Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s Dethronement: Four Things You Should Know About The Power Of Traditional Rulers In Nigeria

March 12, 2020

Few days ago, the now former Emir of Kano Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was dethroned by Abdullahi Ganduje, Governor of Kano State for alleged “disrespect” to the state government. The news was a shock to everyone and raised questions about the place and authority of monarchs in Nigeria. Here are four things you need to know about how monarchy works in Nigeria:


  1. Monarchs are public servants: Monarchs in Nigeria occupy a unique space – they are not employed like civil servants and they are not elected into office like politicians. Instead, they are public servants in the employment of the state. In other words, the state government has authority over the role of traditional rulers.
  2. Monarchs are paid by the state government: By law, traditional rulers are paid by the state government under whose purview they fall under. The state. government can also decide to remunerate the monarch however it chooses, give them land, bonuses or allowances.
  3. State governments can create new territories and assign monarchs to oversee them: Just like Ganduje create four new emirates in ano to whittle down Sanusi’s influence, other governors can also create new territories and assign traditional rulers over them. In 2005, then Kwara state governor Bukola Saraki also created three new kingdoms and assigned one ‘first class monarch’ and ‘two third-class monarchs.
  4. Monarchs play no formal role in governance: Traditional rulers cannot enact policies or create laws separate from the constituted state legislature. They often serve as conduits between the government and the people but they generally do not interfere with politics except for their own gains.
  5. Evidently, the powers of traditional rulers in Nigeria are, for the most part, overrated by the populace. Thanks to colonial influences, monarchs do not hold the kind of power they once did before colonization. We know you didn’t know before, but now you do. You’re welcome.

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