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NIGERIA, DEATH OF QUEEN ELIZABETH II AND THE VERDICT OF HISTORY

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The death, few days ago, of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, no doubt, has brought to an end a chequered chapter in the history of mankind; a historic chapter that saw Britain pioneering the industrial revolution and also a chapter that marked remarkable expansionism and acquisition of colonial territories by the British Monarchy solely for economic exploitation of the indigenous peoples.

By Malachy Chuma Ochie

For purposes of clarification, the British monarchy from its inception is a form of constitutional government whereby a hereditary sovereign rules as the head of state, not just of the United Kingdom but also of the Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories.

The monarchy is also recognized as the head of the British Armed Forces. In real terms the British monarchy wields enormous powers such that it is its royal prerogative to appoint the British Prime Minster. This monarchy traces its origins to the 10th century when medieval England and Scotland consolidated into the kingdoms of England and Scotland. The institution of the monarchy in Britain has a rich history.

Queen Elizabeth II succeeded her father, King George VI in 1952 after his father, who had dined with his wife as well as Elizabeth’s younger sister, Princess Margaret, passed on in his sleep. Though she was designated as Queen, it was not until 1953 that she was formally crowned at Westminster Abbey. Incidentally, at the point she knew she was the Queen designate; she was in Kenya savouring the beauty and natural endowments of that East African country. She will be remembered as monarch who reigned longest in Britain’s history.

Without doubt, the Queen represented so many things to so many people. Expectedly, since her death the global media have been awash with tributes pouring in from world leaders. As a person, I mourn the Queen passionately, probably not for the same reasons Britons are mourning. Fundamentally, I mourn because she was of the family of God. God enjoins us in His word to mourn with those who mourn even as we rejoice with them that rejoice in times of joy.

I mourn because she played significant roles in the decolonization process of African states, it is also on record that British colonialism brought “light and civilization” to a “Dark and benighted” African continent; a people “without root and history”; a people “stewed in savagery and barbarism”. After all it was the British missionaries that brought us the “word of God” through which such evil customs and traditions like killing of twins, human sacrifice and worship of dead gods were exorcised from the consciousness of the native Africans.

In discharging this “divinely ordained” assignment, the British monarchy initiated policies that would permanently distort the space and mind of the Africans. We were to be sanctified with the word of God; our stony hearts were meant to be removed and replaced with hearts of flesh. Unfortunately, the British succeeded in creating more atavistic Africans that have raped and ripped off the African continent by a devious British acquiescence.

The British monarchy originated the twin evils of slave trade and colonialism; devious systems through which the monarchy sustained its policy of exploitation and expropriation. For instance, the British monarchy was instrumental to the establishment, expansion, and maintenance of the British Empire and the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The English Empire was first proclaimed in 1532 AD by Henry VIII. It was Queen Elizabeth I that granted the Royal Charter (an instrument of incorporation) to noted slave traders. In 1660, King Charles II formed the Royal African Company in 1660, which extracted gold and ivory from Ghana (then known as Gold Coast). Through the trans-Atlantic slave trade, hundreds of thousands of Africans were transported to the new world especially the Americas; with the initials of the slave merchants burned with hot iron into the body of each slave. Only a monarchy driven by the most grotesque evil could unleash such ill-treatment to fellow human beings. The British monarch’s global significance and power stemmed directly from the enslavement of people of colour.

The establishment of the Commonwealth by the monarchy is also misleading. Composed of about 52 “independent and equal” member states, members of the Commonwealth are anything but equal. The Commonwealth emerged from post-WWII decolonization process as a means of reassuring the British public that the demise of the British Empire would not diminish Britain’s global prestige. The monarchy is head of the Commonwealth. The role of head of the Commonwealth allows the monarch to continue their position of international privilege and influence, which stems from colonial histories.

I mourn because in 70yrs on the throne, the British Monarchy failed to correct several historical injustices, which its colonial policies entrenched and have sustained in several parts of the world. Unlike the colonial policy of the French, which espoused the principle of “assimilation”, the British Monarchy promoted a policy a deliberate exclusion, divide and rule, expropriation of labour and resources and purposeful stealing of indigenous crafts of the local people.

