Firstly, the government of Benin was monarchial headed by the Oba without absolute power. The hereditary nature of leadership was introduced during the reign of Oba Ewuakpa.
However, the Oba headed the central administration and was assisted by the council of Uzama Nihinron headed by the Oliha.
The Oba was also assisted by other groups of chiefs – Uwague, Eribo and the palace chiefs. There were also town chiefs and governors in the government with responsibilities.
Meanwhile, the Oba performed the judicial functions with some helpers, and the tribute-paying states were allowed self-rule provided they abide by the law.
There was no strong army but the Oba would raise a powerful army when there was the need to do so.
Moreover, Benin had a cultural, commercial, and political affiliation with their neighbors – Eko (Lagos), Agbor, Owe, Delta Igbos, Urhobo, Isoko, Itsekiri, Ekiti, etc.
N/B: Benin army was headed by Iyesere. The Uzama acted as a check to the powers of the Oba.