The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has promised to provide better and conducive environment for persons with disabilities to vote during elections.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmod Yakubu, represented by National Commissioner and Chairman, Outreach and Partnerships Committee, Dr. Ladipo Adekunle Ogunmola, gave the assurance in Abuja during a roundtable to commemorate the 2019 International Day of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
The event was jointly organised by Inclusive Friends Association (IFA), National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Save the Children Foundation with the theme: “Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: Taking action on the 2030 development agenda”.
He said, “We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that voting or participation by PWDs are hitch-free. The Commission has taken the lead before now to create disability desk in the commission and the subsequent launch in 2018 of INEC Framework on Access and Participation of Persons with Disabilities in the Electoral process.
“All these put together is geared towards equalization of opportunities. It is also a measure portraying disability as not a burden but a situation to realize their potential at the same time displaying ability in disability,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Executive Director, Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) and Coordinator, Access Nigeria, Grace Jerry, commenting on the ongoing Constitutional and electoral reforms urged the National Assembly to amendment Section 9(1) to mandate INEC to compile, maintain and update on a continuous basis, a national register of voters, which shall include the names and disability status (disaggregated by type of disability) of all persons entitled to vote in any federal, state and local government area council elections.
She also called on the National Assembly to consider electoral reforms that should be in line with Section 30(1) of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act of 2019.
According to her, the establishment of the NCPWDs should be in line with Part VI, Section 31(1) of the same Act which Buhari signed into law on January 23, 2019.
She commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Disability Act into law last January and urged him to ensure “We enter the year 2020 with the establishment of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities in line with part VI, section 31 (l) of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2019 which he signed into law on January 23, 2019.”