Ending Gender Discrimination in Succession to Traditional Ruler-ship in Nigeria
Edoba Bright Omoregie

Traditional Rulers are vital part of the institutional structure of Nigeria. They feature as titular heads of their communities and are formally recognized in all 36 states of Nigeria and the federal capital territory. They are involved in several activities which are central to the lives of the Nigerian people, including political, social, economic, developmental, security matters and customary arbitrations. In most communities, the method of succession to traditional ruler-ship is essentially patrilinear by which only a male member of a ruling family succeeds to the position. In a number of those communities, the male primogeniture system of succession prevails. The system has gone unchallenged for so long despite its patent discrimination against women in contravention of the gender non-discrimination clause of the Nigerian constitution. In two cases decided 2014, the Supreme Court of Nigeria voided the custom of male primogeniture operative in some Igbo communities of Southeast Nigeria. These decisions appear to establish legal principle for assessing the validity of customs in Nigeria which are discriminatory against women. The paper extrapolates the full amplitude of the Supreme Court gender non-discrimination doctrine as it relates to succession to traditional ruler-ship and arrives at novel conclusions.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijgws.v3n1a14