After Nigeria gained its independence in 1960, its traditional rulers – who reigned supreme – were stripped of their constitutional power. However their descendents – today’s traditional rulers – are still very much revered and respected and they work hand-in-hand with the government as the local custodians of law and order. They also serve as the embodiment of history, culture and the ways of our forefathers.
Contrary to popular belief, traditional rulers aren’t always uneducated and unenlightened. My ruler for instance, Ndidem Ika Ika Oqua, the Ndidem of the Quas, was highly educated after spending years in the UK studying and working. I know firsthand that his level of education played a role in the way he governed and also made him a bridge between the old world – our rigid way of doing things, frozen in time and unyielding to change – and the new – the rapidly changing, technologically advanced world we live in called the 21st century.
So thanks to The Guardianand Lagos-born photographer, George Osodi, who has been capturing Nigeria’s cultures since 2012, we get a peek into the kingdoms, thrones and crowns that make up the lives of Nigeria’s monarchs.