The Scramble for Lugard House: Ethnic Identity Politics and Recurring Tensions in Kogi State, Nigeria

Ali S. Yusufu Bagaji, Moses Shaibu Etila, Abu Maji


Successive Nigerian constitutions have always sought to legally prevent identities such as ethnic, religion, and regionalism from being the basis of political organisation and contest for state power. In Kogi state, Nigeria, the reality of the situation has been, however, far from its outward appearance. This is because, ethnic identity politics have not only proved to be resilient, but a in a wave of resurgence, have fast become a common feature in its body politics leading to incessant ethno-factionalism and tension in the state. This article explores the linkage between the nature of Nigerian democracy, ethnic identity politics, and escalating ethnic tensions in Kogi State. The central argument of this article is that, the political elites’ notion of democracy, and the prevailing political culture of winner-takes-all, combined to exacerbate ethnic identity politics and the ethnic tensions in Kogi state. The article concludes that, ethno-identity politics and tensions are not particular to Kogi state, but a culture that is inherently in Nigerian body politics.

Key words: Ethnic; identity; Politic; Tension; Statebuilding; Ebira; Igala; Okun; Kogi State; Nigeria

Résumé Les constitutions successives nigérianes ont toujours cherché à empêcher légalement les identités comme ethnique, la religion, et le régionalisme d'être la base de l'organisation politique et lutte pour le pouvoir d'Etat. Dans l'Etat de Kogi, au Nigéria, la réalité de la situation a été, cependant, loin de son apparence extérieure. Ceci est parce que, la politique d'identité ethniques ont non seulement prouvé pour être résilients, mais une par une vague de résurgence, ont rapidement devenu une caractéristique commune dans sa politique du corps conduisant à l'ethno-factions incessante et la tension dans l'état. Cet article explore le lien entre la nature de la démocratie nigériane, la politique d'identité ethnique, et l'escalade des tensions ethniques dans l'Etat de Kogi. L'argument central de cet article est que, la notion des élites politiques de la démocratie, et la culture politique dominante du winner-take-all, combinée à exacerber la politique d'identité ethniques et les tensions ethniques dans l'Etat de Kogi. L'article conclut que, ethno-politique identitaire et les tensions ne sont pas particulière à l'Etat de Kogi, mais une culture qui est intrinsèquement dans le corps politique du Nigeria.

Mots-clés: Ethnique; Identité; Politique; Tension; Construction de l'État; Ebira; Igala; Okun; l'Etat de Kogi; Nigéria


Ethnic; identity; Politic; Tension; Statebuilding; Ebira; Igala; Okun; Kogi State; Nigeria



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