10 Famous Nigerian Kings


If we look at the history of the people of Nigeria, we see that all of Nigeria was divided into different tribes and cultures. When these different tribes and cultures started to take shape and have people in groups, those same groups started to decide the first set of leaders by using people with different gifts and qualities.

From all the stories of these different in each part of Nigeria and from memories passed on from one king to another, we can learn how the different methods and processes to pick leaders changed. Even today when Nigeria is not ruled by kings and the country has 36 states with different leaders in each, we can still learn the importance of kings from Nigeria. An important way we can learn about Nigerian history is by studying Nigeria’s rich and complex architecture, including its palaces and walled cities.

These demonstrate the historical significance of urban life in Nigeria. However, difficulties in preserving historical sites and an overreliance on oral traditions mean that we still have much to learn about Nigeria’s past. But one thing that we do know for certain is that Nigeria’s ancient kings, such as those listed in this article from Naijassador, played a particularly important role in shaping the country’s long and vibrant history and that’s what we are going to learn about next.

Oba of Benin (Oba Ewuare II)

The Oba of Benin holds a prominent position as the traditional ruler of the Edo people in Nigeria. Oba Ewuare II, born Eheneden Erediauwa, ascended the throne in 2016, succeeding his late father, Oba Erediauwa. He is renowned for his efforts in promoting cultural heritage and unity among the Benin people. Oba Ewuare II’s reign has seen a resurgence of traditional festivals, arts, and crafts, contributing to the preservation of Benin’s rich cultural legacy.


Emir of Kano (Muhammadu Sanusi II)

Muhammadu Sanusi II, formerly known as Lamido Sanusi, served as the Emir of Kano from 2014 until his deposition in 2020. He hails from the Fulani Sullubawa clan and is a prominent Islamic scholar and economist. During his tenure, Emir Sanusi II advocated for education, women’s rights, and economic development in northern Nigeria. Despite his controversial removal from office, his contributions to Kano’s cultural and intellectual landscape remain noteworthy.

Obi of Onitsha (Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe)

Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe is the traditional ruler of Onitsha, a prominent Igbo kingdom in southeastern Nigeria. As the Obi of Onitsha, he oversees cultural practices, traditions, and community development initiatives. Igwe Achebe is also a respected academic and has been actively involved in promoting education and entrepreneurship among the youth in his domain. His commitment to preserving Onitsha’s heritage and fostering progress has earned him widespread acclaim.

Sultan of Sokoto (Sa’adu Abubakar III)

Sa’adu Abubakar III serves as the Sultan of Sokoto, a position that holds significant spiritual and political authority among Nigerian Muslims. As the spiritual leader of the Sokoto Caliphate, Sultan Abubakar III promotes Islamic values, interfaith dialogue, and peace across the country. His influence extends beyond religious matters, as he also addresses social issues and advocates for unity and cooperation among diverse Nigerian communities.

Obong of Calabar (Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V)

The Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, is the paramount ruler of the Efik people in Cross River State. His traditional title symbolizes leadership and custodianship of Efik customs and traditions. Obong Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V is known for his efforts to promote cultural heritage, tourism, and environmental conservation in Calabar. Under his leadership, Calabar has become a cultural hub and a major tourist destination in Nigeria.


Ooni of Ife (Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi)

Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi ascended the throne as the Ooni of Ife in 2015, becoming a prominent figure in Yoruba traditional governance. His reign has been marked by initiatives aimed at promoting youth empowerment, cultural revival, and economic development in Ife and beyond. Oba Ogunwusi is also recognized for his efforts in fostering unity and collaboration among Yoruba monarchs and promoting the global visibility of Yoruba culture.

Oba of Lagos (Oba Rilwan Akiolu)

Oba Rilwan Akiolu is the traditional ruler of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub and one of its most populous cities. As the Oba of Lagos, he plays a pivotal role in cultural ceremonies, community affairs, and socio-economic development projects. Oba Akiolu is respected for his advocacy of traditional values, community cohesion, and youth empowerment initiatives aimed at addressing contemporary challenges facing Lagosians.

Ataoja of Osogbo (Oba Jimoh Oyetunji Olanipekun Larooye II)

The Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun Larooye II, is the custodian of traditional authority in Osogbo, a historic town in Osun State. His royal lineage traces back to the founding fathers of Osogbo, and he is revered for his role in preserving the town’s cultural heritage and promoting tourism. Oba Larooye II actively engages in community development projects and cultural festivals that celebrate Osogbo’s rich history and traditions.


Alaafin of Oyo (Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III)

Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III holds the prestigious title of the Alaafin of Oyo, a traditional monarchy with centuries of history in southwestern Nigeria. As the paramount ruler of the Oyo people, he embodies the cultural heritage and customs of the Yoruba kingdom. Oba Adeyemi III is known for his advocacy of Yoruba unity, cultural preservation, and socio-economic progress in Oyo and neighbouring regions. Sadly, the Alaafin of Oyo passed away on April 22, 2022, at the age of 83 years. He was confirmed dead at the Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti in Ekiti State, after developing complications related to prostate enlargement. He reigned for over 51 years until his death.

Emir of Zazzau (Ambassador Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli)

Ambassador Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli became the Emir of Zazzau in 2020, succeeding the late Emir Alhaji Shehu Idris. The Emir of Zazzau holds a significant position in the traditional hierarchy of northern Nigeria. Emir Bamalli, a seasoned diplomat, has focused on promoting peace, education, and economic development in Zazzau Emirate and beyond. His diplomatic experience and commitment to community welfare have earned him admiration among his subjects.

In Conclusion,

Nigeria’s famous kings represent a diverse tapestry of cultures, traditions, and historical legacies. Their roles as custodians of tradition, promoters of development, and symbols of unity underscore the enduring relevance of traditional institutions in Nigerian society. As Nigeria continues to evolve, these monarchs play vital roles in preserving heritage, fostering unity, and contributing to the nation’s progress.

Written by Sarah Aboje


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here