First Class Traditional Rulers in Nigeria: Top 5 (Updated)

Last updated on August 4th, 2023 at 08:13 pm

Nigerian First-Class Traditional Rulers

These first class kings in Nigeria are considered powerful monarchs. They hold influence over regions and tribe in which they reside. First class traditional rulers are seen as demi-gods in Nigeria. They are known to wield authority and supremacy in the country Most of these traditional rulers live long lives on their throne.


Not all Igwe’s, Obi’s, Oba’s and Emirs are regarded as first class. So, if you want to know who are the top 5 first class rulers in Nigeria, this post will do justice to that.

5 First Class Traditional Rulers in Nigeria

1. Obi of Onitsha

Onitsha is located in Anambra state and is regarded as the commercial hub of the South-East. His Royal Highness Obi Igwe Nnayelugo Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe is the current Obi of Onitsha and is also the Chairman of the Anambra State Council of Traditional Rulers. Born on March 14, 1941, the Obi of Onitsha is one of the most respected traditional monarch in Nigeria and he has influence over all igwe’s in the south-east.

2. Oba of Benin

The Oba of Benin, or Omo N’Oba, Emini mini mini is the traditional ruler of the people of Edo. He is a highly respected traditional ruler in Nigeria. The current and 39th Oba of the Benin Kingdom is His Royal Majesty Oba Ehenede Erediauwa who took over the throne after the death of Oba Akpolokpolo Erediauwa. The Oba of Benin is also a first-class traditional ruler in Nigeria.

3. Sultan of Sokoto

The Sultan of Sokoto is revered as the spiritual leader of the Muslim faithful in Nigeria and the supreme traditional ruler of the Sokoto caliphate which was founded by Uthman Dan Fodio. He is also one of the most powerful kings in Nigeria having great influence over the whole northern tribes of the country.

Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar IV is the 20th Sultan of the Caliphate and is seen as the highest ranked traditional ruler in Nigeria

4. Emir of Kano

The former Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, a popular outspoken figure in Nigeria. Just like the sultan of Sokoto, the Emir is also respected and regarded as a first class traditional monarch in Nigeria.

Update: Sanusi Lamido has been dethroned as the Emir of Kano under the command of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje. This occured on the 9th of April, 2024.

Aminu Ado Bayero, the Emir of Bichi & the son of the late Emir Ado Bayero, emerges as the new Kano Emir. This happened after the dethronement of Muhammadu Sanusi II. This was officially announced in the presence of the Kano Emirate kingmaker and other stakeholders at Kano Government House, Kano.

5. Ooni of Ife

The Ooni of Ile-Ife (Ọọ̀ni of Ilè-Ifẹ̀) is the traditional ruler of Ile-Ife. This town in Nigeria is seen as the core of the Yoruba people. The Ooni dynasties date back hundreds of years. History has it that all the Ooni are traced down to Oduduwa, who is regarded as the ancestral father of all Yoruba people. The Ooni of Ife is one of the most influential kings in Nigeria and a first class ruler. The current Ooni of Ife, His Royal Highness, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II succeed Oba Okunade Sijuwade after his demise.

What other First Class traditional rulers in Nigeria do you know? Use the comment below to keep in touch

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Oluchi Chukwu

Oluchi is a seasoned Information blogger, content developer and the editor of Nigerian Queries. She is a tech enthusiast who loves reading, writing and research

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