Pre-Colonial Administration In Nigeria.
Before the coming of the Europeans into Nigeria, the various ethnic groups were autonomous and had developed their traditional governmental systems in such a way that it reflected the culture, beliefs and traditions of the different areas.
The Hausa-Fulani, the Igbo and Yoruba established distinct and functioning governments which were peculiar to their environment. While the Hausa-Fulani Empire established a centralized system of government deeply rooted in the Islamic religion, the Yoruba Kingdom had a government that provided for checks and balances on the organs of government.
The traditional political organization of the Igbo people provided neither for centralized nor semi-centralized government for there were many institutions sharing political authority, sometimes with none having absolute power over members of the community.
The Hausa-Fulani Empire
The Hausa-Fulani Empire had its origin from the Holy war (Jihad) of 1804 which Uthman Dan Fodio, a Fulani Muslim launched against the Hausa rulers of the period with a view of making Islam devotedly practised as the only religion in the land.
Prior to this period, the Fulani people were under the domination of the Hausa. The dethronement of the then Hausa leadership made room for the establishment of an empire under the leadership of Uthman Dan Fodio.
Based on two main groups, the new empire became the Hausa-Fulani Empire, though the leadership became dominated by the Fulani. The newly established empire was divided into eastern end western sections, namely the Sokoto and Gwandu emirates respectively. Each emirate was headed by an emir who was both spiritual and political leader.
The Emirs of Gwandu and Sokoto appointed emirs for the subordinate emirates; and wherever the local people appointed emirs, such appointment was subject to the approval of the emirs of Sokoto and Gwandu.
All other emirs paid annual tributes and allegiance to those of Sokoto and Gwandu with the Sultan of Sokoto being the overall head.