From South-East, tributes, criticism trail death of Queen Elizabeth II
Some prominent Nigerians from different walks of life in the South-East have paid glowing tribute to the late British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, who died on Thursday at the age of 96.
Many hailed her for being the longest-serving monarch, having been on the throne for 70 years.
They said that the nonagenarian lived a happy and non-controversial life.
A few others, however, were critical of her actions during her reign, saying that she made no positive impact on the region.
They were particular about the role of Britain during the country’s 30-month civil war under her reign.
In Enugu, the President, Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network, Mr Olu Omotayo, described her as a quintessential leader that championed the cause of peace, justice and fairness amongst the Commonwealth nations.
Omotayo said: “Queen’s interest in global issues made her so special and from available record, her reign went beyond presiding over the affairs of the Commonwealth of nations.
“She moved the organisation from a 12-nation body to about 50 countries.
Also, the President, Potters Wheel Foundation, Godson Onuzulike, said that it was gratifying that the queen lived long.
Onuzulike said that at 96, she still looked very strong and good-looking.
“One thing I liked about her was her dressing and general comportment in public places,” he said.
He further said that during her reign, she turned out to become a role model to many women due to her respectable dress sense.
“She looked so strong and admirable in her last outing that I was not expecting her death now,” Onuzulike said.
A teacher, Blessing Okoro, said the legacies the monarch left behind could not be easily erased.
According to her, the queen never interfered in the choice of her children’s wives, in spite of her exalted position.
Okoro admonished mothers to emulate her unique qualities and refrain from imposing life partners on their children.
Also in Imo, respondents, including traditional rulers, extolled the life and legacies of the late monarch.
They spoke glowingly about her role toward the granting of independence to Nigeria in 1960.
The Chairman, Imo Traditional Rulers’ Council, Eze Emmanuel Okeke, described the Queen as a “great mother, who came, saw and conquered”.
“As the British Queen, who granted independence to Nigeria, her memory will ever remain indelible in Nigeria’s political history.
“Therefore, leaders should bequeath good legacies that would help to foster peace, progress and unity of the country, which was the essence of our independence.
“Her death has once again reminded Nigerians about the need to come together as a people to reminisce about where we were at independence and where we want to be as a great nation,” Okeke said.
Also, Eze George Ekeh, the Traditional Ruler of Ishi Ubomirii Autonomous Community, Mbiaitoli Local Government Area, said the life and role of the late monarch represented the strength of a woman.
Ekeh said that the queen lived a life that truly reflected the strength with which she superintended over major events in the world that happened during her reign.
He said, “It is a thing of regret that the queen sat over Nigeria’s civil war, a preventable conflict which saw the killing of millions of people in one of the worst genocides ever known.”
He, therefore, advised world leaders to use their strength and positions positively for the good of humanity.
According to him, from the genocide recorded during the Nigeria civil war to other major conflicts in the continent, we in the Commonwealth feel that she ought to have done better with her position.
“I turned down a scholarship offer to a British University as a way of personally expressing dissatisfaction with some of the activities of the late Queen, especially as they concerned Nigeria and the Commonwealth in general,” he said.
Nevertheless, Eke, who commiserated with the British royal family and empire, wished the late Queen’s soul peaceful repose in the Almighty.
An Onitsha-based rights activist and social critic, Mr Vincent Ezekwueme, said the late Queen “rendered selfless service to humanity” and made a huge impact as the Head of the Commonwealth.
Ezekwueme said: “We are praying for the eternal repose of her gentle soul and for God to give the heir apparent, Prince Charles, his siblings and other members of the family the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss.
“Her life on earth symbolised humaneness, generosity and selfless services to humanity.
“It is expected that other world leaders should emulate her simple and generous life for a better world.”
In Abia, a public affairs commentator, Mr Thompson Imo, said that the Queen had the grace of longevity, having been on the throne for 70 years and died at 96.
“Her long years of being on the throne, no doubt, ate into the years her son and successor, Charles, would reign as King, considering his present age,” Imo said.
The Traditional Ruler of Umuanyi Autonomous Community, Uturu, Eze Uwadiegwu Ogbonnaya, described the Queen’s death as a great loss, not only to Britain, but the entire world.
Ogbonnaya, a veteran journalist, also described the deceased as a symbol of British royalty.
He said that the late Queen’s record of 70 years on the throne made her the longest-serving British monarch.
According to him, theirs is a guided destiny, which the British have made.
“She ascended the throne at a young age, following the death of her father King George VI, who had no male child.
“Her father had ascended the throne, after his elder brother, King Edward abdicated it because he had wanted to marry an American divorcee.
“The Anglican Church system or tradition would not allow the king to marry a divorcee,” Uwadiegwu, who is also the Chairman, Isuikwuato Local Government Traditional Rulers’ Council, said.