People Living With Disabilities (PWDs) have commended the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) over the inclusion of the INEC Form EC40H at polling unit to record the data of PWD voters in the just concluded Ekiti State Gubernatorial Elections.
A document signed by the Executive Direction Inclusive Friends, a Disability Right Nongovernmental Organisation that works to promote the right of persons with disability in Nigeria, Miss Grace Jerry, who is also the Coordinator, Access Nigeria: Disability Votes Matter campaign reveals that the Ekiti Polls has set the pace for other elections in Nigeria, as it concerns the inclusion of PWDs in electoral processes in the country.
Miss Jerry who said that the population of PWDs in Nigeria is estimated to be 29,700,000, also lamented that over the years, these population have been allowed to face a plethora of accessibility challenges in their quest to participate in Nigeria’s Political and Electoral Processes:
“The Ekiti State Elections has set the pace, the Access Nigeria campaign appreciates INEC for making the Ekiti election more accessible for PWDs by adopting the Election Day instruction designed by the campaign as a new polling unit material called EC30PWD. The adherence to priority voting which assisted a lot of PWDs to vote early was also most commendable. This is the first time in our political history that PWDs were given this level of consideration. We now see that our collective efforts are yielding results, we can see hope now in a nation that is collectively ours”.
“Building on the success achieved here in Ekiti State, We hope that INEC would also ensure that Form EC40H is deployed and utilised at all polling units during the September, 22, 2018 governorship election in Osun State. This will assist INEC collect PWDs data on Election Day and plan better for PWDs, they should deploy the new Form EC30PWD to all polling units during the Osun governorship election to assist voters with hearing impairments cast their ballot without difficulty or assistance.
Magnifying glasses also should be deployed to all polling units to enable voters with Albinism cast their ballots easily as well as Polling officials trained on better ways to manage and interact with voters with disabilities on Election Day,” she said.