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List of Top 20 Traditional Rulers Dethroned in Nigerian History

The news of the dethronement of the highly revered Emir of Kano and former Central Bank President, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi II, by the Kano State government under the Leadership of Gov. Ganduje came to many as a rude shock, particularly his admirers, and it is nothing but another historical event recorded, that will for long, be a reminder of the place of the traditional rulers in the hands of Nigerian politics and many of it’s elements.

The event is also another page in the annals of Nigerian history that reminds one of the ever reoccurring cases of deposition of kings in Nigeria by governing authorities, when there are loggerheads, and it is just the right time to go back in time to remind all, that many kings in Nigeria have been removed, deposed and dethroned from their palaces for many reasons.

Reasons for dethronement often ranges from being at loggerheads with the power that be, particularly the government which often leads to official pronouncements of dethronement, self exiled to avoid abduction or sometimes removal by court injunctions that eventually order the king to vacate the throne.

Sometimes, dethronement might be caused by uprisings and revolts among subjects as a result of displeasure with reigns, or allegations of misbehavior and misconducts.

So, Who and who among Nigerian Kings have be thrown out of their thrones against their wishes???

Well, I have taken time to put together this list to bring to consciousness that history have unconsciously been repeating itself.

Here is the list of 20 Kings that have been dethroned in Nigeria.

Ooni of Ife – Ogboru

Ogboru is 19th century Ooni of Ife dethroned mischievously by Ife Palace Chiefs who got tired of his 70yrs long reign. He was deceived by trick to come out of his place to come and see something at the Atiba square of the ancient Ile-Ife town and wasn’t allowed to return to the palace again. He angrily left for another aboard where he founded a little town called Ife-Odan and he settled there. Successive Ooni of Ife like 6 installed after him died in succession under 6months like a sort of throne bewitchment and Ife Chiefs had to search for him at Ife Odan to return back, but he resisted the attempt and gave them his daughter Moropo to make some sacrifices at the palace after which his son Giessi became the next Ooni after him. Read more here

Oba of Benin Ovoranwen Nogbaisi (1888 – 1897). He was deposed by the British government in 1897 for monopolizing forms of trade which the British government under Vice Consul Phillips Roberts finds displeasing, hence rooted for his displacement. The Consult tried to evade the Oba’s palace but was stopped by palace’s emissaries who ambushed and killed the two British errands sent. This lead to a military operation under Harry Hawson and Benin City was destroyed and the palace was heavily looted. The Oba was to be hanged but was lucky to escape after his dethronement was announced and was sent on exile in Calabar small town called Essien, where he died in 1914. Read more about him here.

20 dethroned traditional rulers in Nigeria

Emir of Bauchi – Umar Mohammed

Mohammed was deposed on 16th of February, 1902 by Lord luggard’s second in command – William Wallace for an allegation of slave dealings and insubordination against the British government and misrule of his people. His son was installed as the new Emir.

Emir of Kano Aliyu Ibn Abdullahi Maje Karofi

He became the Emir of Kano in 1894 following the death of Emir Muhammad Bello, and a rebellion war of “Bassa” called the 3rd Kano Civil War was kickstarted by him, along with his elder brother, Yusuf when the Sultan of Sokoko announced another prince called Tukur as the new Emir of Kano. The war lasted for a year when Aliyu popularly called the Sango of zaki (the gun runner) or Ali Balads, for his heavy use of explosives in most wars conquered Kano and became the Emir in 1894. He was dethroned in 1903 following an homage visit to the Sultan in Sokoto when the British -French forces attacked Kano and brought an end to his reign. He first exiled to Yola and later Lokoja, the seat of new Northern Nigerian government where he died in 1926.

