The dethronement of a monarch in Nigeria is mostly received with shock and arguments with many still stuck to the belief that traditional rulers are independent rulers and indisposable.
However, such belief could not be entirely discarded based on how different territories were ruled before the colonial era which brought alterations in the powers conferred on monarchs.
But with independence in 1960, followed by alternating military and democratic governments, the powers of the traditional rulers became more subjected to the ruling government.
And with the pattern of democracy in modern Nigeria, monarchs are formally appointed and funded by Governors which make their positions more vulnerable to change at any point.
Although Nigerian traditional rulers occupy very reverend positions and are well respected in society, they are also regarded as the closest to the gods of the land but this is always not enough when they become targets of political leaders.
However, to further note that removing a monarch is not new to Nigeria, here is a list of monarchs that were dethroned during the colonial era and after Nigeria earned independence.
Ovoramwen Nogbaisi, Oba of Benin
Trouble began for Oba Ovonramwen Nogbaisi in 1896 when the British government was pushing for the British annexation of the Benin Empire.
Ovọnramwẹn Nọgbaisi who was enthroned in 1888 became the target of the British government as he exercised a monopoly over trade which the British found irksome.
Benin Empire was also coveted because of its rich natural resources such as palm oil, rubber, and ivory and the kingdom was largely independent of British control.
Vice-Consul James Robert Phillips and Captain Gallwey (the British vice-Consul of Oil Rivers Protectorate) intensified the effort to dethrone Ovọnramwẹn Nọgbaisi.
However, a British invasion force headed by Phillips set out to overthrow the Ọba in 1896 was ambushed and Philips was murdered.
A followed-up military operation against Benin in 1897 made the oba sought shelter elsewhere but was captured and trialed in accordance with British law.
He was subsequently found guilty before being deposed. He was said to have angered the British government through various actions such as forbidding his people from trading with the British and barring the white men from entering Benin after he discovered a treaty signed with the government was a “tactic to annex Benin into the British Empire.”
According to Wikipedia, Ovonramwen was exiled to Calabar with two of his wives, Queen Egbe and Queen Aighobahi.
He was received and hosted in Calabar in a small town called “Essien Town” by Etinyin Essien Etim Offiong, the progenitor of Essien Town.
He died in Calabar around the turn of the new year in 1914. Ovọnramwẹn was eventually buried in the grounds of the royal palace in Benin City.
Mohammed Awwal Ibrahim
Awwal Ibrahim became the Emir, or Sarki, of Suleja in 1993.
His accession resulted in rioting and destruction of property by opponents and was deposed on 10 May 1994 by General Sani Abacha.
According to Wikipedia, after the return to democracy, Awwal Ibrahim was restored to his title of Emir of Suleja on 17 January 2000. His restoration again caused a series of violent clashes, forcing the government to call in anti-riot troopers and impose a 20-hour curfew.
In September 2001, Ibrahim was awarded the title of Commander of the Niger.
In 2010 he was chairman of the Niger State government’s Committee on Reformation of Almajiri. The Almajiri are itinerant students of the Quran who depend on alms to survive.
Mustapha Jokolo, the 19th Emir of Gwandu, was dethroned by the Kebbi state government in June 2005.
He was dethroned for allegedly making reckless statements “capable of threatening national security” and was banished to Obi, a remote village in Nasarawa state, According to allAfrica.com.
On the 5th of June 2005, the state government announced Mohammed Jega as the new Emir of Gwandu in Kebbi State.
According to Newsexpressngr, a Kebbi state high court later ordered the reinstatement of Jokolo in 2014, about nine years later. But legal tangles have made this impossible.
Muhammadu Sanusi I
Muhammadu Sanusi I was dethroned in 1963.
Prior to the appointment of Sanusi I as Emir of Kano, he worked as a senior counselor of the emirate council where he controlled the administration of the emirate, as the sole native authority for over a decade.
According to Wikipedia, he became a member of the regional House of Assembly in 1947. He was closely affiliated with Ibrahim Niass and the Tijani Sufi. For a while, he accompanied Niass on pilgrimages to Mecca and was later appointed Caliph of the Tijaniyyah order in Nigeria.
And upon his emergence in 1954, the late emir, known for his strong relationship with the emerging western educated elite, brought a major shift in the running of his office.
He was vocal about anything he perceived wrong and never cared to step on toes so far it’s for the right reasons.
He was charismatic, politically sound and had substantial influence in colonial Northern Nigeria. He hosted Queen Elizabeth II when she visited Kano in 1956.
He was also actively involved in the formation of the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), where he brought many groups into the NPC.
However, trouble began when most of the senior members of the NPC in Kaduna resented his opinion on major issues.
The power tussle between him and his distant cousin Sir Ahmadu Bello the Sardauna of Sokoto was also believed to have added to his troubles.
He was also accused of insubordination to the political authorities.
And since he was mostly viewed by the people as an incorruptible man, he was quickly accused of mismanaging the funds meant for the Kano native authority.
A probe panel was set up and members of the native authority testified before D. J. M. Muffet, the sole commissioner.
According to The Cable, the panel recommended the resignation of the emir and the regional government implemented the recommendation, thereby requesting Sanusi I to resign. And without hesitation, the late emir tendered his resignation to Kashim Ibrahim, the then governor of the northern region on March 28, 1963.
