Jaiyeola Andrews in Abuja
British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright has lauded Nigeria and its citizens for enriching British life, society and culture
He equally described Queen Elizabeth II who just celebrated her 90th birthday, as an example of selfless devotion to duty, of service to her country and the Commonwealth, of which she is head. He also said the queen was an example of handwork, diligence and resilience.
Arkwright spoke when he hosted a party in Abuja recently to mark Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday.
Guests from Abuja and beyond joined the celebrations, including Nigeria’s Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Governors of Imo, Kaduna, Katsina and Nasarawa states.
There was representation from Nigeria’s National Assembly, government agencies, the diplomatic corps, media, civil society, business communities and the academia. 2016 also marked 60 years since Queen Elizabeth II made her first visit to Nigeria
“We are celebrating today the 90th birthday of a remarkable woman who is an example to us all; an example of selfless devotion to duty, of service to her country and the commonwealth, of which she is head. And she’s an example of handwork, diligence and resilience.
“Among her visits to 116 countries as Queen, she’s been here in Nigeria twice. She was here in 1956 where she toured different parts of Nigeria visiting Lagos, Kano Kaduna and the eastern region. And in 2003, she was back in Nigeria for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
“No doubt many of you remember the 2003 visit; some of you may even remember that 1956 visit. That was 60 years ago, quite remarkable for a woman who is now the longest serving monarch in British history. Over 64 years (on the throne) and still working every day of the year.
“The week of the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations globally also coincided with the 400th anniversary of the death of British Playwright, William Shakespeare. The High Commissioner took a moment to pay special tribute to the literary icon, drawing links between the UK and Nigeria”, Arkwright said.
He added that “and this week as well, we celebrate the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. There’s a Nigerian connection too with Shakespeare. Some of you may have seen the pictures, recently, President Obama met on stage at the Gold Theatre in London, a proud son of Nigeria, Ladi Emeruwa.
“He played Hamlet for two years with the Globe Touring Company as they went around the world performing Hamlet. This is just one really good example of how Nigeria and Nigerians continue to enrich British life, British society, British culture.
“In politics, there are five British MPs of Nigerian extraction in the House of Commons and three of those are women, then there are Nigerians in business, working in the UK and Nigerians in sport.”
The High Commissioner reiterated UK support and cooperation with the government and people of Nigeria in the areas of security, diversifying the economy, creating prosperity and helping President Buhari in his anti-corruption campaign.