Emir of Ningi – Dan yaya

Dan yaya was deposed by British Temple months after Umar Emir of Bauchi was sent away in July 1902, for terrorizing his people leading to the killing of a mallam, and taking sides with Emir of Bauchi. A new Sarkin Ningi was enthroned who was the heir, by the name Mammadu. Dan yaya escaped to bura town where he was eventually killed by the Bura people for his continued terrorizing acts in 1905. See the article the British in Bauchi, to read more.

Olu of Warri – Erejuwa I

Erejuwa was the traditional ruler of Itsekiri at two different times between 1951-1964 and 1966 – 1989. A Senior Officer with UAC before becoming a king, was unfortunately removed and deposed by NCNC eastern party in 1964, because of his support for Awolowo’s Action group, which is the party of many Prominent Itsekiris. The result of the political rivalry lead to the creation of Midwestern States then. Erejuwa was exiled to a town called Ogbesse, after he was returned by a military government of David Ejoor in 1966 and he reigned till 1989.

20 dethroned traditional rulers in Nigeria

Alaafin of Oyo – Oba Adediran Adeyemi II

84yrs old Oba Adediran Adeyemi II (the father of the present Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi) was dethroned for political rivalry with Chief Awolowo lead Western government of Nigeria when he gave his political will and support for an opposition party called NCNC lead by Chief Nnamdi Azikwe which was heightened by a disagreement and conflict with the then Awolowo Action group leader, Bode Thomas. Oba Adediran was sent away from Oyo town in July 1955 and was exiled in Lagos where he was housed by Alhaji N.B Soule a wealthy NCNC member , after which Gbadegesin Ladigbolu was enthroned as the new Alaafin of Oyo till 1970. Read more here

20 dethroned traditional rulers in Nigeria
Alaafin Adediran Adeyemi

Timi of Ede – Abibu Lagunju

Timi Abibu Languju was acclaimed to be the first muslim Yoruba king in history who reigned between 1855 to 1892 and was deposed and exiled by the British government to Ibadan where he lived with Sunmonu Apampa, the Asipa of Ibadan at that time and he died in 1900. One of his children Raji Lagunju, birthed by an Ile-Ife wife was taken back to her home town, to become the second Chief Imam of Ile-Ife. Read more about the accounts of Timi Lagunju here.

Awujale of Ijebu-Ode Oba Adenuga 1892 -1925

Awujale Adenuga Folagbade was made an Awujale of Ijebu Ode on November, 1925. He was 33yrs and was living with his mother in Igbeba, a small village near Ijebu Ode. He was the choice of the “Odi”, (Ijebu kingmakers) for the Tunwase ruling house but his choice didn’t go down well with some local chiefs who felt he was too young and prematurely for the exalted stool. He was eventually deposed in 1929 and exiled to Ilorin, for corruption around forestry fees and influencing the choice of the selection of Oba Onipe of IBU. Oba Ogunnaike succeeded him who also died in 1933.

Akarigbo of Remo – Oyebajo

Oba Oyebajo was the traditional head of Ijebu remo, in his mid twenties and reigned between 1811 to 1915. He was deposed by the British for being a de-facto ruler who refused to regard his principal chiefs (Bademowo – The Lisa of Remo & Awofala, the Losi of and denied them their shared parts of the duly entitled stipends to them, as part of 1914 amalgamation rule that local rulers should be part of native courts. Akarigbo Chief levied many allegations of corruption against him and the British Officer in charge of the Administrative district, H.F Ducoumbe not only deposed him but also sentenced him and two others in prison with hard labour at Ijebu Ode and was released 6months later, after which he later settled in Sagamu.

Alase of Remo, High Chief Awolesi was made the new Akarigbo in a flamboyant coronation ceremony attended by the British Officer, Ducoumbe. Awolesi died shortly on 25th of February 1916 and the British made Oba Oyebayo’s clerk and an educated public writer the new Akarigbo of Remo. With increased disturbances of Oyebajo factions for his reinstatement, he was arrested with another supporter called Ali and banished to Calabar in 1918 where he lived for only just 3months. Ali died in 1922 after his plea of clemency was rejected the Governor. See accounts of Tunde Oduwobi: The careers of Akarigbo Oyebajo and Awujale Adenuga under the British government & read more.

