Building Society In Our Capacity; the philanthropies of some Nigeria Traditional Rulers

Building Society In Our Capacity; the philanthropies of some Nigeria Traditional Rulers

Traditional stools are intertwined with the Nigerian society. Long before the European adventures into the geographical area known today as Nigeria, it was the duty of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs to care for their people. It involved providing places to learn crafts, art, providing sources of water supplies, and even trade centers. After independence, the Nigerian constitution decided to retain the traditional stools and encourage them to continue developing their societies, using their various positions.

Today, we will be examining how some of these traditional rulers have fared for their people and what they have done for them.


  1. The Òràngún of Òkè-Ìlá

The Óràngún is the paramount Ruler of Òkè-Ìlá; the capital of the ancient Igbomina-Yoruba city-state; which is today located in Ifedayo Local Government Area of Osun state. 

The current paramount Ruler of Òkè-Ìlá, Oba Adedokun Abolarin is a seasoned Academician and Alumni of the great Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife where he obtained an LLB degree, Master’s Degree in International Relations, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. 

He ascended the traditional Stool on December 08, 2006, following the demise of his predecessor someday in November 2005. That ensures he is the second paramount Ruler to the about 35,000 inhabitants of Òkè-Ìlá city. 

In line with his passion for education and vision to practice free education as pioneered by the late Sage Obafemi Awolowo whom he admires, Oba Abolarin founded the Abolarin College in 2014 and named it after himself. The secondary school is located in Òkè-Ìlá and open for nationals of Nigeria who belong to the lowest economic class. In order to assist the poorest of the poor in all parts of the country, Abolarin College doesn’t discriminate along tribal or religious lines during admission.

Hawkers, child-farmers, laborers, beggars, and children from other walks of life in Nigeria are given an opportunity to acquire a good education, feeding, and shelter at free costs. The School Management admonishes, laziness, dishonesty, but endears in her students all the virtues of team-work, discipline, honesty, hard work, patriotism, academic growth, and spiritual excellence. 

Through his Oragun Abolarin Aroyinkeye Foundation ( OOAF ), Oba Abolarin has been able to execute this tremendous humanitarian feat, surely it won’t be a thing of surprise to read further philanthropic endeavors to his name in the nearest future.


2. Jarmai Zazzau

Lieutenant General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (Retired), popularly known as T.Y. Danjuma was turbanned the Jarmai Zazzau of Zazzau Emirate in 2013 by Emir of Zazzau Emirate, Alhaji Shehu Idris on June 2013.

T.Y. Danjuma served as Nigeria Army Chief of Staff from 1975-1979, and as Nigeria Minister of Defence from 1999-2003. In 2009, he established the T.Y. Danjuma Foundation which has made positive impacts in the 36 states, as well as the F.C.T. In partnership with several Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO), the T.Y. Danjuma Foundation has disbursed about 3 Billion for developmental projects in the last ten years, especially in the building of hospitals and schools across the country, and majorly in his home state of Taraba where river blindness continues to threaten the existence of his people. Other notable projects executed with grants from TYDF include bole holes, girl-child education, free medical equipment, support for internally displaced persons across conflicted areas in Nigeria, teachers training, school feeding, and maternal and child health.

Since inception, the TYDF has partnered with over 50 NGOs in her dreams to bring succor and alleviate poverty across the breadth of Nigeria.


3. Wazirin of Adamawa

Former Vice President of Nigeria; H.E. Atiku Abubakar was turbanned the seventh Wazirin of Adamawa Emirate Council in November 2018. 

The 73-year-old Wazirin is a seasoned Politician, successful businessman, and philanthropist of the first order. Born to peasant parents, Atiku grew up selling firewood, before using savings from there to obtain a Diploma at Ahmadu Bello University. After graduation, he moved over to Nigerian Customs where he worked for over 20 years before he was selected by former President Obasanjo to become his running mate in the 1999 presidential election which they later won.

Simply known as Atiku, the Wazirin has built many legacies to his name. He is also a Statesman who uses his capacity to assist poor Nigerians in times of crisis; the latest was his #50 Million donation to the Nigerian government as the COVID-19 pandemic raged in the first quarter of 2020. 

In his bid to reduce unemployment among the Graduate youths in Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar launched Intel, PRODECO, ABTI schools, farms. As a matter of fact, Atiku Abubakar the Wazirin of Adamawa Emirate Council is arguably the largest private employer of labor in Nigeria. 


4. Prince of Ukpo Kingdom and Dike Eji Eje Mba of Ebonyi Traditional Rulers Council

The Prince of the Ukpo Kingdom in the Dunukofia clan of Anambra state, Prince Arthur Eze is of Royal blood and his elder brother is also the King of the Ukpo Kingdom, Anambra state. 

In the month of November 2018, Elders of Ebonyi State Traditional Rulers Council, in recognition of his numerous philanthropic ventures and appreciation of his developmental strides in Ebonyi state, awarded Prince Arthur Eze the Chieftaincy title of Dike Eji Eje Mba of Ebonyi State Traditional Rulers Council. He is also the Chancellor of Ebonyi State University Abakaliki (EBSU) and has a flyover in Onicha LGA currently undergoing construction named for him.

Nicknamed Ozoigbondu by his followers, Arthur Eze coincides as the owner and CEO of Atlas Oranto Petroleum, an oil company that is the largest holder of oil exploration blocks in Africa. It is from the proceeds of the oil sales that Arthur finances all his philanthropic ventures. He established no foundation or charity but has a direct positive impact on the lives of poor people in Nigeria and even far away South Sudan. 

Some of his philanthropic ventures and charity donations of Arthur Eze include;

  • Donation of $800,000 to a fundraiser organized in Abuja to Carter for victims of Boko Haram insurgency.
  • Donation of $6.3million to flood relief programs in Nigeria in 2013.
  • Donation of $12million to the Anglican Church and youths in Otuoke, Bayelsa state.
  • $800,000 donated to the construction of primary schools in Yirol and Rumbek communities in South Sudan. 



Traditional stools and Chieftaincy titles are indices to measure the sphere of influence one has in society. These traditional hierarchies constantly feature the altruism to contribute in little ways to the advancement of the society. That is because any position that bears power or influence must be utilized for the progress of the community. That is why more and more traditional rulers and other chieftains are encouraged to uplift the lives of the poor populace in any measure because little drops of water, make a mighty ocean, and together, we can make the world a better place.

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