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2023: PWDs seek help for 12 members contesting elections

The Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) and Access Nigeria Campaign have urged Nigerians to support the 12 persons with disability (PWDs) contesting as candidates for elective…

The Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) and Access Nigeria Campaign have urged Nigerians to support the 12 persons with disability (PWDs) contesting as candidates for elective position in the 2023 general elections.

The Executive Director, Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) and Convener, Access Nigeria Campaign, Grace Jerry, made the call in Abuja on Friday.

According to her, equal inclusion and participation of PWDs in political party agendas are integral to the growth and development of democracy.

Her call was part of activities commemorating the 2022 International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) with the theme, ‘Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world’.

“We are delighted to record significant growth in Nigeria’s political space with an increase candidacy of PWDs running for political offices.

“In the final list of candidates for the 2023 general elections published by INEC, 12 candidates are Persons With Disabilities running for the 2023 general elections across eight political parties.

“Among the 12 candidates, three (25%) are female, and nine (75%) are male candidates. Candidates’ disaggregation according to political offices includes five candidates contesting for Senate Positions while seven candidates are for the House of Representatives,” Jerry said.

She also said this is in tandem with the joint stance of National Endowment for Democracy, National Democratic Institute, IFES Nigeria, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities- Nigeria, U.S. Mission Nigeria, International Republican Institute (IRI), Jonapwd-National, Yiaga Africa and ActionAid Nigeria.

She noted that the IDPD was proclaimed by the United Nations (UN) through resolution 47/3 of 1992 to promote the rights, development, well-being, and inclusion of PWDs in all spheres of society including political, social, economic, and cultural life.

“The IFA and its allies on the Access Nigeria Campaign are using the opportunity of this year’s celebration to highlight key issues for PWDs that require immediate and deliberate attention.

“These issues include the implementation to Section 54 (1) and (2) of the Electoral Act 2022, and full implementation of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disability (Prohibition) Act, 2018. This will bring about a better quality of life for PWDs and greater inclusion and participation of PWDs in Nigeria’s electoral and governance processes.

“A countrywide civil society coalition of PWD, women and youth groups which includes IFA has developed the Governance Agenda for an Inclusive Nigeria (GAIN) to help Nigeria meet the development priorities of those marginalized groups.

“The GAIN document was developed after over two thousand interviews and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) across the 36 states of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). GAIN recommendations will be presented to 2055 leading candidates across Nigeria for adoption ahead of the 2023 general elections,” she added.

She among other recommended that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and other states government that have passed and signed into law the Discrimination against Persons with Disability Act 2018 should accelerate its implementation, while all other states government yet to pass and signed into law should do so before the 2023 general elections among others.