The British Monarchy, it’s argued, is responsible for most of the crisis we have in our world today. The British Monarchy, for instance, is responsible for the no love-lost between India and Pakistan. Britain created the problem called Kashmir region, a region that has been the driver of several conflicts between India and Pakistan. Britain created the crisis in Sudan by its colonial policies of creating a large political structure in the form of countries just to satiate its insatiable appetite for economic exploitation. There wouldn’t have been the Darfur tragedy if British Monarchy didn’t authorize the merging of north and south Sudan.

This British colonial policy of acquiring territories for economic exploitation without taking into cognizance of the history, culture and religion of the people has been the basis for incandescent ethnic nationalism in many African states. The same is true of many countries in Asia and the Middle-East.

It is also true that the British Monarchy created the monster called Nigeria by unilaterally lumping together disparate ethnic nations as one country. Even one of the key players in the fraud called Nigeria, Sir Peter Smithers and former Principal Press Secretary to British Colonial Secretary, Alan Lennox-Boyd, who died in 2006, confessed to the tragic monster Britain created and called Nigeria. Smithers died at the age of 92yrs. In the London Times of Wednesday, July 15, 1998, with the headline banner “Nigerian Lesson” duly signed by Sir Peter Smithers he said, and permit me to quote him:

“During the negotiations for the independence of Nigeria, the view of the Secretary of State at that time, with which I agreed, was that in Nigeria we should attempt to put together a large and powerful state with ample material resources, which would play a leading part in the affairs of the continent and of the world. This was attractive but it involved forcing several different ethnic and cultural groups into a single political structure. The negotiations were complex and very difficult, the chief problem as I remember relating, significantly, to the control of the police and the military. In the retrospect of 40 years, it is clear that this was a grave mistake that has cost many lives and will probably continue to do so. It would have been better to establish several smaller states in a free-trade area. In exculpation, it must be said that we did not then have the examples of the collapse of Yugoslavia and of the Soviet Union before our eyes. I should now be clear for but the willfully blind to see that it is extremely dangerous to force diverse racial and social entities into a single rigid political structure such as that which is being built upon the foundation of the Maastricht Treaty. Recent history suggests that it would be best to complete the development of the Common Market and to call a halt to political integration in Europe.” Those were the exact words of Sir Peter Smithers.

In her 70 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II and British establishment saw nothing wrong with the contraption called Nigeria but has continued to sweep the Nigerian conundrum under the carpet. In the face of mounting challenges facing the Nigerian state, in terms of civil unrest, poverty, under-development, terrorism, militancy, banditry, struggle for self-determination etc, we cannot but conclude that the foundations of these ailments were laid by the British even before our political independence. There are clear evidences that the British meddled with the independence elections to ensure that they enthroned their preferred candidates in power through which they can remotely control the destiny of Nigeria.

Nigerian leaders, with the active connivance of the British have remained stiff-necked and unwilling to unbundle the contraption called Nigeria simply to sustain Nigeria as its biggest market in Africa. They are afraid that addressing the Nigerian question would divide the country; a country that has been divided along its worst seams already. Without doubt, Nigeria’s many problems could be traced to the criminal amalgamation in 1914 of the northern and southern protectorates. Is it any wonder then that someone like Smithers would conclude that if the issues of Nigeria’s union is not addressed, the country would continue to experience internal strife, corruption and under-development.

While it made administrative sense to the British to amalgamate the South of Nigeria the north, there was no practical sense in it; essentially because despite the nearness of the north and south of Nigeria there were fundamental differences in their peoples, religion and culture. The major reason for the amalgamation was to release the northern protectorate from the leading strings of the British treasury. The intention was to use the surplus economic resources from the south to sustain the northern protectorate.

