Across Nigeria, traditional rulers control the affairs of their kingdom. They promote peace and unity. Beyond this, they are also the custodians of culture and tradition. Hence, their roles cannot be belittled or downplayed. Among the thousands of traditional rulers, some of them stand out because they are quite powerful. In no particular order, we identify some powerful traditional rulers in Nigeria:
Ooni of Ife
The throne of the Ooni of Ife is currently occupied by Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II. He is the 51st Ooni and succeeded the late Oba Okunade Sijuwade, who died on July 28, 2015. His power extends beyond Ife to nearly all the nooks and crannies of Yorubaland based on the fact that Ife is the cradle of the Yorubas.
Emir of Kano
Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is one of the popular traditional rulers in Nigeria. The outspoken former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria was born on 31 July 1961. He is also known as Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II. He has been serving as Emir since 8th June 2014 and was crowned after the death of his grand-uncle Ado Bayero who died on 6th June 2014.
Alaafin of Oyo
HRH Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III is the Alaafin of Oyo. He took the staff of office on the 18th of November 1970 and has spent 47 years as the Alaafin.
Oba of Lagos
Oba Rilwan Akiolu is the Oba of Lagos. He is one of the most powerful, influential and richest traditional rulers in the country. He ascended the throne in 2003.
Akran of Badagry
The story of Nigeria’s slave trade is incomplete without referencing Badagry. The Akran of Badagry is HRH De Aholu Menu-Toyi I. He has spent 40 years on the throne.
Oba of Benin
The stool of the Oba of Benin is a well-respected institution in Nigeria. It is steeped in so much mystery and culture that it leaves you puzzled, amused and confused. The current Oba of Benin is HRH Eheneden Erediauwa who goes by the title Ewuare II. He was coronated in 2016 after the death of his father, Omo n’Oba n’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo.
Awujale of Ijebuland
At the age of 25, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona-Ogbagba II ‘AWUJALE’ became the Awujale of Ijebuland. He had just returned from London when the news of the passage of the then Awujale, Oba Gbelegbuwa II broke. He has spent 56 years as Awujale and he is one of the longest serving monarchs in Nigeria.
Sultan of Sokoto
Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III is the 20th Sultan of Sokoto. He became the Sultan on November 2, 2006, after his senior brother, Sultan Muhammad Maccido died in a plane crash.
Obi of Onitsha
HRM Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu Achebe, CFR, MNI is the 21st Obi of Onitsha. He is one of the powerful traditional rulers in South East Nigeria.
Written By Damilola Faustino