Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)

Degree Name



Public Administration

First Advisor

Dr. J. T. Jones


The primary intent of this thesis is to assess what role the traditional rulers will play in the new federal plan of the government of Nigeria. An attempt has been made to bring to the fore how the role of traditional rulers has changed greatly be tween the period 1800 to 1978. These changes became imperative because of the social, economic and political developments of Nigeria, which dictate that traditional rulers should not participate directly in partisan politics as was hitherto the case.

The paper examines the recent demand for the abolition of the institution of traditional rulers. However, the examination shows that the majority of Nigerians still want the services of traditional rulers as leaders of the various communities, who represent symbols of unity. The results point to the fact that whatever party comes into power, it will need the assistance of traditional rulers to serve as a link between the government and the masses. The existence of large scale illiteracy and lack of effective means of direct communication between the government and the people justify the link provided by the traditional rulers. The relationship between the traditional rulers and government should be supplementary, advising the government when that advice is needed. In their areas, they should be the custodians of the customs and tradition of their people. In times of national crisis, traditional rulers collectively will use their fatherly influence and mediate between the varying factions and avert complete anarchy in the country.

The main sources of information were Nigerian newspapers which included the New Nigerian, the Daily and Sunday Times, and the West Africa weekly publication. Also, a wide variety of secondary information, books, periodicals, reports and unpublished materials was used.