THE ROLE OF TRADITIONAL RULERS IN MAINTAINING PEACE AND HARMONY IN NIGERIA
1.1 Background to the Study
It is important to concede that the area
of the study has attracted the minds of various scholars and
researchers. Yet it is the concern of this study to examine and relate
such research endeavors on traditional authority to the contemporary
security challenges in Nigeria. The exact nature and patterns of
governance-cum, socio-economic inter-relationship between the
traditional rulers and contemporary security situations will improve our
understanding of the criminal justice system specifically in resolving
issues of socio-political insecurity and religious conflicts thereby
restoring social order, peace, harmony and stability. The general
objective of the paper is to examine the role of traditional rulers in
security administration from pre 1804 period, 1804-1903, 1903-1960 and
1960 and beyond; identify the structures, institutions as well as social
changes on contemporary security in Nigeria. This is done by comparing
roles of leadership of traditional rulers. The study will significantly
contribute towards research efforts to dispute the claim. The findings
of this research hopefully will put the roles and legacies of the
traditional rulers into proper perspective to bear on the contemporary
security situation/matter in Nigeria.
Security as a basic human need is
important to the individual community. According to Alemika (2015)
security is a contested concept, it means different things to different
people and it also a contested practice, security for a group may
constitute insecurity for another group. Therefore, security raises
ontological debates about its nature and scope. Is there such a thing as
security? There are two perspectives on the ontology or reality of
security. The first perspective argues that security depicts a reality, a
feeling and a condition. The second perspective conceives security as a
label attached to a condition that someone considers undeniable.
Balogun (2004:1) observed that man‟s primary and engaging concern has
been that of survival and protection; from the vagaries of nature,
natural disasters and from the ill-intentions and misdeeds of his fellow
By traditional institutions, it refers
to the indigenous political system or arrangements whereby leaders with
proven track of records are nominated, appointed and installed in
accordance with the provisions of their native laws and customs (Malami,
1978, Orji and Olali, 2010). The essence of the institutions is to
preserve the customs, traditions and cultural heritage of the people and
manage conflicts and violence arising among or between members of the
community by the instrumentality of laws and customs of the people.
In our day to day language we often hear
the word traditional rulers in our society. The concept refers to the
indigenous arrangements whereby leaders or persons by virtue of heredity
or people with proven track records are nominated, appointed and
installed in line with the provisions of their native laws and customs.
The essence of the institution is to preserve the tradition, the
customs, cultural heritage of the people and to manage, settle and
resolve disputes/conflict arising within or between members of the
community by the instrumentality of laws and customs of the people in
that particular community or society. Generally, they are seen and
referred to as the custodians of their people‟s norms, cultural values
and practices. Adding on conceptual clarifications, Malami (1978:11) has
identified three categories of traditional title holders that derive
their titles from and through the traditions of the people, although the
traditions vary from time, place and depth of cultural roots.
Firstly, those holding literally
honorific titles, conferred on them by superior traditional rulers in
recognition and appreciation of the service rendered to the society.
This category has no schedules or specific functions seen as a good
chain of information and agents of conscientizing or mobilizing people
when the need arises. The second category are holders of titles or
positions due to recent recognition or creation of such titles.
In contrast to the above, they may have
executive functions but restricted by the same laws that created them or
gave them recognition. The last category is full time executive
traditional title holders who perform executive functions from
traditions largely rooted, revered and recognized and exercise their
Roles of Traditional Rulers in Security Administration in Nigeria.
Traditional rulers hold the key to the
success or failure in security administration in Nigeria because they
operate at the grassroots of the society and interact closely with
people in their daily activities consequent upon which they are highly
respected. Abdullahi (2008) noted;
Community based approach as opinion
leaders‟ traditional authority are first stakeholders if they do not
back opinion will face problem as they are closer always in contact with
1.2 Problem Statement
Despite the predictions in the 1960s
that this type of traditional ruler would dissapear, they have persisted
and flourished in Nigeria. This multiplication of traditional
authorities continues to flourish is in sharp contrast to other regions
of Africa, where such systems have tended to wither away, especially
when net rooted in the long- term social structures of the peoples over
whom they were set to rule from the point of view of the colonial
authorities, supporting traditional authorities, supporting traditional
governance was a convenient and cheap method if both maintaining order
and collecting tax with limited resources. Hence their is need to
evaluate the role of traditional rulers in maintaining peace and harmony
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The major objective of the Study is the role of traditional rulers in maintaining peace and harmony in Nigeria.