Osemawe of Ondo – Oba Adekolurejo Jimosun II (Otutubiosun)

The Oba whose reign was from 1918 to 1925 was removed and banished to Ile-Ife in 1925, where he lived and died. It was during the reign of Oba Jimosun that Ondo town had its first secondary school, called Ondo boys high school.

Osemawe of Ondo – Oba Adenuga Fidipote II

Oba Adenuga was reported to be a wealthy king of Ondo town and was on record to be the one who built the first modern Palace for ondo town. He reigned for 7yrs after which his deposed and chased him away from the town to Ibadan in 1942. Read more about Ondo Obas here

Oba of Lagos – Ibikunle Akintoye & Kosoko

20 dethroned traditional rulers in Nigeria

Akintoye reigned twice as Oba of Lagos, first between 1841 to 1845, when he was deposed to Badagry town for his Anti-Slave trade advocacy. He was succeeded by Oba Kosoko who was equally deposed for having a rift with the British government when he resisted submitting Lagos colony to the British and ordered, the British government to meet the Oba of Benin. In retaliation for his gut, the British government brought back Ibikunle Akintoye who had been on exile in Egba and Badagry in 1851. He reigned for the second time till September, 1853 when he died and Oba Dosumu took over. The deposed was later recalled back to Lagos, where he was made an high chief Oloja of Eleko, a salaried title in Oshodi tapa Epetedo. Where he lived and died in 1872.

Emir of Gwandu – Mustapha Jokolo

The Ex -Emir was deposed in 2005, by the Kebbi State government following different allegations levied against him by his Chiefs and was exiled to Kaduna. He was immediately replaced by June 2005 by one Muhammadu Illyasu Bashar, a retired major, who served as a military governor in the old Gongola State between 1976 & 1978. 15yrs, deposed Jokolo is still challenging his dethronement in Court.

Emir of Kano – SIR Mohammodu Sanusi I

Reported to be a powerful Emir of Influence in the colonial days of Northern Nigeria, Sanusi I was the Emir of Kano between 1954 to April 1963, when he was deposed by Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, a distant cousin, after an allegation of financial misappropriation in the emirate. He was deposed to Azare in 1964 and died in Wudil in years after. Sanusi I is the grandfather of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the recently deposed by Emir of Kano who reigned from 2014 to 2020, in a similar instance as his grandfather.

Olofa of Offa – Oba Wuraola Isioye

Oba Isioye was enthroned on the 5th January 1957, and reigned as Offa District head for 2yrs, when he was deposed by Northern Regional Government following, a successful move for Offa Local Court to be recognised and the long used Ilorin’s Alkali Court was abolished. This promoted the Late Saurduna to instigate him being deposed and exiled to Ogbomoso- Kogi Area, where he lived till he returned in 1964. He was reinstated as Olofa till he died in 1969, even though his district title wasn’t returned.

Sultan of Sokoto – Ibrahim Dasuki

The dethronement of Late Sultan Dasuki is probably the most widely reported case of removal of a king in Nigeria by the military government of Abacha in 1996, as almost everyone in late 20’s in Nigeria are aware of the development. There were even songs recorded by musicians to that effect on the continued change of traditions, that the usually saying that a new king can not be crowned while another is alive “T’oba kan o Ku, Oba kan o je”, as waxed by Yoruba Fuji Singer Abbass Obesere. Ibrahim Dasuki removal was rumoured to be related to issues between him and Abacha, on mismanagement of the late Abacha’s relative’s properties. There were also speculation that it was due to reports of his modernist style of rulership and many preferred Sultan Maccido, who later succeeded him.