Sanusi I went into exile at Azare, a city in Bauchi state, where he kept a low profile. He spent 20 years in exile before returning to Wudil, Kano, where he died.
Muhammad Sanusi II
Muhammad Sanusi II, (born Sanusi Lamido Sanusi on 31 July, 1961) was the 14th Emir of Kano from the Fulani Sullubawa clan.
He ascended the throne in 2014, following the death of his great uncle Ado Bayero I and was dethroned on the 9th of March 2020.
He was deposed by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.
Sanusi was seen as a reformist and had been critical of some government policies. He was, however, deposed for showing “insubordination” to the authorities in the northern state of Kano.
According to the statement released by the Kano state government, he was removed “in order to safeguard the sanctity, culture, tradition, religion, and prestige of the Kano emirate.”
In the statement, he was also accused of “total disrespect” of institutions and the governor’s office for failing to attend state functions and official meetings for months.
Sanusi is known for voicing his opinions, but the government said there are restrictions on what an emir can say.
Spokesman to Governor Ganduje, Mr. Salihu Yakasai said “The position of Emir comes with its own restrictions which Sanusi didn’t take cognizance of. Sanusi did not grow up in Kano State. He does not understand the traditional institution that he was occupying.
“Sanusi always goes to the gallery to talk about issues to get the applause.”
Prior to his dethronement, He was also accused of selling property and mismanaging funds but he secured a court order stopping the probe.
Umaru Abba Tukur
The Emir of Muri, Umaru Abba Tukur OFR, was installed on 6 November 1965 and deposed on 12 August 1986, according to Wikipedia.
He was dethroned for perceived insubordination to the governor of the state.
Muri was under old Gongola State, which was governed by Yohanna Madaki at the time.
Madaki accused the emir of inappropriate conduct in the palace but historians said it was because the governor thought the emir too hot-headed to handle, according to Sahara Reporters.
The state was later divided into Adamawa and Taraba in 1991.
The 18th Sultan of Sokoto was also dethroned by the military government of Sani Abacha.
He was appointed on 6 December 1988 and was dethroned in 1996 after he was accused of causing enmity among the people and among the royal family, ignoring government directives and traveling outside his domain without approval or notice from the government.
He was flown to Yola and then later sent on exile to Jalingo, according to Wikipedia.
Adeniran Adeyemi II
Adeniran Adeyemi II ascended the throne as the Alaafin of Oyo in 1945.
He was deposed and exiled in 1954 for sympathizing with the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC).
He had come into conflict with Bode Thomas, deputy leader of the Action Group
In 1950, Awolowo established the Action Group, promising freedom from British rule among other things for all those who followed him, particularly the westerners.
The Alaafin was among those who did not identify with Awolowo and did not hide the fact that he was a fan of Nnamdi Azikwe and by extension the National Council of Nigerians and the Cameroons (NCNC), a rival party for Awolowo’s camp.
He was at some point also accused of conspiring to work against the regional government, part of what led to his suspension and eventual dethronement.
Please read original article by By Femi Kehinde on Premium Times
Ibikunle Akitoye was among the earliest prominent traditional rulers dethroned.
Akintoye became the Oba of Lagos in 1841 after his nephew, Prince Kokoso, who should have been crowned was missing.
Akintoye, however, was deposed in 1845, with the involvement of Prince Kosoko who later succeeded him.
Akintoye was said to have gone against the advice of his chiefs by recalling Kosoko in an attempt to reconcile and held him closer but the result was that he lost the throne to him but later got it back through the help of the British in 1851.
Olateru Olagbegi ruled as the Olowo of Owo on two occasions.
He was first appointed in 1941, ruled for 25 years before he was deposed and sent into exile reportedly as a result of a regional crisis between two Action Group leaders: Obafemi Awolowo and Samuel Akintola.
The Action Group was birthed in his palace about 10 years earlier but a misunderstanding between the two leaders in the early 1960s saw the traditional ruler taking sides with Akintola.
His decision did not go down well with some members of his community, the end result which was a revolt against him in 1966. He was deposed and subsequently banished, only to be re-instated in 1993, following the death of the reigning monarch.
According to PM NEWS, Oluwadare Adesina, the former Deji of Akure, was dethroned in 2010 after he led a group of individuals to beat up Bolanle Adesina, his estranged wife.
He was deposed after the Ondo State government invoked sections 17(1) and (2) of the state’s chiefs law, accusing him of conducting himself in the “most dishonorable, condemnable and disgraceful manner.”
Edenojie was dethroned by Edo state government under Adams Oshiomhole’s directive on the 9th of November 2016.
According to the notice he was served which was circulated by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), he was deposed as the “Ojuromi of Uromi pursuant to Section 28 (i & ii) of the Traditional Rulers & Chiefs Law, 1979.”
Edenojie’s problem with the Oshiomhole government began on September 28, when he was accused of assaulting a woman during the polls.
According to NAN, he was also accused of interfering in the conduct of the election, leaving his palace to canvass votes for the PDP candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
The government, however, gave him a query and ordered him to apologise to the woman assaulted. But he ignored the letter and even ignored the government by traveling out of his domain.