Traditional Ruler’s | States, Language and their Traditional Ruler’s 

Traditional Ruler’s | States, Language and their Traditional Ruler’s: The major states at the time were seen in West Africa in 1625. The eastern portion of this region is occupied by modern Nigeria, including Oyo, the Benin Empire (unrelated to the present Republic of Benin), the Igbo States to the east, and the Hausa/Fulani States to the north, such as Katsina and Kano.

Traditional Nigerian rulers frequently derive their titles from the rulers of independent states or communities that existed before modern Nigeria’s creation. Although they do not have formal political authority, they continue to command respect from their people in many instances and have a tremendous impact.


While the monarchical styles and titles of their sovereign ancestors are generally retained by their bearers, both their autonomous practices and their relations with the central and regional governments of Nigeria are similar in substance to those of the high nobility of ancient Europe than to those of the real monarchs in power.

Pre-colonial age: Modern Nigeria covers lands historically populated with very distinct languages and customs by extremely diverse ethnic groups. Broadly speaking, the southeast was primarily occupied by Igbo, the Niger Delta by people affiliated with Edo and Igbo, the southwest by Yoruba and related people, and the north by Hausa and Fulani people, with a complex intermingling of various ethnic groups between north and south in the Middle Belt. In total, more than 200 distinct ethnic groups have been (and are).

The history of the region was tumultuous before the British arrived in the late 19th century, with periods when empires such as Oyo, Benin, Kanem-Bornu, and Sokoto gained power over vast regions, and other periods when the states were more fragmented.[3] While political structures varied widely between different ethnic groups, it was typical for each city or set of cities. The Sokoto caliphate was therefore divided into emirates, with the emirs loosely subordinated to the Sultan of Sokoto, while often functioning as autonomous rulers.

Period of the Colonies: Europeans traded with the coastal states for a long time, mainly trading cotton and other manufactured goods at centers such as Calabar, Bonny, and Lagos for slaves and palm oil items. A small area along the coast was created in 1891 by the Niger Coast Protectorate. The Royal Niger Company made a concerted attempt to take control of the interior during the period 1879-1900, using disciplined forces armed with the Maxim gun and making “protection” treaties with the local rulers. In 1900, the territory of the company was sold to the British government, with the southern area combining with the Niger Coast Protectorate to form the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria and the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria remaining independent. The two were combined into Nigeria’s Colony and Protectorate in 1914, with approximately the same limits as the present state of Nigeria.

Lord Frederick Lugard, the first British High Commissioner for Northern Nigeria, sought to rule over the traditional rulers, and this approach was later applied to the south. Hugh Clifford, Lugard’s successor, left this structure in place in the north, where the Emirate system had long traditions, but formed a legislative council with some elected representatives in the south, relegating the traditional rulers to largely symbolic roles. The relationship between the colonial government and the traditional rulers has changed over time. For instance, the Tiv people, the country’s fourth-largest ethnic group at the time, had always been highly decentralized and thus had no supreme ruler. In 1947, the British established the Tor Tiv office, naming Makere Dzakpe as the first holder of this title, to have a “traditional ruler” to speak for the people of Tiv.

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Nigeria Independent: The status of the traditional rulers evolved even more with independence in 1960, followed by alternating democratic and military regimes. In the north, the Emirs gradually lost control of the government administration, while traditional notables also staffed the administration. Where rulers had previously assumed office solely by descent or selection by a council of elders, the government became more and more interested in the succession. Thus, in May 1994, Awwal Ibrahim, Sarkin Suleja, was deposed by Military Ruler General Sani Abacha, although he was subsequently reinstated in January 2000.

The government has combined or broken conventional domains in some cases. For eg, in the region around Calabar, there were two rulers of the Efik people, but in December 1970 it was decided to merge the office into one that was to be held by a ruler known as the Obong. There were only four emirates when Yobe State was formed, but in January 2000 the state governor Bukar Abba Ibrahim restructured the state into 13. The government retained c. Thus, when three new monarchs were appointed by Kwara State Governor Bukola Saraki in August 2010, the new Emir of Kaiama was appointed a first-class traditional ruler, while the Onigosun of Igosun and Alaran of Aran-Orin was appointed third-class monarchs.

In many cultures, traditional rulers today are still highly regarded and have significant political and economic influence. While they have no official role in the democratic process, among the finite pool of eligible dynasties there is intense competition for royal seats. Within the Nigerian system of chieftaincy, the rulers may also grant traditional or honorary titles. These titles come with ex officio roles in their “administrations” and the possession of such titles is also of great importance to wealthy businessmen and politicians.

In mediating between the people and the state, the rulers play useful roles in strengthening national identity, resolving minor disputes, and providing an internal security valve for sometimes insufficient state bureaucracies. One explanation for their power may be that the people of many ethnic groups have little capacity to interact in the official English language. On their appointment, among other incentives, they received new cars. The chairman of the council of chiefs of Akwa Ibom said that the traditional fathers were responsible for stopping robberies and kidnappings in their territories in exchange.

List of States, Language and their Traditional Ruler’s 

There are many names for traditional rulers, as there are 521 different languages native to Nigeria.

  • Emir is generally used in the English language in the northern Muslim states, but names in the local languages include Sarki, Shehu, Mai, Etsu, and Lamido.
  • The Aku Uka of the Kwararafa kingdom, the traditional Jukun monarch, whose seat is in Wukari, Taraba State, is an example.
  • Agawam is used by the Berom in the southern Kaduna State and Plateau State among the Atyap people, Kpop among the Ham; Agwom among the Adara, Afizere, Bakula, and Gbong Gwom.
  • Tor is used by the Idoma of Benue State by the Tiv and the Oche.
  • The Goemai and Ngas, respectively, use Long and Ngolong, and the Tarok, both from the Plateau Province, use Ponzi.
  • The Ebira in Kogi and Nasarawa States use Ohinoyi and Ohimegye.
  • Ere is used by the Koro Wachi;
  • Numana, Nizam, Nikyob-Nindem are used by the Eggon, Etum, and Tum;
  • Chun is used by the southern Kaduna and Nasarawa States by the Mada.
  • The Igala of Kogi State uses Attah or Onu
  • Etsu is used in the middle belt of the country by the Nupe of Kogi, Niger, Kwara, and Abuja as well as by the Dibo, Kakanda, BassaNge, and Gbagyi.
  • Oba is the title of the paramount ruler of the Benin Kingdom in the Edo State. Within the Benin Kingdom, Enogie (plural engine) and Okao (plural ikao) are attributed to his dukes and viceroys, while Odionwere is attributed to his governors or senior elders. In practice, enigies are not installed in ikao communities, as both traditional rulers and Oba members are responsible for maintaining their respective communities. The Esan people use Onojie to refer to their separate rulers in the state of Edo, while the Afamai people use Otaru and Okwokpellagbe. There are also other names included.
  • The general title used by the Urhobos and Isokos of the Delta state is Ovie. However, some clans, including Orodje, Orosuen, Ohworode, Odion-Ologbo, and Odio r’Ode, use similar names.
  • The Efik, Ibibio, and Annang peoples of the states of Cross River and Akwa Ibom also use Obong.
  • The Yoruba people also use Oba to refer to their different rulers, although other titles are also used, unique to the people and/or location ruled, such as Ooni, Alake, Alaafin, Awujale, Olomu, Akarigbo, Orangun, Olu’wo, Eleko, Olumushin and Eburu.
  • Obi, Igwe, and Eze are common titles among Igbo rulers in the southeast.
  • Amanyanabo of the Ijaw.

However, do not hesitate to use the comment section if you have any questions or contributions on the subject.

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