Around the world a growing crisis of legitimacy characterises the relationship between citizens and the institutions that affect their lives. The project of defining, indeed of understanding, citizenship in Nigeria is seen by the authors of this Briefing as an engagement in a journey of disconnection between a primal conception of an indigenous sense of being and the notion of an entity beyond that confine of indigenousness. In response to this gap between citizens and their institutions, people are struggling to find new forms of citizenship, participation and accountability.
Working with communities across Nigeria, the Nigerian Popular Theatre Alliance (NPTA) and its research centre, the Theatre for Development Centre (TFDC) have sought to understand why the country, with vast assets in human and natural resources, remains a nation with millions of people suffering political exclusion, voicelessness and poverty. The research involves academic and civil society institutions in Nigeria, Mexico, Bangladesh, India, Brazil, South Africa and the UK. Through comparative and participatory research, it seeks to explore new forms of citizenship that help make rights real for poor people. This document is the first of the Briefings aimed at highlighting key policy issues for debate and possible action. It includes issues of ethnicity, gender, and religion as well as citizenship rights, government accountability, resource management and required changes in government policy. It was produced in conjunction with the Development Research Centre on Citizenship, Participation and Accountability at IDS, UK.