(Pre-colonial Administration): An age grade is a form of social organization based on age, within a series of such categories through which individuals pass over the course their level. The number of age classes determines age and it varries significantly between traditions.

In tribe, it is usually marked by an initiation rite which involves complex and long preparations. After some period of years doing which they perform certain common activities either by themselves or under senior guidance, members may be initiated either collectively or individually into a more senior age grade. The initiation into senior age grade is usually accompanied by the revelation of secret knowledge about the community and these secret knowledge is controlled by the older men


1). They perform socialization functions like the arrangement of social activities during festivals.

2) They carry out civil and communal works, e.g they help in the construction of the community local roads,they take turns to provide security for the community.

3) They perform police duties in maintaining and enforcing laws and order.

4) Age grade help to defend their community against both internal and external forces.

5) Thet check wrong use of power by the chiefs and council of elders.

6) They perform ceremonial functions during important occasions in their community.


Traditional African Political System: This is the way the traditional rulers governed communities under them before the introduction of an advanced system of governing, this system was mainly undemocratic because there was absence of most features of democracy.
The traditional African Political system was considered undemocratic because of some factors which include :-

1). Most of their successors were through hereditary:

Meaning that one family can control power for a long time or decades which may lead to abuse and misuse of power, democracy supports periodic change of government.

2) There is an absence of electoral system:-

Since power is hereditary, the traditional rulers may not have the complete support of the people, the rulers will always take decisions on their own without consulting the people, since nobody voted them into power.

3) The rulers stand as the political,traditional and as well as spiritual leaders in most African kingdom:

This gives them total power to regulate virtually all aspect of the people, their is also a belief that the rulers are divinely chosen and placed in position by the God and any attempt to disobey or question them is disobedience to God.

4) The traditional rulers does the functions of the legislature, executive and judiciary:

There is no limit to their power unlike the modern government there is absence of separation of power.

5) Their stay in office is for a life time.

6) There is absence of check and balance in most traditional rulers like kings, emperors whose position is so supreme that no one could check their excesses.

7) De-violation of human rights since some traditional rulers were seen as human gods, the rights of the people are buried in their power.

Difference Between The Functions Of Traditional Rulers In Pre-colonial Era And That Of The Present Day Traditional Rulers (Pre-colonial Administration)

The modern Nigeria consist of different and diverse ethnic groups, languages and traditions, their were(and are) more than two hundred district ethnic groups. Although political structures differs between ethnic groups, it is common for each town to have a recognized ruler.

Below are differences between the Pre-colonial traditional rulers and the present day traditional rulers. (Pre-colonial Administration)

1). Constitutional Role:– (Pre-colonial Administration)

During the Pre-colonial era the traditional rulers had complete control of the community they play,occupy and perform functions in vital communal development unlike the present day where the traditional rulers have no political power so they have less or no constitutional roles.

2). Constitution:– (Pre-colonial Administration)

Pre-colonial traditional rulers made use of unwritten laws. There was no written constitution regulating their actions and native duties, they rely on customas, traditions,conventions. The current traditional functions are constitutionally explained and written down in a document and it forms part of national constitution.

3). Serve as a link:– (Pre-colonial Administration)

Pre-colonial traditional rulers had a complete and direct control of the people , so they were widely regarded as the link between the people and the ancestors but the present day traditional rulers act as middle men that link the political leaders to the people.

4) Budget planning:– (Pre-colonial Administration)

The traditional rulers were involved in raising and spending of money but presently they don’t. The federal government is now in charge of it.

5) It was the sore function of the traditional rulers to collect, regulate and manage taxes but presently they don’t, it is done by the democratic government.

6) Allocation of revenue and resources:-

Pre-colonial traditional rulers had the responsibility of allocating community resources but it is currently done by the democratic government.

7) Structural functions of government:-

Pre-colonial traditional rulers indirectly control the whole system of government more especially on the side of the Emirs and Obas, they controlled the three major fiction of government. Presently there is no constitutional function or share of power on the side of the traditional rulers as regards to the modern structure of government. They only struggle to maintain law and order in its local areas with the customary law, traditions and ancestral dirties.

8) Governance:-

The civil servants were completely and totally in governance, they even serve as link to their communities and state. But presently, the traditional rulers have been heavenly excluded in governance and in turn their power and influence reduced.

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