How Queen Elizabeth II Unknowingly Saved My Life
Babafemi A. Badejo, Ph.D.
On February 6, 1952, Princess Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip were on a visit to Kenya and stayed the night at a treetop lodge at the Aberdare National Park, Nyeri Kenya noted for watching wild animals on prowl overnight. King George VI had died at home and on waking up she had become the sovereign over the United Kingdom and her dependencies, including Kenya.
But as she ascended the throne the sun gradually started to set over the British Empire. The Indian subcontinent had attained independence as India and Pakistan with the latter including today’s Bangladesh in 1947. She was the monarch under whose leadership the parts of Africa that were colonised by the British attained independence, with the turn of Nigeria on October 1, 1960, with Sudan and Ghana preceding Nigeria.
As the sovereign, she visited her territory of Nigeria in February 1956 and requested an unscheduled trip to Ijebu-Ode to visit her late father’s friend, Chief Timothy Adeola Odutola at his palatial residence and spoke to the Ijebu people at Itoro, the public square on February 18, 1956. I was a little less than a year old but at that time was said to be set to join the statistics of African children who never made it to their first birthday.
Without contraceptives, I was not born for about nine years after my parents got married. We lived in a building of 6 rooms with a family in each room. Mrs. Adesanya (Iye Bukunola), had pressured my mum out of the house to go to Itoro grounds and witness the visit of Queen Elizabeth II. Mama had been crying for days and wanted to remain at home as it appeared that her only son would die at any moment. I had been very sick and my parents had spent all they had in the hospital before being discharged without my recovery. Mrs. Adesanya carried me on her back as they all, including my dad, went to Itoro. However, they met one of the nurses from the hospital at the Itoro grounds who suggested that all that was needed was food supplements and milk. My parents had no money to actualise the advice. A kind woman living near our residence with a store, Mrs. Olukoya, stated that I belonged to all in the neighbourhood and gave the food supplements and milk free. Miraculously, the information received as a result of the kind diversion of Queen Elizabeth to Ijebu-Ode ensured my recovery and subsequent contribution to humanity.
Queen Elizabeth II was a great brand for Great Britain. A source of affect who reigned but not ruled being a constitutional monarch. Her demeanour as head of a constitutional arrangement reflecting stability should not be downplayed as many in the U.K. saw her as a rallying point for development. She remained Head of State for 15 countries. Nigeria shed that toga in 1963 when the country became a republic. But Nigeria and other 53/55 countries, remain a member of the Commonwealth that she headed.
She would be missed for her calm beautifully choreographed ceremonial duties as Head of State of the U.K, now inherited by King Charles III. Beyond that, her death will not bring any major changes to international politics, neither the British position on the Russia-Ukraine war nor the inflationary trend in the world. On that, we must look at the young woman Liz Truss, whom she appointed as British Prime Minister on September 6, 2022, during her last public appearance. Hearty condolences to the British people.