The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) that the commission is working tirelessly to ensure that it conducts an inclusive election that would take into cognisance, the special needs of Nigeria’s 27.3 million PWDs.
Speaking at the Access Nigeria Quarterly Roundtable on PWDs on Inclusive Elections in Nigeria, organised by Inclusive Friends (IFA), a PWD-led non-profit/ non-governmental organisation, which works to promote the Rights of Nigerians with Disability, INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, said his commission’s new strategic plan has ensured the participation of marginalised groups in the electoral process.
Represented by the commissioner/ chairman Outreach and Partnership Committee, INEC, Dr Adekunle Oladipo Ogunmola, the INEC boss stated: “The Commission has initiated several measures to ensure that PWDs are mainstreamed into electoral processes. This was done through widespread, targeted voter education and sensitisation of PWDs in Nigeria. Some of the Commission’s efforts are; transcription of voter education into Braille; introduction of sign language interpreters as well as procuring and deploying magnifying glasses for the Albinos as seen during the just concluded Anambra governorship election”, he said.
Earlier, in her keynote address, the Executive Director, IFA, Miss Grace Jerry, said the objective of the Access Nigeria Quarterly Roundtables are to facilitate regular consultations and dialogue between PWD community and critical election stakeholders on how to implement recommendations in the Access Nigeria ‘Disability Votes Matter’ Report.
Miss Jerry, who said that since the Access Nigeria campaign conducted Nigeria’s first and second ever polling unit accessibility audits, relevant electoral stakeholders have continued to make commitments to implement her organisation’s recommendations towards addressing widespread barriers observed during the Edo and Ondo States’ elections.
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