The chiefdom of Nanuŋ situated in northern Ghana has existed for centuries up to our time. Although it has been subject to the transformations common to colonial and postcolonial states the mechanisms of succession and ritual have survived and can be studied in the field. My research, which began in 1978, has included two successions, a number of installations of new chiefs and the observation of ritual activities of specialists during successions. It appears that two chiefly houses alternate but no chief becomes such without competition. The paper will discuss in detail the political culture of Nanuŋ resulting from the complex articulation of factors which combine succession rules, ritual conditioning and the quest for power. The Nanuŋ case can be understood as an example of neotraditional democracy coexisting with the modern state but following its own trajectory.