With Britain’s controversial past with Nigeria, it is interesting to see some paramount Nigerian kings among a welcome party for Prince Charles and his wife at the British High Commission.
Monarchy in Nigeria is just as important and influential as in Britain.
As part of their West African tour, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla, arrived in Abuja on Tuesday, November 6, for a two-day visit, after their stop in Ghana. To welcome him, some of the most important and influential Nigerian kings, dressed in their full traditional regalia, also converged at the British High Commission in Abuja.
Though Nigeria has many powerful and influential kings, this welcome party of monarchs were selected to represent the six geo-political zones in Nigeria — South East, South West, North Central, North East, North West, and South South.
Let’s take a look at who these kings are (from left to right).
1. Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe – Obi of Onitsha
His Majesty Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe is the 21st Obi of Onitsha, the traditional leader of Onitsha, Anambra state in the South East of Nigeria. He was born on May 14, 1941 and is married to Chinwe Ngozi (nee Ononye) with six children. He holds a Bachelors degree in Chemistry from Stanford University in California, USA, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Columbia University, New York City. After the civil war, he returned to Nigeria in 1972 and began work with Shell Petroleum Development Company where he served as Executive Director between 1988 and 1996, and retired in 1997. After his coronation in 2002, he returned to Nigeria and served as a key person on several boards, national and international panels. He was appointed Chancellor at Kogi State University in 2010. He is currently the Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
2. Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III – Sultan of Sokoto
Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III is the 20th Sultan of Sokoto, the titular ruler of Sokoto in the North Western part of Nigeria, and spiritual leader of Nigeria’s Muslim population. He was born on August 24, 1956. After attending the prestigious Barewa College in Zaria, he went on to the Nigerian Defence Academy in 1975 and was a member of the 18th Regular Course. In 1977, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and served as the head of the Armored Corps security team that guarded General Murtala Muhammed in the 1980s. He also served severally as commanding officer and ECOWAS liaison officer for many battalions home and abroad, before he retired as Brigadier General and became the Sultan.
As the sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar is the leader of the Qadiriyya sufi order, historically the most important Muslim position in Nigeria and senior to the Emir of Kano, the leader of the less populous Tijaniyya sufi order.
3. Muhammadu Sanusi II – Emir of Kano
Muhammadu Sanusi II, born Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, is the 14th Emir of Kano in the North West and the leader of the second most important Muslim position in Nigeria. Born July 31, 1961, he holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Economics from Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria. He also holds a degree in Islamic Law from the International University of Africa, Khartoum. He was the first Northern Nigerian to be appointed CEO of First Bank of Nigeria, the oldest Nigerian bank. On June 3, 2009, he was appointed the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria where he served for 5 years. Time magazine listed him on its list of the 100 most influential people of 2011. In June 2014, he was crowned emir, succeeding his uncle, Ado Bayero.
4. Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai – Shehu/El-Kanemi of Borno
Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai El-Kanemi is the 6th Shehu of Borno state in the North Eastern part of Nigeria. The Borno emirate is a relatively new dynasty headed by descendants of the founders of the Borno Empire — the first Shehu was appointed in 1902. He attended Ahmadu Bello University where he obtained an Advanced Diploma in Local Government Administration. He became Permanent Secretary in the Ministries of Finance (1993), Works and Housing and Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs (2008). He was crowned Shehu March 4, 2009.
5. Oba Enitan Ogunwusi – Ooni of Ife
His Imperial Majesty Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Akande is the 51st traditional ruler of the Yoruba kingdom of Ile-Ife in the South Western part of Nigeria. Born October 17, 1974, Oba Adeyeye took over from Oba Okunade Sijuade, who used to be one of the richest kings in Africa, and was crowned Ooni on October 26, 2015. He holds a honorary doctorate degree in Public Administration from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and another doctorate in Law from Igbinedion University. He is currently the Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
6. Eheneden Erediauwa Omo N’Oba Ewuare II – Oba of Benin
Eheneden Erediauwa Omo N’Oba Ewuare II is the 40th Oba of the Benin/Bini Empire with its seat in Edo State (South South). He holds an Economics degree from the University of Wales, UK and a Master’s degree in Public Administration degree from Rutgers University Graduate School, New Jersey, USA. He worked at the United Nations between 1981 and 1982 and served as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Italy, Angola and Sweden. Born October 20, 1953, he was crowned Oba of Benin on his birthday in 2016. Since ascension, he has demanded that the British Empire return all the Benin Bronzes that were stolen in 1897, to which his demands fell to deaf ears. It is interesting to see him part of the welcome party for the British Royals.
7. Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar – Etsu Nupe
Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar is the 13th Etsu Nupe of all Nupe speaking people in Nigeria, with its seat in Niger state, North Central Part of Nigeria. He attended the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna in 1973 and joined the military. His last military posting was to the Defence Headquarters Abuja, where he was a director of foreign operations, before retiring as a Brigadier General in September 2003. He was crowned king on September 11, 2003. Since ascension, he has pushed for the creation of the Edu state which will be the homeland of all Nupe speaking people, carved out of Niger, Kogi and Kwara states.