Buhari, world leaders pay tributes to Queen Elizabeth II

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PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari last night said the story of modern Nigeria will never be complete without a chapter on Queen Elizabeth ll of the United Kingdom.

The President, in a statement issued by his spokesman Malam Garba Shehu, said the deceased dedicated her life to making her nation, the Commonwealth and the entire world a better place.

President Buhari, who received with immense sadness news of the passing of Queen Elizabeth ll, said: “My family and I, and the more than 200 million Nigerians have learned with immense sadness of the passing of the Queen and the end of her unique and wonderful 70 year reign. Her late Majesty was the only British Sovereign known to 90 percent of our population.

“Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with the Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom and the entire Commonwealth as we join the entire world in mourning her loss.

“The story of modern Nigeria will never be complete without a chapter on Queen Elizabeth ll, a towering global personality and an outstanding leader. She dedicated her life to making her nation, the Commonwealth and the entire world a better place.”

The President, who welcomed His Majesty’s ascension to the throne in line with tradition, prayed King Charles the Third’s reign will witness the continuing robust and sisterly relations between the two nations.

President Joe Biden and other U.S. leaders mourned the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, whose 70-year-reign spanned 13 presidencies and enormous global and diplomatic change.

In a statement, Biden and the first lady called the queen “a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock Alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States.”

The Bidens wrote that “In a world of constant change, she was a steadying presence and a source of comfort and pride for generations of Britons, including many who have never known their country without her,” and said they “look forward to continuing a close friendship with The King and The Queen Consort.”

She had met with 13 sitting U.S. presidents during her lifetime, dating back to 1951 when President Harry S. Truman welcomed then-Princess Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, at Washington National Airport for a two-day stay in the nation’s capital.

Former U.S. presidents — from Jimmy Carter to Donald Trump — offered their condolences “Melania and I will always cherish our time together with the Queen, and never forget Her Majesty’s generous friendship, great wisdom, and wonderful sense of humor,” Trump said in a post on his Truth Social platform.

Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama said the queen’s reign was “defined by grace, elegance, and a tireless work ethic, defying the odds and expectations placed on women of her generation.”

Former President George W. Bush said spending time at Buckingham Palace and having tea with the queen and her beloved Corgis was one of his “fondest memories of the presidency.”

Former President Bill Clinton celebrated the queen for leading the U.K. “with unfailing grace, dignity, and genuine care for the welfare of all its people,” while former President Jimmy Carter called the queen a “remarkable leader” and “an inspiration.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wrote in a statement that attending the queen’s speech to Congress in 1991 was a personal honor and said that her “extraordinary life and leadership will continue to inspire young women and girls in public service, now and for generations to come.”

Also, French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute, saying the Queen was a “kind-hearted” monarch and a “friend of France”.

“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II embodied the British nation’s continuity and unity for over 70 years. I remember her as a friend of France, a kind-hearted queen who has left a lasting impression on her country and her century.

“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II embodied the British nation’s continuity and unity for over 70 years. I remember her as a friend of France, a kind-hearted queen who has left a lasting impression on her country and her century,” Macron’s message was quoted.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz described the Queen as a “role model and inspiration for millions”.

He praised her role in repairing relations between the UK and Germany after “the horrors of World War II”.

“She will be missed, not least her wonderful humour.

“She will be missed, not least her wonderful humour” Scholz was qouted.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Queen Elizabeth was “one of his favourite people in the world”.

“She was a constant presence in our lives – and her service to Canadians will forever remain an important part of our country’s history. I will miss her so,” Trudeau’s message was quoted.

Brazilian president, Bolsonaro has declared three days of mourning. BBC also reported that, a sea of people now stands outside Buckingham Palace following news of the Queen’s death.

Sheila De Bellaigue has shock all over her face. The 77-year-old from London says: “I’m feeling very sad as everybody is here. I didnt know until I just saw the flag.”

Describing the Queen in one word, she says: “Staunch!”

She adds: “She’s been a wonderful Queen and will be very much missed.”

Michael Hammond also learned of the news when he saw the flag being lowered to half mast.

The 23-year-old from Southampton, says: “I’m absolutely gutted. I thought she embodied the British spirit.”

The Queen’s ties with Nigeria

A former minister of external affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi said he was not surprised that the death Queen Elizabeth resonated around world.

“You remember what Shakespeare said that when beggars die, no comets seen. The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes. Her Majesty the Queen almost represented the century and era for not just Britain, not just for the Commonwealth but for the whole world,” he said.

“Here is a woman who became a Queen at the peak of the Cold War when it looked like we were going to have another world war. And it is a matter of regret and tragedy that she has died at the time when it looks, to quote the Pope that, ‘We are at the verge of World War III.’ When we are at the verge of dissolution of a world order and we are at the beginning of world disorder.”

Prof. Akinyemi said he had personal contact with her. “I first saw her as Princess Elizabeth when she visited Nigeria. I was in Form II in Igbobi College Yaba; I was one of those that lined up waving the flag in khaki shorts and black sandals. And of course, I later became a minister and I met her at Commonwealth conferences and I also met after I left ministerial office in some conferences in London.”

Asked to explain her ties with Nigeria, the professor said, “One cannot come out specifically and say this because part of the wisdom of Queen Elizabeth was she never expressed political views publicly. She never. It was her style and it was her wisdom. So you didn’t know how she felt about our civil war. You don’t how she felt about our military regimes in Nigeria. You don’t know how she felt about a nation that got independence in 1960…You don’t know because she won’t say. Only one person knows and that is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and she is gone.”

Asked about how Nigeria should remember her, he said, “Well, I believe if you have listened to my Podcast, as a Queen of United Kingdom made up of disparity nationalities: the Wales, the Scottish, the English and the Irish and yet she was loved by all these nationalities in spite of the fact that some of these nationalities like the Scotland and the Wales wanted to break away.

“A president of Nigeria, a nation of different cultures and nationalities should behave in a way that that president would be loved and admired by all the different nationalities; that is what a Nigerian president should learn from Her Majesty the Queen.”

A former diplomat, Malam Ilyasu Gadu, said the late British Monarch did a lot to enhance the relationship between Nigeria and Britain. He recalled that she had visited Nigeria about three times which did a lot to further cement the good relationship between the two countries. “She has had good rapport with our leaders in the First Republic. That relationship had been maintained. Many often she worked quietly to smoothen the relationship between the two countries especially in times of misunderstandings.’’

He said the queen had also through her role as the Head of the Commonwealth, ensured that African had a good deal in development efforts.

Gadu said it was in appreciation of her effort that a number of non-English speaking countries in Africa joined the commonwealth. He said she would also be remembered for supporting decolonization of Africa adding that she played a quiet role in the negotiation for the independence of Zimbabwe.

Also reacting, a recipient of the Queen’s Young Leaders’ medal, Nasiru Yammama said the late Queen would be remembered for her support to young people as patron of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.

“It was one of the ways she had demonstrated, unfailingly over the last 70 years of her reign, that the young people are indeed her legacy,” adding that she would be dearly missed but certainly never forgotten.

“Her historic reign and the dedication of her life to the service of the people not only in the United Kingdom but of the Commonwealth have earned her the title of the “Queen of the World.”