A TRIBUTE TO HER MAJESTY, QUEEN ELIZABETH 11 OF THE UNITED KINGDOMS
Ozodi Thomas Osuji, PhD, University of California
Many of my compatriots from the former colonies of Britain tend to say nasty things about Great Britain. To the contrary, all I have for that little island is gratitude.
I am grateful to England for what she did for Africans. Before Britain officially colonized what is now called Nigeria in 1900, my people, Igbos, along with many Africans did not have writing; they did not have formal structures for governing Igbo wide polity. They had town and village governance structures.
The British gave Nigeria a centralized government, regional governments, and county and town governments based on the model in England.
More importantly, British colonial administrators, along with the missionaries that they brought with them, built Western type elementary and secondary schools in my world and, eventually, built the first university in Nigeria, the University of Ibadan in 1948.
They offered my people the opportunity to go to school. My extended family benefited from this situation. The first elementary school in my village was built in the early 1920s. From that humble beginning most people in my kindred are now well educated. We have medical doctors, engineers, lawyers, professors, and research scientists at universities in all parts of the world! A family that a hundred years ago never heard of the term formal written materials now have a concentration of well-educated Africans!
This is an astonishing accomplishment! We owe it all to the English. I am immensely grateful to English people for offering us the opportunity to be educated hence become part of the modern world. Without the formal education they gave us, and the opportunity to have good jobs in Nigeria, we would be living in benighted villages, not knowing the difference between the Big Bang and the Sun (worshipping the sun, Anyanwu, as a god!).
Queen Elizabeth (1926-2022) was on the throne when England gave Nigeria independence in 1960. This passing of power from a colonial ruler to the ruled was done peacefully.
Nigeria did not have to resort to many years of protracted warfare to gain her independence. The country was subsequently helped to govern itself right although she has made a royal mess of self-governing.
I know that many third world scholars cavalierly blame the misgovernance of Africa on what they call colonialism and neocolonialism.
The former colonial rulers would like to obtain raw materials for their industries from the periphery at cheap prices and make profit; nevertheless, much of the misgovernance of Africa is not due to deliberate desire by Britain to underdeveloped Africa, as the Guyanese scholar, Walter Rodney, said in his popular book, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa.
Europe is part of the world system. In a system every part affects every part; all parts respond to events in every part. Thus, Europe does affect the wellbeing of Arica and Africa affects Europe (many Nigerian medical doctors’ man British medical facilities; indeed, there are now some Nigerians in the British Parliament and a few of them ministers in his majesty’s Government).
To attribute all African issues to the fault of Europe is treating Africans as children. Africans are adults, and, as such, they play a role in their welfare; it is only children, who can, perhaps, be excused from blame on how their lives turn out.
If you point two blaming fingers at other people for your problems, three fingers point right back at you, reminding you that you play the greater role in your situation!
The point is that Europe and Africa play roles in the underdevelopment of Africa. Africans must take care of their role in their problems and stop always blaming Europeans for their fallen house; let us hope that Europeans stop exploiting Africans.
In the meantime, I appreciate the good that England did for Africans.
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth Alexandria Windsor of the United Kingdom was a positive influence on the peaceful relationship between England and Africa. For this fact alone I thank her.
I am proud to have associated with England ruled by her majesty.
I first visited England as a college student and promptly went to see where the Queen lives. And, of course, spent much of my time at the visitors’ Gallery watching Parliamentarians debating…I loved seeing the iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, during her Prime Minister’s Questions Time, giving well informed answers to the questions that MPs asked her.
I spent time at the Colonial Office, reading up on the memoranda written by Colonial Administrators in Nigeria (Governor General, regional governors, provincial residents and district officers) to the Colonial Secretary in London, who made recommendations and passed that information to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and who made recommendations and passed them to the Prime Minster and the rest of the cabinet for discussion and making colonial decisions affecting Nigeria and that are given to Parliament for debate and possible adoption as British colonial policy towards Nigeria.
I hope that her majesty’s son, his majesty, King Charles 111, will continue the positive relationship between England and Africa that his mother began.
I say heartfelt adieu to her majesty, Queen Elizabeth 11. May her soul rest in peace, and, if there is heaven, may she be welcomed in it (I am agnostic).
I hope that her majesty’s fifteenth and last Prime Minister, Elizabeth Truss, would continue the good works that her predecessors had in relating with Africans. However, I make haste to declare that, viscerally, I do not like conservative governments. This is because I am a social democrat who believes in mixed capitalist and socialist economies, where the public pays for education at all levels for all people and provides publicly paid health care for all citizens. I hope that MS Truss does not destroy the decent work of providing those services to everyday English folks.
Long live my beloved Great Britain.
Ozodi Thomas Osuji, PhD, University of California.
September 8, 2022
Dr Osuji has authored many books on both politics, psychology, and metaphysics. Altogether, he has written over one hundred books and countless academic and lay articles. You can reach Dr. Osuji at email@example.com; or (907) 310-8176.