This paper focuses on the hegemonic politics between the Eggon and Hausa/Fulani ethnic groups in Nasarawa, North-Central Nigeria, which eventually erupted into the Ombatse crisis of May 2013- a precursor to the 2015 general elections. It addresses four research questions seeking to unravel whether or not: (1a) the crisis truly reflects a spiritual revivalist agenda as projected by the Ombatse promoters or merely espouses Eggon rejection of Muslim-Hausa/Fulani ethnic hegemony- mirroring broadly the identity, hegemonic and exclusionary politics in the area cum the larger Nigerian society;(b) the Eggon-Hausa-Fulani feud has the potential to exacerbate the sectarian strife in Nigeria’s northern region and therefore deepen the polarization among Nigeria’s disparate social groups-thereby threaten the consolidation of Nigeria’s young democracy; (2) there are any institutional safeguards in place to forestall the promotion of discriminatory tendencies in the politics of the state;(3) there is the likelihood of the tendencies in the Nasarawa politics nudging the state into violence after the 2015 elections; and (4) there are viable solutions [RN1] available to address the potentially violate situation. Methodologically, using both primary and secondary sources- interviews and works of scholars, and media reports on the crisis, the study came up with the following findings: (1) the Ombatse crisis is not a religious-[RN2] puritanical cause, but fits into the themes of identity conflict, hegemonic and exclusionary politics; (2)the election outcome still reflected the deep divisions and polarization among Nigeria’s disparate social groups- projecting Nigeria yet as a deeply-divided society; (3) contrary to the pre-election anxiety, there were no violence during and after the elections-owing essentially to the moderating presence in Nigeria during the 2015 election of the International Criminal Court (ICC), who threatened to prosecute person(s) or group(s) that perpetrate violence in the course of the election; (4)Nasarawa politics lacks any ‘institutional safeguards to prevent the emergence of conditions in which divisions within the society gain a salient discriminatory dimension and eventually facilitate the rise of violence as a means to realize group interest’. The study suggests six recommendations that can promote the solution of the potentially violate situation; importantly, evolving a well-defined power-sharing framework, which aims at rotating such political offices among the ethnic groups for a better inter-group relations, implementing past recommendations of commission of inquiries and having the presence of the ICC during elections.

Author Bio

Dr. Simeon H.O. Alozieuwa hold s a doctorate degree in Political Economy and Development Studies. He is of the Department of Defense and Security Studies of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Abuja. His research interests include peace and conflict studies, security and strategic studies, politics of resources, ethnic/militia groups, terrorism, political violence.

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