10 Most Powerful Monarchs in Nigeria

Monarchy, a popular system of government practiced in almost all parts of the world and common in places like Saudi Arabia and United Kingdom, involves undivided sovereignty of a single person till death. The leader called king or Queen is charged with the responsibility of leading the people and representing them in external affairs.

Although, Nigeria practices constitutional democracy which involves the citizens electing representatives to govern them. This form of government does not make citizens of the country disregard the long-standing traditions and culture of having monarchs rule them.

With the advent of civilization and democracy, these monarchs often referred to as traditional rulers lost the powers they were vested with by history, customs and traditions. Even at that, a few of these monarchs are recognized by the powers they wield. They still exercised some of the control their earliest predecessors had.

10 Most Powerful Monarchs in Nigeria

With over 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria, with each having a traditional ruler of its own, Nigerians hold their monarchs in high esteem even with the form of government being practiced. But some monarchs remain more powerful than the others.

Here are ten most powerful monarchs in Nigeria.

10. Oba of Lagos

OBA of Lagos is the traditional ruler of the commercial city of Lagos. Oba Rilwan Akiolu, the current monarch of the state is considered powerful because of his hold over the indigenes of Lagos during election period. Politicians often fight for his attention to endorse them and present them to the people.

9. Obi of Onitsha

Onitsha is a commercial city located on the eastern bank of the Niger river in Anambra state. Their ruler bears the title of the obi with a monarchical system styled like that of Benin because it is believed that they are descendants of the Benin kingdom. The present ruler HRM Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe is recognized for his various contributions in the Petroleum sector in Nigeria.

8. Olu of Warri

The Warri kingdom also known as Iwere kingdom is the home of the Itsekiri people. Located in Delta state, the itsekiri share elements of culture with Yoruba and Edo people, hence why their King bears the same title with the king of Yorubaland. The king, Ogiame Atuwase III is a first-class ruler and a passionate philanthropist, and many people have benefited from his acts of giving.

7. Olubadan of Ibadan

Ibadan is an ancient town in Oyo state with its traditional ruler titled as Olubadan. The Olubadan has power to dispose, install and promote a chief unlike the common practice of having the state’s ministry of customs and chieftaincy affairs handle matters like that. He also has the power to question political leaders on issues like violence, corruption etc. in his region which is why he is considered a powerful king.

6. Dein of Agbo

Agbo, a traditional kingdom in Delta state has a king who holds a Guinness record for being the world’s youngest king to ever ascend the throne. Dein Benjamin Ikechukwu or Keagborekuzi as he is called was crowned king when he was just 24 months old following the death of his father. The tradition in Agbo was to have only the biological son of the king ascend the throne which was why he was crowned. Since he took over the mantle of leadership from the regent who was ruling while he underwent different trainings of life, Agbo is gradually being recognized as a respected kingdom making him powerful.

5. Oba of Benin

Oba of Benin is the title given to the traditional ruler of the Edoid people in Edo state. He is charged with the function of upholding the culture of the Edo people. The title is similar to the title given a Yoruba king because history had it that the first king of the Edo kingdom was a Yoruba, the grandson of the founder of the Yoruba race. Oba of Benin is highly respected in his kingdom and the country at large for his impartiality in the matters of ethnicity. The monarchy system in the kingdom is still as powerful as it was in ancient times. He is even considered by the Edo people to be more powerful than any Yoruba king.

4. Alaafin of Oyo

Alaafin is the title of the emperor of the Oyo empire in present day Oyo state in Western Nigeria. It means owner of the palace in the Yoruba language. The present Oyo empire was reorganized from the old empire known for its strong administrative skills. It was also an important political kingdom then with tentacles spread throughout the Yoruba race and other tribes including Benin. The Oyo emperor is selected by a body of councillors called “Oyomesi”. He is expected to appoint chieftains representing the entire Yoruba land and attend historic festivals. With the death of the Alaafin, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, the post is currently vacant with the Oyomesi working hard to select the best candidate.

3. Emir of Kano

The Kano emirate is an Islamic state in northern Nigeria formed during a Jihad in 1805. The emir, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero is accorded the title of the Tijaniyya Sufi order of Nigeria, a title that places him as the head of the Sufi Islamic sect, the second most important Muslim position in Nigeria. With the Emir’s limited powers, he still exerts a form of authority on issues of discord between Christians and Muslims in the state.

2. Ooni of Ife

Ile-Ife, an ancient city in Osun state is said to be the ancestral home of the Yoruba people according to history and wields a big hold on the Yoruba race. The present king of the town, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi is considered the most important monarch in Yorubaland because he is believed to be the spiritual head of the race. Traditionally, the Ooni’s main role is spiritual and ceremonial. Although there are controversies on why the Alaafin should be accorded the title of the head of Yoruba race logically, the ooni is accorded greater respect than the Alaafin. He is also believed to be a descendant of Oduduwa, the great ancestor of the Yoruba people. Oba Enitan has also succeeded in breaking the seed of discord that plagued the Oyo and Ife empires.

1. Sultan of Sokoto

Sokoto, an Hausa state in Northern Nigeria is regarded as the seat of the caliphate in Nigeria. The monarch is called caliph or sultan which means leader according to Islamic traditions. The sultan is regarded as the spiritual leader of all Muslims in northern Nigeria and Nigeria at large. He is responsible for confirming reports on moon sighting which is a means of determining new months of the Islamic calendar. If the Sultan doesn’t approve moon sighting in Nigeria, a new month won’t be marked. The Sultan is the most powerful monarch in Nigeria.

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