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CCD tasks INEC on full political participation for PWDs

By Silver Nwokoro
09 August 2022   |   2:08 am
Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) has called for full participation of Persons Living With Disabilities (PWDs) in the forth coming presidential election.

Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) has called for full participation of Persons Living With Disabilities (PWDs) in the forth coming presidential election.

The Executive Director of CCD, David Anyaele, made the call at the weekend while briefing newsmen. He said the new Electoral Act provides in section 54 that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must take appropriate measures to ensure voters with disabilities have access to assistive devices that will enhance their participation in the process.

“Issues around participation of persons with disabilities in Local Government Elections are nonexistence. From the Abia State Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC) to the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), the stories are the same. The major issues include, absence of disability friendly election frameworks at the state level, little or no involvement or consultation of organisations representing persons with disabilities before and during elections, and absence of information, education and communication materials targeting the disability community.

“These are noticeable during the elections as low turnout of voters with disabilities, discrimination of voters with disabilities, inaccessible polling units, lack of knowledge of the process, absence of assistive devices were order of the day,” he lamented.

Anyaele noted that the advent of the United Nations convention on the rights of PWDs provided a holistic solution to the issue.
He stressed that Article 29 of the Convention mandated state parties to ensure that PWDs participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others.
He said the Convention further addresses issues around the design and implementation of an electoral process that is non-discriminatory, while also requiring states to provide voters with disability-related accommodations and other facilitative measures to enable their equal participation in electoral process.
Citing section 30 of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (prohibition) Act 2018, he said:  “PWDs shall be encouraged to fully participate in politics and public life; government shall actively promote an environment in which persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in activities and administration of political parties without discrimination.”

The group also decried the security situation in Nigeria, noting that it is the worst so far since the foundation of the country.

CCD further applauded INEC for it’s efforts to implement the new Electoral Act and other PWD related frameworks, such as the Discrimination against PWD (Prohibition) Act 2018 and the INEC framework on Access and Participation of PWDs in the Electoral Process, amongst others.
Anyaele further urged political parties to take appropriate measure to create space for equal opportunities by ensuring that PWDs are included in the campaign committees, campaign podiums are accessible to all with the provision of sign language interpreters, access to information, and disability inclusive manifestoes, among others.
“This is critical because this time around, PWDs will not only like to be seen but they also want to be heard,” he emphasised.

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