20 dethroned traditional rulers in Nigeria

Olowo of Owo – Oba Olateru Olagbegi II

Unarguably the richest and most influential Olowo of Owo town in Ondo state, Oba Olateru became Olowo in 1941 and reigned till 1966 when he took side with Chief S.L Akintola against Chief Awolowo who was his ally. Of a fact, Awolowo Action Group party was founded right inside Olowo palace and Owo for years experienced political and kingship battle, which came to a climax in 1966 following a cold blooded coup with many properties and lives lost in the course. The people of Owo revolted their King and sent him away on exile where he lived for another 27yrs, and his stool was taken over by Oba Ogunoye. At the demise of Ogunoye, Olateru was reappointed as the new Olowo of Owo in 1993 and spent another 5yrs on the throne till he died in 1998. His eldest son, took over from him in 1999 and reigned for 20yrs.

Deji of Akure – Oba Oluwadamilare Adesina Osupa III

The inglorious exit of Oba Oluwadamilare as Paramount king of Akure is another reminder of the importance of carriage and conduct in kingship, as they are seen as leaders and role models. The king was deposed on 10th of June, 2010 following the beating of his estranged wife at her home in Akure, in what the Ondo state government referred to as, a dishonorable, condemnable and disgraceful conduct unexpected of a king which invoked a section of the state chieftaincy law of 1984 as amended. With an immediate action, a new Deji of Akure Adebiyi Adeshida Afunbiowo II was announced on 13th of August 2010.

Other Kings dethroned are;

Oba Awujale Sikiru Adetona was deposed in 1981 after suspension by a panel of inquiry set up by the then Ogun state governor, Olabisi Onabanjo after which he was found guilty of the charge. He was luckily reinstated by Col. Diya, following a military coup. Read more on Onigegewura’s blog.

Onojie of Uromi Kingdom – Anslem Aidenojie was suspended and later dethroned in 2016 by Former Gov. Adams Oshiomole for abusing a woman and total disregard for constituted authority, for failure to apologize within 2weeks he was given. Gov Obaseki however reinstated the former king in 2018.

Olupoti of Ipoti Ekiti – Oba Oladele Ayeni

The king Oba Isiah Oladele who was alleged to have been wrongly selected in 1987, was thrown out in 2012 after 25yrs of reign.

Eleruwa of Eruwa, Oba Samuel Adebayo Adegbola, sacked by the Supreme court in November 2019 after 21yrs of Reign. He was first dethroned in 2011, after which he filed an appeal but lost the throne 8yrs later.

|Read also: 13 Interesting things about Ile-Ife you should read.

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41 comments

  1. Ibraheem Badmus Adekunle

    So interesting, What happened to his grandfather same happened to him, ah so palatable so kancafor

  2. Historical and educating

  3. Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Raji Adebowale was deposed in 1963 to Ebute Irele

  4. Is the bag empty ? I was eager to read the four emirs dethroned by Danjuma Gone of Gombe state in 2003. The emirs of (1)AKKO, KUMO. ALHAJI Muhammad Baba Ahmad mni. ( 2). Emir of Gona, ALH Hussaini Bello, (3). Emir of Pindiga, ALHAJI Seyoji Muhammad and (4) Emir of YAMALTU, (Dadin Kowa), ALHAJI Ibrahim Bello. And in 2008 The Emir of Pindiga that was crowned after dethroning of ALHAJI Seyoji Muhammad, by Danjuma Goje was also dethroned by Govr. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo and ALHAJI Seyoji Muhammad was reinstated thereafter..

  5. A. I. Musa Adebamowo

    About 4 years ago, a first class oba, Michael Gbadebo Onakoya, the Orijeru of Igbooye in Epe Local Government Area of Lagos State was dethroned and banished on the strength of an High Court judgment delivered on 19th April, 2016. After about a year he was allowed to return to the Igbooye community as an ordinary citizen, with conditions that he shouldn’t parade himself in any manner as an Oba, otherwise he will be liable to 6 months imprisonment if found culpable. M. G. Onakoya is still challenging his deposition and the Court of Appeal, Lagos Judicial has reserved Judgment in the matter.

