A typical Yoruba Kingdom was made up of town
and villages with an oba as the head. The oba was
assisted by chiefs in the daily administration
of the kingdom.
The pre-colonial government in Yorubaland
can be described as democratic due to the following
  • The Oba or Alaafin was appointed by Oyomesi or kingmakers. Therefore no oba can impose
    himself on the people. 
  • There was in existence more
    than one royal lineage. This often
    allows for competition. Even within a royal lineage, more than one candidate can contest. 
  • There was in existence of the
    concept of checks and balances which prevented an Oba
    from ruling autocratically.
  •  The Oba did not take
    decision alone. Decisions were taken with
    consultation with the chiefs who were representative of the various quarters that constituted the
    village or town.