1.4 Research Questions
(1) who are the traditional rulers?
(2) what are their roles and functions?
(3) what are their role in maintaining peace and harmony?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study gives a clear insight into the role of traditional rulers in maintaining peace and harmony in Nigeria.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The research focus on the role if traditional rulers in maintaining peace and harmony in Nigeria.
 Abdullahi, S.A. (2005), Youth
Deviance and Traditional Authority in Kano Metropolitan: Some Issues in
Chieftaincy and Security in Nigeria 40th Anniversary of the Emirship of
HRH; Alhaji (Dr.), Ado Bayero.
 AbdulQadir, U.A., (2014), The Role
of Traditional Rulers and the Islamic Religious Leaders in Sensitization
and Mobilization of the Community on Election and Permanent Voter
Participation and Modalities, Paper Presented at a Two-Day Sensitization
Workshop for Traditional Rulers and Religious Leaders on Voter
Registration and (Permanent) Voter Cards Exercise, Organized by the
Ministry for Social Duties, Sokoto State Held at Giginya Hotel,
Sokoto-Nigeria, 19th March, 2014.
 Ahmed, I.B., (2012), Intrinsic Human
Relations Enhances Effective Security, Life and Property. An Article in
Zabi da Tsari Column of Muryar Arewa (Voice of the North Magazine of
July, 2012, 2013), The Need to Remedy Nigeria‟s Security Problems
Through Emergency Measures Zabi da Tsari (Content Display) Column of
Muryar Arewa (Voice of the North) Magazine of 28th February, 2013: p53.
 Alemika, E.E.O. (1993);
“Criminology, Criminal Justice and Philosophy of Policing in Nigeria”,
In T. N. Tamuno, I.L. Bashir, E.E.O. Alemika and A. O. Akano, (eds.)
Policing Nigeria: Past, Present and Future, Lagos: Malthouse Press.
 Alemika, E.E.O. (2015), Security
Crisis and Nigerian University System, being a Paper Presented at a
Seminar on Security Crisis in Nigerian Universities held at the Main
Auditorium University of Jos Main Campus, Jos, Plateau State-Nigeria.
 Baba, T.A.M., (2012), Security as a
Basic Human Needs in Society, Being Keynote Address Delivered at a
Workshop on Contemporary Security Challenges the Need for Awareness and
Consciousness by Local Government Policy Makers, Organised by Prime
Partners Held at Sokoto Guest Inn, Sokoto Nigeria, on July 24.
 Lugard, F. (1903), Second Address by
the High Commission to the Sultan, Waziri and Elders of Sokoto, in
Colonial Reports, Annual Northern Nigeria, 1900 – 1911.
 Malami, A.S., (2011), Role of
Traditional Rulers in the development of Nigeria, Lecture Delivered at
the Army Command and Staff College, August 2, 1978, Published in Sunday
Trust, February 27, 2011.
 Maslow, A. H. (1943). A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370-96.
 Nigerian Universities System,
“Being a Paper Presented at a Seminar on Security Crisis in Nigerian
Universities held at the Main Auditorium University of Jos Main Campus,
 Nweke, K., (2012), „The Role of
Traditional Institutions of Governance in Managing Social Conflicts in
Nigeria‟s Oil-Rich Niger Delta Communities: Imperatives of Peace
Building Process in the Post-Amnesty Era‟, British Journal of Arts and
Social Sciences (5):2.
 Orji, K. E. & Olali, S.T.,
(2010), „Traditional Institution and their Dwindling Roles in
Contemporary Nigeria: The River State Example‟, in T. Babawale, A. Aloa,
& B. Adesoji, The Chieftaincy Institutions in Nigeria, Lagos:
Concept Publication Limted.