Traditional Rulers Should be included in Nigeria’s Democratic Process

16 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2020

Date Written: October 12, 2020


Nigeria recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of independence from the United Kingdom on 1 October. The institution of Traditional Rulers which predates the colonial project in Nigeria despite the importance of the institution in the governance particularly at the grassroots level has no formal role in Nigeria’s democratic process. This paper analysis the historical context of the role of monarchs and nobility as a key component of the participatory democracy despite its current non-inclusion in the current constitutional framework. In examining the status and position of the institution of monarchs with emphasis on South Western Nigeria but also other countries in Africa and Malaysia, the very essence of democracy connotes the integration of institutions in building a sustainable and cohesive democracy which the legitimacy of Nigeria’s Traditional Rulers provide. In a truly federal system of government, institutions of government should be local to the people they govern. This outlines the reasons why Nigeria should fully integrate its Traditional Rulers into the constitutional framework with a legislative mandate, competences and powers similar to that which they enjoyed in Nigeria’s First Republic (1963 to 1966) and to the Countries in Africa and Malaysia with similar roles.

Keywords: Chiefs, Colonialism, Constitution, Customary Law, Democracy, Federal, Government, Kings, Law, Legislature, Local Government, Monarchy, Participation, Politics, Traditional Rulers, Yoruba

JEL Classification: K10, K19, K33, N40, N47, N97

Suggested Citation

Osinuga, Omoba Oladele Opeolu, Traditional Rulers Should be included in Nigeria’s Democratic Process (October 12, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Omoba Oladele Opeolu Osinuga (Contact Author)

Supreme Court of Nigeria ( email )

Three-Arms Zone

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