Comparison of Different Pre-Colonial Administrations in Nigeria (Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo)
(i) Hausa/Fulani political system had the emirate as its administrative structure, the empire or kingdom was for the Yoruba political System while in the Igbo Political structure, the village was its unit of administration.
(ii) The head of the Hausa/Fulani Political system, the Emir, wielded absolute power. It operated an absolute monarchy; Yoruba Pre-Colonial operated a Constitutional monarchy; while Igbo operated a Republican democratic System.
(iii) Hausa/Fulani political system was guided by Sharia law. The system was theocratic. Oba and his Council of Chiefs made laws for the good governance of their Kingdom according to the customs and traditions of the Yoruba people. In the Igbo Political system, laws that guided the community were made at the village assembly, by families, the council of elders, and by consensus. Laws were based on the customs and traditions of the people.
(iv) Political power was decentralized. Different socio-political institutions exercised political power. In the Yoruba political system, there was some degree of decentralization of political power. In Hausa/Fulani political system, Political Power was highly centralized on the Emir.
(v) Taxation system and payment of tributes were inherent in Hausa/Fulani political system. In the Yoruba Political system, there was the payment of tributes (Crops, Livestock) to the Oba or Baale. Taxation and payment of tributes were alien to the Igbo Political system.
(vi) There was the existence of a standing army that defended their territories in Hausa/Fulani and Yoruba Pre-Colonial political systems.
(vii) There was a system of embedded checks and balances that limited the powers of political institutions in the Yoruba political system. In Hausa/Fulani political system, the Emir’s power was unlimited. In the Igbo political system, various political institutions shared political powers.
(viii) The Emir in Hausa/Fulani pre-colonial administration was the political, religious, and spiritual leader of his people; while in Yoruba, the Oba was a paramount ruler, but religious functions were performed by the oracle priests. In Igbo, Igwe or Eze was War head. The oracle priests performed religious functions.