List of Paramount Rulers in Nigeria

The monarchical system of government, or kingship, does not now have a place in Nigeria’s political system. Remember that between 1960 and 1963, Nigeria was ruled by Queen Elizabeth II, who also served as the country’s ceremonial head of state. The monarchical form of government has, nevertheless, always been a part of Nigerian history and culture, and this is still the case today.

The term “traditional rulers” is used to describe them. Their status as kings allows them to exercise authority over the lands they have been given. The traditional titles of the areas they control, such as Obi, Oba, Emir, Ooni, and so forth, are used to refer to Nigerian traditional rulers instead of the popular term “kings” in the local dialect.

Whatever the name, they continue to have kingly positions. Traditional leaders continue to have a significant impact on the government, particularly at the local level, although the post of king does not exist within Nigeria’s parliamentary system. Nonetheless, the traditional chiefs’ function in Nigerian politics and the government is entirely advisory.

In Nigeria, becoming a king is an honor. In Nigeria, there are quite a few monarchs who are regarded as the most powerful, measured by the extent of their authority there.

The eight most powerful traditional chieftains in Nigeria are listed below. They are what we refer to as powerful because both the public and the government pay attention when they talk.

1. Obi of Onitsha 

Both the state and the federal governments acknowledge the position of Obi of Onitsha. Although he serves as Onitsha’s traditional chief, he is still considered a representative of the Igbo people in the Anambra state. The current king is Igwe Nnayelugo Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe.

He was born on May 14, 1941, was crowned on June 3, 2002, and has since made important contributions to the advancement of his people.

2. Olu of Warri 

At Delta state’s Niger Delta town of Warri, he has his capital. The Kingdom of Warri maintains several traditions that make it a force to be reckoned with even in the present.

The Olu of Warri is the leader of the Itsekiri people, and Godwin Toju Emiko now occupies the post. He was crowned on May 2, 1987. The second university graduate to take the reign of the Warri Kingdom, he is a lawyer by trade. Emiko was elected to the Warri Traditional Council in 1983 and also served in many roles on the Warri Local Government Council.

3. Oba of Benin 

The Oba of Benin was once revered as a god rather than a human being at some period in Nigerian history.

There is a legend among the Benin people that a ruler will never look upon his first son. The son is already king at birth, hence it is necessary to remove him from the palace because no two kings can rule the same realm.

The traditional head of the Edo people and head of the illustrious Eweka dynasty of the Benin Kingdom is known as the Oba of Benin, or Omo N’Oba.

On Thursday, October 20, 2016, the 39th Oba of the Benin Kingdom and the 70th head of state under the Ogiso dynasty were crowned. Crown Prince Eheneden Erediauwa was crowned on that day. The oldest and most prestigious monarchy in Nigeria, Eheneden assumed his forefathers’ 836-year-old kingdom.

4. Ooni of Ife

The traditional head of state of Ile-Ife is known as the ni of Ilé-If. Ife refers to the inhabitants of the significant Yoruba city of Ile-Ife.

It is a dynasty with a long history dating back many centuries. The current monarch, Ni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, rules over the ancient city of Ile-Ife in southwest Nigeria.

He replaced the late Oba Okunade Sijuwade, who passed away on July 28, 2015, and was born on October 17, 1974. He assumed the throne on October 26, 2015. The Ooni of Ife has a position of great influence. On June 12, 2016, Ni was honored with the declaration of the town of Franklin alongside his wife, Olori Wuraola Ogunwusi, the Yeyelua, and given the key to the City of Somerset in Franklin Township, New Jersey.

5. Alaafin of Oyo

A monarch who is widely regarded throughout Yorubaland, the Alaafin of Oyo, reigns alongside a king with several wives.

One of the most prestigious and prominent monarchical titles one can hold in Nigeria is Alaafin of Oyo. Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, the current Alaafin of Oyo, succeeded Alaafin Gbadegesin Ladigbolu II to the throne in 1970. Adebayo Alao-Akala, the former governor of Oyo State, deprived him of his chairmanship.

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6. Oba of Lagos 

Several people would contest the fact that this name is here for several very reasonable reasons. Nonetheless, it is impossible to discuss Nigeria without mentioning Lagos, the country’s principal economic center.

The management of affairs of Nigeria’s top metropolitan city, Lagos, depends heavily on the Oba of Lagos.

Even though he has no political influence, politicians frequently seek the advice and support of the Oba of Lagos. The King of Lagos is the traditional and ceremonial ruler of Lagos, a historical Yoruba kingdom that gave its name to Lagos state, the acknowledged financial center of modern Nigeria, before going on to become one of the greatest cities in Africa.

His Royal Highness Oba Rilwan Babatunde Osuolale Aremu Akiolu I, who ascended to the throne in 2003, is the current Oba of Lagos. The Eleko of Eko is another name for him.

7. Emir of Kano

The Kano Emirate was established in 1805, and its ruler is known as the Emir of Kano. History states that the Emirate was established when the Sokoto Caliphate annexed the former Hausa Sultanate of Kano during the Fulani Jihad.

The King’s Highness After replacing Alhaji Dr. Ado Abdullahi Bayero, who rose to the throne in 1963 and held the position until his passing on June 6, 2014, Mallam Muhammad Sanusi II is now the Emir of Kano. Before ascending to the throne, Malam Sanusi was a renowned banker and the previous Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. He has received two honors from The Banker, a global publication of financial intelligence, including the global award for Central Bank Governor of the Year and the Central Bank Governor of the Year for Africa. He was also included in TIME magazine’s 2011 list of the most influential people.

In Nigeria, Sanusi’s voice has a particularly potent impact. The government and the populace pay close attention whenever the emir speaks on matters of national importance. The Emir of Kano has recently started using his power to change some harmful notions that many people in the north still adhere to. He has been talking about the rights of girls, especially when it comes to education. He thinks that many northerners have been in the dark for too long because of holding on to some outdated dogmas. The Ooni of Ife discusses how the great leaders of this time must work to alter people’s lives in the video that follows.

8. Sultan of Sokoto

The person formally known as the “Sultan of Sokoto” is one of the most important kings in the north. The phrase “Amir-ul-Momineen” is also used. Under British occupation, the role of the Sultan has become more ceremonial, but Fulani and Hausa people from northern Nigeria still value it highly.

Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar IV is the 20th Sultan of Sokoto and is currently in power. After his brother Muhammadu Maccido perished in the tragic ADC Airlines Flight 53 tragedy, he assumed the mantle of leadership.

As a result of his position, he has the honor of being regarded as the spiritual head of Nigeria’s 70 million Muslims or around 50% of the country’s population.


As it is not part of Nigeria’s governmental structure, kingship in Nigeria plays a significant role in local governance as well as other spheres. They are more in touch with the people than the government, and they are the foundation for the survival of the diverse ethnic customs and traditions that promote harmony and uphold the national identity. In this article, the most powerful rulers of Nigeria have been featured.

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