Although practising a presidential system of government, the important roles played by the monarchs to the development of their societies and Nigeria as a whole cannot be overlooked. In this list we take a look at 10 most powerful Nigerian monarchs that are currently on a throne.
1. EMIR OF KANO
The Emir of Kano is the head of the Kano Emirate and the Emirate was formed in 1805 during the Fulani Jihad, when the old Hausa Sultante of Kano became subject to the Sokoto Caliphate. His Royal Highness Mallam Muhammad Sanusi II is the current Emir of Kano after succeeding Alhaji Dr. Ado Abdullahi Bayero who ascended the throne in 1963 and ruled till his death on June 6, 2014. Malam Sanusi before his ascension to the throne was a successful banker and the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The Banker, a global financial intelligence magazine has conferred on him two awards for the global award for Central Bank Governor of the Year, as well as for Central Bank Governor of the Year for Africa. TIME magazine also listed him on its list of most influential people of 2011
2. AALAFIN OF OYO The position of the Alaafin of Oyo is one of the most powerful and influential monarchical titles to be attained in Nigeria. The title of Alaafin can also be referred to as Oba in the Yoruba language and the word means king or ruler. The current Alaafin of Oyo is Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III and he ascended the throne in 1970 succeeding Alaafin Gbadegesin Ladigbolu II. So powerful is the position of the Alaafin of Oyo that until 2011, Oba lamidi Adeyemi III was the Permanent Chairman of the Council of Obas and Chiefs in Oyo State, a situation which was reversed by the former governor of Oyo State, Adebayo Alao-Akala. The position of chairman is now rotated between the Alaafin and his two rivals, the Olubadan of Ibadanland and the Soun of Ogbomoso.
3. SULTAN OF SOKOTO The official title is Sultan of Sokoto and includes the title “Amir-ul-Momineen”. The post has become increasingly ceremonial since British rule, but the position of Sultan, still carries a lot of weight with Fulani and Hausa people from northern Nigeria. The current Sultan of Sokoto is Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar IV and he is the 20th Sultan of Sokoto. He took the mantle of leadership following the death of his brother, Muhammadu Maccido who lost his life in the unfortunate ADC Airlines Flight 53 crash. The position accords him the honour of being considered the spiritual leader of Nigeria’s 70 million Muslims which is roughly 50 percent of the nation’s population.
4. OONI OF IFE The Ọọ̀ni of Ilé-Ifẹ̀ is the traditional ruler of Ile-Ife. Ife refers to the people while the city is called Ile-Ife and its dynasty goes back hundreds of years. Ile-ife is an acient city in southwest Nigeria and currently sitting on the throne is the reigning Ọọ̀ni Okunade Adele Sijuwade. Born on the 1st of January, 1930 to the Ogboru ruling house, he was crowned on 6 December 1980. Very influential is the position of the Ooni of Ife that in August 2010, he mediated in the dispute between Oyo and Osun states concerning the ownership of Ladoke Akintola University. He is also reputed to have been a major player in determining who became the next governor of Osun state after Prince Olagundoye Oyinlola.
5. DEIN OF AGBOR Agbor also known as Ominije as it was founded by Omini from Aguleri and it is an Igbo town in Delta state. Agbor was once affiliated with the Benin Empire before Benin was conquered by the British. Sitting on the throne is Benjamin Ikenchuku Keagborekuzi who goes by the title of “Dein of Agbor” which is the name of his ruling house (the traditional ruler is usually referred to as Eze or Obi). He was crowned king just two years and four months after his birth following the death of his father making him the youngest monarch ever to ascend a royal throne according to the Guiness Book of Records in 1981. Following his coronation, he left the shores of Nigeria to pursue his academics and returned to Agbor in 2001. He was appointed the fourth Chancellor of the University of Ilorin by former president Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006 making him the youngest vice chancellor of a federal university. He is Officer in the Order of the Crown, Belgium and also the Vice-Chairman, Delta State Traditional Rulers Council.
6. OBA OF BENIN The Oba of Benin, or Omo N’Oba, is the traditional ruler of the Edo people and head of the historic Eweka dynasty of the Benin Kingdom. Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Erediauwa I was crowned ‘Oba of Benin Kingdom’ in 1979, making him the 38th Oba of Benin and the head of the traditional state of Benin. Since his ascension to the throne, he has used his position to settle disputes between politicians such as resolving the dispute between Anenih and former Edo state Governor Lucky Igbinedion.
7. OBA OF LAGOS Although holding no political power, the Oba of Lagos is usually sought for counsel and sponsorship by politicians. The King of Lagos is the traditional and ceremonial head of Lagos, a historical Yoruba kingdom that went on to become one of the largest cities in Africa after first giving its name to Lagos State, the acknowledged financial heart of contemporary Nigeria. The reigning Oba of Lagos is his Royal Highness Oba Rilwan Babatunde Osuolale Aremu Akiolu I who was took up the crown of king in 2003. He is also known as the Eleko of Eko
8. OLU OF ITSEKIRI/WARRI The Kingdom of Warri is a traditional state based on the town of Warri in Delta State, Nigeria. The Olu of Warri is the head of the Itsekiri people and the position is currently held by Godwin Toju Emiko who had his coronation on the 2nd of May, 1987. He was made a member of the Warri Traditional Council since 1983 and was also a Member of Warri Local Government Council, where he served in several capacities. A lawyer by profession and the second university graduate to ascend the great throne of Warri Kingdom.
9. OBI OF ONITSHA The post of Obi of Onitsha is recognized by the state and federal government as he is regarded as a representative of his people. He is the traditional leader of Onitsha in Anambra state and Igwe Nnayelugo Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe currently sits on the throne. Born on 14 May, 1941, he had his coronation on the 3rd of June, 2002 and has since then contributed significantly to the development of his people.
10. THE OLUBADAN OF IBADAN. The title Olubadan means “Lord of Ibadan” and it is the royal title of the king of Ibadan land. It usually takes decades to groom an Olubadan for the mantle through stages of chieftaincy promotion, thus meaning that just about any male born title-holder of the metropolitan center is a potential king. Olubadans are usually appointed from the two ruling lines to the throne, Egbe Agba (civil) and Balogun (military) on rotational basis following the death of a monarch. The 11 high chiefs that formed the Olubadan-in- council, apart from the Seriki and Iyalode, are recognised as the traditional head of each of the 11 LGs in Ibadanland. They are appointed as presidents of customary courts, who are expected to adjudicate on matrimonial, land, boundary and other communal disputes. Oba Samuel Odulana, Odugade is the current Olubadan and although the position like many other monarchical positions is now largely symbolic, the Olubadan remains a prominent figure and has influence on matters of local politics as well as question political leaders on issues such as violence, corruption and lack of true democracy in the region.