There are many monarchs in the country rightly considered first class traditional rulers but in this list, we have listed just the top 10 first class kings in Nigeria. These royal fathers are descendants of monarchs of old who in precolonial times, had political power but as time passed by, their powers were greatly reduced by successive colonial and post colonial governments but they still wield considerable influence over the people that are subject to them and they are seen as custodians of tradition and symbols of unity among their subjects. In summary, their titles are largely ceremonial these days.
As earlier stated, these first class kings in Nigeria wield much influence even over many other kings in their respective States and are considered the number one reigning traditional rulers in every State of the federation. Much of their influence date back to the several years of rich history that their various kingdoms had when their ancestors ruled in their time. Of a truth, there are many kings in Nigeria but not all of them are ranked equally. Some traditional rulers are higher than the others in hierarchy hence the title first class kings.
Most first class kings in the country are deified among the peoples of their various tribes and their influence in traditional matters and certain matters of state can never be overemphasized. Without further ado, the top 10 first class kings in Nigeria are listed and discussed below.
LIST OF THE TOP 10 FIRST CLASS KINGS IN NIGERIA CURRENTLY
OBI OF ONITSHA
The Obi of Onitsha is a first class king in Nigeria and the traditional ruler of Onitsha, one the largest cities in the country, located in Anambra State. He is a highly respected monarch in the State and is recognized nationally. The Obi of Onitsha is the traditional ruler in Igboland that is probably the most recognized and is often the first to be consulted on issues that have to do with the south eastern part of Nigeria. The current Obi of Onitsha is His Majesty, Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu Achebe.
OONI OF IFE
The Ooni of Ife is also a first class king in Nigeria and the reigning monarch of the ancient town of Ile-Ife, situated in present day Osun State. The Ooni is widely believed to be the most powerful and most important king in Yorubaland and he is a direct descendant of Oduduwa who was the godlike first Ooni of Ife and the progenitor of the Yoruba race. The Ooni of Ife, though not as powerful as he was before the coming of the British, is still very influential and highly recognized in Nigeria today. He is the spiritual leader of the Yoruba people as well. The current Ooni of Ife is Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II.
SULTAN OF SOKOTO
The Sultan of Sokoto a first class king in Nigeria that is the traditional ruler of Sokoto. He is a direct descendant of the first Caliph of the Sokoto Caliphate, Usman Dan Fodio and as the spiritual leader of all muslim faithfuls in Nigeria, he is known as the Commander of the Faithful or Leader of the Faithful. The Sultan of Sokoto is very influential and he supersedes every other traditional ruler in northern Nigeria. He is the head of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (Society for the Support of Islam – JNI), and president-general of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA). The current Sultan of Sokoto is Sultan Alhaju Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar IV.
EMIR OF KANO
The Emir of Kano is another first class king from northern Nigeria that is the traditional ruler of the Kano Emirate. He is second to the Sultan of Sokoto in rank in northern Nigeria and is a very influential figure in the country. Kano Emirate was formed during the Fulani Jihad which saw old Sultanate of Kano came under the control of the Sokoto Caliphate in 1805. The current Emir of Kano is His Royal Highness, Aminu Ado Bayero II, whose ascension to the throne came after the deposition of his nephew, His Highness, Muhammadu Sanusi II on May 9, 2020.
ALAAFIN OF OYO
The Alaafin of Oyo is a first class traditional ruler in Nigeria. The Alaafin was very powerful during the old Oyo Empire which stretched to Dahomey (what is now known as Benin Republic) at the height of its powers. Presently, the Alaafin of Oyo is the reigning monarch of Oyo town. The throne of the Alaafin of Oyo is one of the most influential and powerful monarchies in Nigeria. It is widely thought in Yorubaland that after the Ooni of Ife, who comes next in rank is the Alaafin of Oyo. The current traditional ruler of Oyo is Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III.
DEIN OF AGBOR
The Dein of Agbor is another first class traditional ruler on this list. Agbor is an ancient kingdom in Delta State and it was part of the Benin Empire before Benin fell to the British. The current reigning monarch of Agbor Kingdom is His Royal Majesty, Benjamin Ikenchukwu Keagborekuzi I. He became a the Dein of Agbor at the age of two years and four months in 1979 after the sudden death of his father. He is the current Chancellor of the University of Ilorin.
OBA OF BENIN
The Oba of Benin is a first class monarch who reigns over the Benin Kingdom and is the custodian of the culture and tradition of Edo State. He is the head of the ancient Eweka dynasty of the Benin Empire. The current Oba of Benin is Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Oba Ewuare II who ascended the throne on October 20, 2016. He is one of the most popular, most powerful and most influential traditional rulers in Nigeria.
OBA OF LAGOS
The Oba of Lagos is one of the most popular first class traditional rulers in Nigeria presently. His influence in Lagos State is felt even in government despite the fact that he has no political power. Although he is styled as the Oba of Lagos, his jurisdiction and territory largely spans the whole of Lagos Island, one of the largest cities in Lagos State. The current reigning monarch of Lagos is Oba Ridwan Babatunde Osuolale Aremu Akiolu I, he ascended the throne in 2003 and he is also known as the Eleko of Eko.
OLU OF WARRI
The Olu of Warri is a first class monarch in Nigeria who is the trafitional ruler of the Itseriki people of Warri in Delta State. The current Olu of Warri is His Majesty, Godfery Ikenwoli Emiko I. He has been on the throne since 1987. He has also been a member of the Warri Government Council since 1983. He is a lаwуеr bу рrоfеѕѕіоn the second university grаduаtе to аѕсеnd the throne оf the ancient kіngdоm of Warri.
OLUBADAN OF IBADAN
The Olubadan of Ibadan is a first class king in Nigeria that reigns over the ancient city of Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State. Like all other kings mentioned, the Olubadan is also a ceremonial king with no political power but has influence over his subjects and is consulted by the State government on traditional matters. The current Olubadan of Ibadan is Oba Saliu Adetunji who ascended the throne in 2016.
Other worthy mentions include:
- Tor Tiv
- Etsu Nupe (Traditional Ruler of Bida Emirate)
- Obong of Calabar
- Attah of Igala
- Olugbo of Ugbo Kingdom
- Asagba of Asaba
- Ovie of Agbon Kingdom
- Alake of Egbaland.