs Loretta Erhijakpor’s story of courage, determination and resilience stood out. The mother of three gave younger contestants that thronged the Ogbe Stadium, Benin City, for the Gulder Ultimate Search 11 regional auditions a run for their money.
Although she tripped over an obstacle at the beginning of the rigorous exercises, she dug deep to scale through to the end of the task. Mrs. Erhijakpor also replicated this feat during the swimming regimen. She decided to enter the contest because it was her last chance. By 2015, she would be 31, a year older than the GUS age limit of 30 years.
Loretta had not been able to register before now because of marriage and having to take care of her sick mother. She added that her husband has opted to play the role of house husband and take care of their three children, in the event that she emerges as one of the contestants to go into the jungle. According to her, Mr. Erhijakpor, her husband, urged her to bring home the ultimate prize, or at least emerge the Last Female Contestant Standing. She has no qualms leaving her children aged seven, three and one respectively in search of the treasure in the jungle. She said she possesses what it takes to survive in the jungle
Jane Francis, another GUS 11 hopeful had her hopes of participating in the reality TV show dashed as she could not correctly spell the word ‘parachute’ at the interview session. Jane wept uncontrollably as she relayed the story of how she was robbed the previous night along Onitsha Road. The Owerri resident travelled to Awka for her regional selection exercise and was on her way back home to get a befitting dress for the interview when she said she was stripped of all her belongings by the robbers. Jane will live to contest again.
Another applicant was disqualified for inconsistency in age. Interestingly, another one who auditioned in Port Harcourt but failed at the interview stage, cut his bushy hair and again entered for the audition in Benin, hoping his new look would deceive his interviewers. When confronted, initially denied that he was at the Port Harcourt regional selection, until he was shown ‘evidence’ of his participation. He quickly apologised and was evicted for dishonesty.
The Gulder Ultimate regional auditions were held in Awka and Port Harcourt this year for the first time in the annals of the show. The organisers also held selection exercises in Benin and Lagos where contestants went through rigorous exercise regime to select candidates with the right physical and mental capacities to compete for the Ultimate Prize.