Deposed Rulers under the Colonial Regime in Nigeria: The Careers of Akarigbo Oyebajo (1891–1915) and Awujale Adenuga (1925–29)

Oduwobi, T. (2003)

Staff publications


Traditional rulers were the cornerstone of the British colonial system of Indirect Rule. Essentially, traditional rulers were, therefore, government officials who could be removed from their offices for misconduct by the colonial authorities. In pre-colonial Yoruba society, a deposed ruler was required to die to avert his being a potential focus of opposition to his successor. This was conceptualized by the belief or adage that "a king had to die before a successor was enthroned." The concept or notion of death after deposition was abrogated under the colonial administration. The deposed ruler became an ordinary citizen. This created an anomalous situation and legitimacy problems for the successor since traditional rulers retained political authority under the colonial dispensation. This paper examines the attendant difficulties through a consideration of the careers of two deposed rulers in the Yoruba society of Ijebu