The European Union (EU) has said that it is supporting the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in its plans to get people with disabilities, women, the youth and other vulnerable groups to fully participate in the 2019 general elections.
The head of EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ketil Karlsen, said this in Abuja after a closed-door meeting with the management of INEC led by its chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and founder of The Albino Foundation, Mr. Jake Epelle.
“We are here to discuss the importance of the participation of people with disabilities, women and youth to ensure these people have better access to voting.
“The EU has been supporting INEC for a very long time; it is not something we started doing just ahead of the elections. So, as a matter of fact, we have been providing institutional support and technical support for a very long time.
“Let me say the support from the EU does not start here, because since 1999 we have provided more than one million Euros to support the democratic processes in Nigeria. And we are very thankful to INEC and our other partners in Nigeria.
“We would all like to see a continued consolidation of democracy through free and fair elections in 2019,” Karlsen said.
On his part, Prof. Yakubu said INEC would ensure inclusiveness in the electoral process for women, youth and people with disabilities.
“INEC has been PWD-friendly. Remember in the Anambra elections, for the first time in the history of elections in Nigeria we introduced the magnifying glasses for those with visual impairment.
“In the Osun governorship election, we introduced textile balloting, meaning that those with visual impairment again were able to vote and were assisted,” Yakubu said.