• News - South West - Lagos
  • Updated: April 03, 2021

FACT CHECK: There's No Emir of Lagos, Just Oba of Lagos Who is the Paramount traditional Ruler of The Nigerian City

FACT CHECK: There's No Emir of Lagos, Just Oba of Lagos Who

A Biafran activist with over 100, 000 followers on Twitter wrote on Sunday 7 March, 2021: “They have Oba of Lagos and Emir of Lagos. What's going on?”

The claim by the activist, who is the immediate past New Media and Special Duties Coordinator and Press Secretary of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has been retweeted over 700 times.

Biafra news

IPOB is an outlawed group canvassing for the secession of Eastern Nigeria. They want a breakaway state of Biafra.

Oba vs Emir

Oba means king or ruler in the Yoruba language of West Africa. Kings in Yorubaland, the cultural region of the Yoruba ethnic group in West Africa, make use of it as a pre-nominal honourific. Examples of Yoruba bearers include Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi of Ife, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III of Oyo, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona of Ijebu kingdom, among others.

Almost - if not all - of these kings are based in Nigeria's South-West region.

Emir is closely related to Oba in that it is also an Aristocratic title. But while Obas are predominantly found in the Southern region of Nigeria, Emirs are kings in a variety of places in Northern Nigeria, the Arab countries, West Africa, Afghanistan and in the Indian subcontinent.

In the northern Nigerian Muslim-majority states, Emir is commonly used in the English language, but names in the local languages include Sarki, Shehu, Mai, Etsu and Lamido.

Some Emirs are Aminu Ado Bayero of Kano; Abdulmumini Kabir Usman, the Emir of KatsinaAhmed Nuhu Bamalli, the Emir of Zazzau in Kaduna state; Alhaji Mohammed Sani Dantoro Kitoro IV, the Emir of Borgu in Niger State, et al.

Although both Obas and Emirs do not have formal political power, in many cases they continue to command respect from their people and have considerable influence.

Not the first time some persons will claim there is an Emir of Lagos, but that assertion is wrong

In 2019, insinuations made the rounds that Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Bambado, the Sarkin Fulani of Lagos State and the Chairman of the Association of Fulani Chiefs in the South-West Nigeria has plans to transmute to an Emir in Lagos State.

The monarch debunked the rumours in a publication that year on Nigeria’s The Nation Newspaper, saying, “the insinuation is far from the truth.”

Alhaji Bambado while asserting that His Royal Majesty, Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos, is like a father to him, pointed out that, “having a Sarkin Fulani in any state is like having Eze Ndigbo as well as Yoruba Obas in other state across the nation,” emphasising that, “there is no way these tribe leaders can claim equality with the owners of the land.”

READ ALSO: FACT CHECK: No Evidence Biafra Secessionist Movement-Affiliated Eastern Security Network Captured Notorious Fulani Bandits’ Leader in Benue

Akiolu, the current Oba of Lagos, was crowned as a king in 2003. He is often also called the Eleko of Eko.

Oba Akiolu is among the first class obas in Yorubaland, Southwest Nigeria.

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