Community Leadership

Community leadership

Community leadership can be defined as a body put in place to direct and oversee the affairs of a people, group, society, or community. Every home, school or society has a person who controls and directs the affairs of the people. In our classroom, there is a class captain or class monitor who ensures that there is peace. The person who directs and controls others is therefore a leader.

Traditional leadership

In our local communities, where the customs and traditions of the people form the basic way of life, there is also somebody who oversees the affairs of the people based on the customs and tradition. The person is the head and therefore, the leader.

Traditional leadership therefore means leadership based on the customs and traditions of the people. When a person controls a group of people according to the tradition and customs, such a person is called the traditional leader or ruler.

Examples of traditional leaders in our society are the Emir of Kano, Oba of Lagos, Alaafin of Oyo, Obi of Onitsha, and Oba of Benin.

Duties of traditional rulers

Traditional rulers perform the following duties:

  1. They maintain the traditional laws and customs of the people. They ensure that such customs do not die.
  2. They are the custodians of the customs and traditions of the people.
  3. They are a symbol of the customs and traditions of the people.
  4. They maintain peace in their communities.
  5. They help to unite the people living in their domain, to ensure peace.
  6. They settle disputes or disagreements among the people in their domain.
  7. They organise their people and community in self-help projects for the development of their community
  8. They organise traditional festivals which promote their culture and tradition, e.g. Osun/Oshogbo festival in Osun State.
  9. In our modern society, traditional rulers help the government to explain its policies to the people. They educate the people on the programmes and policies of the government of the day.




  1. Who is a traditional leader?
  2. Write two names of traditional leaders in your community.
  3. List three duties of a traditional ruler.
  4. Give four reasons why traditional leadership is important.




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