HomeLUMINAvol. 23 no. 2 (2012)

Chieftaincy Titles in Yorubaland and their Implication for Growth and Tolerance Among Christians and Muslims

F. T. Lateju | Olusegun Oladosu

Discipline: Anthropology



This paper will examine comparatively the forms of chieftaincy title given among the three religious faiths in Yoruba land and how they have co-existed without necessarily jeopardizing their basic tenets of faith and practices. Yoruba people of South Western Nigeria have their own way of practicing their beliefs and the demands of the practice. The practices and beliefs held by Christians and Muslims today in Yoruba land in the area of chieftaincy titles have some identifiable variants. Christianity and Islam however did not come to the soil of Africa as a universal religion by which African may claim that it will solely represent the custom and cultural race of the people. The title of a chief which is one of the cultural titles in Yoruba land is associated with village heads, heads of cults or heads of lineages. These heads with a rank of chief perform traditional functions among the people that elect them. In this age of religious acculturation, where Christianity and Islam have taken a similar platform in the affairs of the people, the issues of traditional chieftaincy seem to them a form of tracking the concentration of their members in the act of discharging their spiritual responsibilities. In this case, they prefer to adopt a better mode of disengaging the spiritual conflict of their members for them to remain faithfully committed. Functions of the chieftaincy include addressing any issue in the administration of justice in relation to their office, seeing to the welfare of their communities, monitoring socio-economic and promoting religious tenet as it relates to their convictions. Subsequently, some sects among Christian and Islamic groups therefore created a dimension of title that fits into their faith and is traditionally oriented.