In implementing the mandate of the amalgamation, Lugard constructed a Nigerian state with strong regional governments and a weak centre. This effectively ensured that the North was protected from Southern influence. In 1946, the British colonial government further divided Southern Nigeria into two regions: East and West. The North was left intact and so retained its position as the dominant region both in population and landmass. This created an imbalance and tilted the balance towards Northern Nigeria. Furthermore, the adoption of indirect rule system did not help in building a homogenous country. The system was a great success in the north as the central nature of local administration made it easy for the British to control the people using their local political structure. Indirect rule was partially successful in the west and not successful in the east. The British deliberately discouraged nation building and national integration

The British’s divide-and-rule policy is evident in the educational policies it pursued; for example, while the south was exposed to western education, the north was, as a matter of British deliberate policy, protected from the “adulterating” influence of western civilization. A more serious demonstration of the policy of divide-and-rule was the introduction of parliamentary politics in the south in 1922 without a corresponding introduction to the north. It took 25yrs to do so in the north. That was in 1947. It was under this political arrangement that the British ruled the country thereby sowing seeds of separation rather than cohesion. The Land and Native Rights Ordinance of 1910, which created separate laws for landowners in the north and south, contributed in making visible ethnic divide and instilled ethnic consciousness. The result of such policies is the separation of southerners in the north from the indigenous Hausa/Fulani people who lived within walled cities.

We can continue this expose ad infinitum. In whatever way we look at it, we cannot run away from the conclusion that the British monarchy has done more harm than good especially in Nigeria. And so when some individuals call for the renaming of our premier university of the seat of government to Queen Elizabeth II, one runs away with the impression that proponents of such idea could have brains stuffed with cotton wool. It is such crude mentality that would provoke another to suggest that the Queen should have died a slow and painful death.

While I am not disposed to any of the foregoing opinions, I am persuaded that if history is history indeed, it would be on the wrong side of the British monarchy, which Queen Elizabeth II symbolized and personified for 70yrs; yet she did nothing to remedy these historical injustices. The new king still has a date with history. Who knows, he could trigger a remedial process that would reduce tensions in many countries and save lives. Irrespective of the gains we could attribute to the British monarchy, it is fair to conclude that it has done more harm than good. All the same, I commit the soul of the departed Queen into the hands of God who is the most righteous judge both of the living and the dead.

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Entertainment

DAY MICHAEL JACKSON WON EIGHT AWARDS

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16th January 1984 – Michael Jackson won for the first time in the history of the American Music Awards 8 of the desirable trophies.

The accolades began with his sweep of the 11th annual American Music Awards on Monday night, January 16th, winning a total of eight awards, including a special merit award. Michael received a record-breaking ten nominations for the American Music Awards. THRILLER was nominated for Best Pop Album, and Best Soul Album. Billie Jean was nominated for Best Pop Single and Best Soul Single. Beat It and Billie Jean were both nominated for Best Pop Video and Best Soul Video. And finally, Michael was nominated for Best Pop Male Vocalist and Best Soul Male Vocalist.

Michael attended the award ceremony accompanied by Webster star Emmanuel Lewis and his date for the evening was Brooke Shields. He was dressed for the occasion in a red Sergeant Pepper-style military style jacket covered with red sequins, cropped tuxedo pants, black aviator glasses, with a single black sequin glove; an appropriate uniform for what, considering the scope of his popularity, equated to the showbiz variant of a coronation.

Michael approached the podium 8 times that night to accept awards, a new record. THRILLER was named Best Pop Album and Best Soul Album. Billie Jean won as Best Pop Single, and Beat It was named Best Pop Video and Best Soul Video. Michael took top honors as Best Pop Male Vocalist and Best Soul Male Vocalist.

For his first, which is the AMA for Favorite Pop Single – Beat It, he says the following: “I don’t what I [fans screaming] … would – I’m very thankful and I’m very honored for this award. I don’t wanna make a long speech, I’m just – thank you very much. Bye. [smiles]”

His second award that night is for Favorite Soul Album – Thriller, for which he states: “Thank you very much. I’m deeply moved again to – to win this award. I’d like to thank Quincy Jones who’s a wonderful producer, and my mother and father who are in the audience – which I love very much – who brought me into the world. And I also thank the American public. Thank you.”

For Favorite Pop Album – Thriller, he has this to say: “[…] Again I – I’d like to thank everybody… thank you [smiles]. I’m – I’m deeply moved by accepting this award. And it was so much fun doing the album, ‘Thriller’. And I’d like to thank again Quincy Jones, and Bruce Swedien who’s the greatest engineer in the world. And, also, Rod Temperton and James Ingram for writing ‘PYT’ with Quincy Jones – thank you. And again, my mother and father who… taught me so much. And again I’d like to thank the disc-jokeys who played the record, ‘cause if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here, so.. And I also would like to thank the public. Thank you very much.”

