This is a UK Daily Mail special report...
With their brightly coloured robes, ornate thrones and legions of flunkeys attending every whim, they seem every bit the archetypal African kings.
Nigeria's traditional Monarchs may have been stripped of their powers half a century ago, but they appear to have lost little of their regal pomp and splendour as this fascinating series of portraits shows.
Photographer George Osodi toured the west African country extensively for a series of photographs entitled 'Kings of Nigeria' which is due to be exhibited at London's Bermondsey Project in October.
|Robes of office: HRM Agbogidi Obi James Ikechukwu Anyasi II, 'The Obi of the Idumuje Unor kingdom', was until his death earlier this year, the longest reigning African Monarch. He was crowned king on October 9, 1946 at the age of 22. His robe, depicting a young Queen Elizabeth, gives a clear nod to the period of British colonial rule|
|Born to rule: Sitting on his golden throne, Benjamin Ikenchuku Keagborekuzi I is the current 'Dein of Agbor'. Just two years and four months after his birth in July 1977 he was crowned king following the the unexpected death of his father. It meant he was the youngest king anywhere in the world. He is currently the Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, one of Nigeria's most prestigious universities|
He told Al-Jazeera: 'There are frequent clashes among different ethnic groups… Lots of people have lost trust in their identity. I felt it was important that we see this diverse culture as a point of unity instead of seeing it as something that should divide us as a nation.
'The easiest way I could approach this was to look at the monarchy structure in the country because they are closer to the people than the governors.'
While their ancestors ruled over vast tracts of Africa, following the abolition of the monarchy in 1963 the regional monarchs were stripped of all their constitutional powers.
But far from fading into obscurity, they mostly remain popular leaders and are held in great regard by their hundreds of thousands of loyal subjects.
And despite lacking any formal powers they continue to wield considerable influence and serve as unofficial intermediaries between their subjects and the Nigerian government.
|His Majesty, Deinmowuru Donokoromo III, The 'Pere of Isaba', poses with his royal sceptre outside his palace. He has ruled over the Kingdom of Isaba in the oil rich South-West area of Delta state since 1983|
|His Majesty, Wilson Ojakovo Oghoghovwe Oharisi III was made the 'Ovie of Ughelli' in 1980 and has ruled over the great kingdoms of Ughelli and Urhoboland for more than 33 years|
|he Emir of Kano Alhaji Dr Ado Abdullahi Bayero is attended by aides as he sits on the back of his vintage Rolls Royce on his way to the Central Mosque in Kano|