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Resilience of Traditions in Contemporary Politics: A Historical Study of the Political Influence of Traditional Rulers in Nigeria

Author(s): S.B. Amusa | M.O. Ofuafor

Journal: Current Research Journal of Social Science
ISSN 2041-3238

Volume: 4;
Issue: 6;
Start page: 407;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Campaigns | colonialism | elections | political parties | traditional rulers

This study aims at examining the nature of the continued relevance of traditional rulers in contemporary Nigerian politics in spite of the negative impact of colonialism and Westernization on the institution. In pre-colonial period, traditional rulers occupied important positions of political authority in African kingdoms. They were held in high esteem and believed to be representatives of the gods on earth. Before the emergence of colonial rule in Nigeria, traditional rulers were the political and spiritual heads of the various kingdoms and states which now make up Nigeria. Impressed by the well organized system of traditional political institutions in some parts of Nigeria, the British colonial masters made use of traditional rulers in the colonial administrations particularly in the implementation of the Indirect Rule system. However, towards the last years of colonial rule, there was a shift from the traditional rulers to the educated elite who eventually succeeded in achieving political independence for the country. Since 1960, traditional rulers have been relegated to the background in the political scene in Nigeria and the Constitutions stipulate that they should be non-partisan and be politically neutral in the electoral processes. However, in spite of this, traditional rulers continue to play important role in the political and electoral processes in contemporary Nigeria. This study examines the factors and nature of the continued political influence and relevance of traditional rulers in contemporary Nigerian political landscape.
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