In addition to these awards Michael was honored for his lifetime career achievements as the year’s recipient of the Award of Merit. The Award of Merit was presented to Michael by Diana Ross and by the previous year’s winner, Kenny Rogers. Barry Manilow also took part in the tribute, singing Ben and a medley of Jackson 5ive hits. The presentation featured video taped messages from Michael’s closest friends, including Liza Minnelli, Katherine Hepburn, and Jane Fonda, who had this to say:

Michael, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve studied your tapes, trying to figure out what it is you do. I’ve decided you are a miracle. You have so much talent, the more you give of it, the more you seem to have. I’m so proud of you… and so proud to be your friend.

Winning the award at age 25, Michael is the youngest performer to ever receive the Award of Merit.

On receiving the special American Music Award Of Merit from singer/actress and long-time friend, Diana Ross, he declares: “Thank you. Thank you very much. I’m so deeply touched and deeply honored to receive this wonderful – Gosh, wonderful award… I thank you, American public; I thank Berry Gordy of Motown, who has been such an important part of my career and life. I thank again my mother and father who brought me into the world – Joseph Jackson and Katherine Jackson. I thank all my brothers – Tito, Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon and Randy, who I started with… and still am with. I thank Susanne de Passe who has been such an important influence in my life and has taught me so much. Thank you, Susanne. Quincy Jones is a wonderful person, not only is he an incredible producer, he is a wonderful man, he is such a family person, and I love him and we have made history together and I’m thankful. I thank one of my favorite people in the whole entire world, Miss Diana Ross and… she’s been such a special friend to me and taught me so many incredible, important things… and I’m so honored that she came here… I just hope I didn’t leave anybody out, I just – boy, the American public and I thank all the disc-jokeys and everybody, I love you so much and thank you.”

On winning the Favorite Soul Video award for Beat It: “This is wonderful. [To La Toya] Come here.. This is my sis.. oh, Bob Giraldi! [laughs] [who joins him on stage]. This is my sister, La Toya, I’m so honored she’s here, I didn’t know she was gonna bring this award. Working on ‘Beat It’ was a great experience. I had so much fun doing it, and this is my director, Bob Giraldi, whom I chose to be… I’ve put all my heart and my soul in my work and I’m so happy and honored that I won this wonderful award. Thank you.”, declares Jackson, more excited with each new award.

For Favorite Pop Video – Beat It, he is joined again on stage by director Bob Giraldi. “Again, I’d like to thank everybody. I’m so moved and so honored again… Thank you very much. I love you all. And one more – thank you, Michael Peters, you’re a wonderful person. Thank you.”, says Jackson.

On winning the American Music Award for Favorite Soul Male, the entertainer declares: “Again, I’m deeply moved and I really appreciate it, and the girls in the balcony, I love you, you’re wonderful. [laughs mildly] An important – an important chemistry in writing a song is inspiration and I’m holding one of inspirations – Emmanuel Lewis [best known for playing the title character in ‘Webster’].”.

For his last award that night, the Favorite Pop Male AMA, he smilingly concludes: “Thank you very much. It’s nothing more I can say, I love you all. Good-bye.”

Source: FB/Michael Jackson Fans Only

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History

I FOUGHT BECAUSE OF MY MOM – EVANDER HOLYFIELD

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According to the heavyweight champion, he was going to give up after losing to a fellow kid but his mom told him to hang on one more time.

He did twice until he beat his opponent. Then he didn’t want to quit anymore.

‘I didn’t lose a fight until I was eleven, but when I did, to a kid named Cecil Collins, it devastated me. I came home and told Mama I was quitting the sport. Big mistake.

‘You go on back in that ring and beat that boy!’ She said. This from a woman who didn’t want me boxing to begin with. ‘You don’t quit until you do what you set out to do!’ So I went back and fought Cecil again. And again I lost. ‘Go back and fight him again!’ Mama said.

I did, and this time I beat him. It felt wonderful, like I’d just climbed Mt. Everest or hit the winning home run in the World Series. ‘Well there you go!’ Mama said, beaming. ‘Now you can quit!’