    • Oh. Interesting Thanks. But a court decision on Obaship title isn’t final until it reaches the supreme court. Many Obas were thrown out at the high court and at the appellate but which supreme court upheld their appointments. Thanks for the insight.

      • A. I. Musa-Adebamowo

        The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division has affirmed the dethronement of the Orijeru of Igbooye, Michael Gbadebo Onakoya on the 26th of March, 2020 in an unanimous decision. it was widely reported on Tuesday, 31st March in The Nation, Daily Independent, This Day and The Guardian. Orijeru of Igbooye is a first class obaship stool in Lagos State. Igbooye community is situated in Eredo LCDA of Epe Local Government Area.

  6. There are great lessons to learn from history. Some time history repeats itself. I may sound religion, one must pray against evil occurrence . Thanks

  7. Fapojuwo Olabode

    From all these, I can deduce that Kings will now begin a new way of life by giving consideration to their governor’s. Many will rise to the situation from nowhencefort and see to it that the position is not a mere play and oligarchy style. Anything below that standard is a letter bomb without stress.

  8. The Etsu Nupe, ALH. Usman Sarki who was a fomer minister of the old northern region, was deposed around 1969, and was exiled to sokoto. He died recently in 2016.

  9. I was hoping to read about the deposition of Emir Bida Saki Bubakar by the colonial masters and the the 10th Emir of Buda Alhaji Usman who was deposed by the military government on allegations of high handedness etc.

  10. I was hoping to read about the deposition of Emir Bida Sarki Bubakar by the colonial masters and the the 10th Emir of Buda Alhaji Usman who was deposed by the military government on allegations of high handedness etc.

  11. I was reading between the lines to see the name of dethroned Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Ibrahim Attah. The father to the present Ohinoyi of Ebiraland Adogu Ibrahim. You people don’t captured it in your story. By the way, your story is very rich in educating

  12. Onilala of Lanlate land,HRM Oba Sunday Bolawaye Oladejo Oguntayi (11) was removed on 13th February,2012 by Senator Abiola Ajimobi politically but won at the court and he was reinstated by Engineer Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde on 3rd of February,2020.

    • Thanks sir. Glad he was reinstated.

    • Raji Samson A.K.A RAJSAM PROMOTION

      My is this this Family Claiming there a Royal family Never be a KING or have a PALACE to show there Family is Entitled to be come part of ONILALA RAYAL Family
      So OGUNTAYE never a Royal family please can you all send out your Secret agent and do your investigation very proper to make the Peace be in the Town of LANLATE
      And thank God there Name never be among the 13 King talkless of HRM

  13. You forget to remember the attempted dethroning of the AGA BAI IDU,The ATA Of IGALA by the Saudana government, which lead him committing suicide.the father of my current ATA of Igala

  14. A beautiful reminder though, it’s just a tip of the bag of dethronement history in Nigeria. Great work.

  15. ABBA MASTA THE 1 SHEHU OF DIKWA WAS ALSO DETBRONED BUT IS NOT MENTIONED

  16. Amao Yusuf Onaolamipo

    It is so informative 💝🍀🍀

  17. Nnaemeka Kennedy

    Very informative piece well done. This list, however, is not exhaustive as there are other Traditional rulers that has been subjected to the same treatment and are conspicuously absent on this list. An example is His Royal Highness Jegbefume, the Obi of Abavo in Ika South LGA of Delta State. His dethronement was by the British Royal army at about the same time that His Royal Highness Oba Ovorawen Nogbaisi of Benin kingdom was also dethroned. Coincidentally, he was also taken away to Calaber . As nothing was heard about him after that one cannot help but imagine what the British army did to him.

  18. Olusanya Oluleye

    This is education. Thanks Admin

  19. What is good for the goose is also good for the gander..

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