In 1956, a sizable audience greeted Queen Elizabeth II in Lagos, Nigeria. Four years later, Nigeria became independent.
The queen’s visit was celebrated in grand style. Chief Festus Okotie Eboh, a powerful federal minister of labor and welfare, was one of many who showed up to welcome her.
Traditional chiefs in Lagos like Chief Adeniji Adele II welcomed her as well.
Over the course of her 20-day visit, which began on January 28 and ended on February 16, she also met with a number of chiefs. In Lagos, the queen was invited to a garden banquet.
The queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were present as her former subjects in Nigeria pledged their allegiance to her at the Federal House of Representatives.
“My husband and I have been deeply touched by the welcome that you have given us,” the queen remarked while speaking at the House. God’s blessings to you all.
Lawyers and the queen attended the same event. This occurred during a formal ceremony to officially open Lagos’ new federal court.
Queen Elizabeth did not limit her trip to Lagos State. She was in Kaduna State where she was received by a large crowd of horsemen and leaders of various tribes and different provinces of Northern Nigeria.
The provincial leaders came from Ilorin, Kabba, Benue, Niger, Zaria, Katsina, Adamawa, Bauchi, Kano, Borno, Sokoto, and Plateau.
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She was entertained with dances by different tribes dressed in their traditional costumes and attires. She was also in Port Harcourt but her final destination in Nigeria was the ancient city of Kano where many travelled miles to see her.
In the end, it was indeed a remarkable visit for the queen and the people of Nigeria.
Queen Elizabeth made her second trip to Nigeria when she was 76 years old. She kept the wide-brimmed hat, but this time, wreaths of grey hair were nestled inside. Although the blossom of youth had faded, the royal grace persisted.
This time, the then-President Olusegun Obasanjo welcomed the Queen to Abuja. She was there for the 18th meeting of its kind of the Commonwealth Heads of Government, which was attended by people from 51 Commonwealth nations.
Three Commonwealth countries—Zimbabwe, which is suspended, Pakistan, which was not invited, and Antigua and Barbuda, which was not suspended but did not send a representative—were not present.
The meeting garnered great media attention at the time. Discussed in the meeting was Zimbabwe’s controversial suspension from the Commonwealth of Nations. There was also a dispute over the re-election of the New Zealander Don McKinnon as Secretary General.
The Queen was in Nigeria from December 3rd to December 6th.