I didn’t quit – there were some things even my wise Mama didn’t understand – but you get the point. If I hadn’t gone back in there and tried again and again, I probably would have spent a large part of my life regretting it. But Mama knew how I’d feel once I won, all proud and happy. Her attitude wasn’t, ‘See? I was right.’ It was, ‘Don’t you feel good having finished what you started?’ It was that feeling that shaped my later approach to life, not the fact that I’d done what Mama asked, and that’s why the lesson was so valuable. It really came from me; Mama just pushed me to get there.’

  • Evander Holyfield

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History

QUEEN ELIZABETH (1926-2022)

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The world stood still on last as Queen Elizabeth II, United Kingdom’s longest-serving monarch, died at Balmoral Castle, Aberdeen, Scotland, aged 96, after reigning for 70 years. The Queen came to the throne in 1952 and witnessed enormous social and political change not just in her kingdom but also around the world.

As provided for by royal tradition, her son Prince Charles, who was also the longest serving the Prince of Wales, spanning almost five decades, automatically ascended the throne as King Charles III.

Expectedly tributes have been pouring in from around the World in honour of this most distinguished lady who in many ways became a symbol of the best standards of royal culture in Western Europe. As a former British colony, Nigeria joined other world leaders in mourning the British monarch.

President Muhammadu Buhari described as sad the news the passing of Queen Elizabeth ll who performed her duty to the very last minute when she invited Liz Truss to form the next government barely two days before her death.

New United Kingdom Prime Minister, Liz Truss, said the death of Her Majesty the Queen is a huge shock to the nation and to the world. According to her, the late Queen’s life of service stretched beyond living memories, and in return, she was loved and admired by the people in the United Kingdom, the Realms and territories of the Commonwealth which she headed. and all around the world.

President of the United States of America, Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden said in a joint statement that the Queen in her lifetime defined an era. “The thoughts and prayers of people all across the United States are with the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in their grief,” the statement said.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has described the late queen of England as a champion of social change and a protagonist of modern Britain. He said Queen Elizabeth was a well-loved sovereign. On his party, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that he was ‘deeply saddened’ over the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, saying ‘her unwavering, lifelong dedication will be long remembered.’ “She was a good friend to the UN and a reassuring presence through decades of change,” Guterres said.

Elizabeth was born in Mayfair, London, as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth). Her father acceded to the throne in 1936 upon the abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII, making Elizabeth the heir presumptive. She was educated privately at home and began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service.

In November 1947, she married Philip Mountbatten, a Prince of Greece and Denmark, and their marriage lasted 73 years until his death in April 2021. They had four children: King Charles, Anne, the Princess Royale; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. When her father died in February 1952, Elizabeth—then 25 years old—became Queen.

Significant events include Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953 and the celebrations of her Silver, Golden, Diamond, and Platinum jubilees in 1977, 2002, 2012, and 2022, respectively. Elizabeth was the longest-lived British monarch and the second-longest reigning sovereign in world history, only behind Louis XIV of France. She also installed 15 Prime Ministers of UK.

Queen Elizabeth II held the record for the most countries visited by an individual monarch. She visited more than 120 countries on six continents. Canada is the country she travelled to more than any other country outside the United Kingdom.

We also recall that in 1956, Queen Elizabeth II visited Nigeria, three years after she ascended the throne. Sir James Robertson served as governor-general during this period, making him a proxy to the throne. During her visit, she toured the country with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh. She spent a total of 20 days from 28 January to 16 February.

The second time Elizabeth II visited Nigeria was in 2003, hosted by then president Olusegun Obasanjo. The purpose of her visit was to open the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which was in held Abuja on Friday, 5 December.

Indeed, Nigeria and the United Kingdom enjoy a special relationship. The United Kingdom is regarded as a second home to many Nigerians. According to reports, there were approximately 178,000 Nigerian nationals residing in the United Kingdom as at 2021.

Also, according to a data by UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency, the number of Nigerians studying in the United Kingdom (UK) has risen from 13,020 in the 2019/2020 academic session to 21,305 by the 2020/2021 session. The figure, which amounts to an almost 64 per cent increase within a year.

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