Ahead the 2019 General Elections Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) under the aegis of the Access Nigeria: Disability Votes Matter campaign has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to test run the tactile ballot guide or Braille ballots for the coming Ekiti and Osun states governorship elections.
While the Ekiti election holds in July 14, the Osun governorship election is schedule for September 22.
The Executive Director Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) and Coordinator, Access Nigeria: Disability Votes Matter campaign, Grace Jerry, made the plea Tuesday in Abuja at the second edition of the Access Nigeria: Disability Votes Matter Quarterly Roundtables on PWD-Inclusive Elections in Nigeria.
According to her, the about 29,700,000 PWDs in Nigeria, which 15 percent of the 198,000,000 National Population Commission (NPC) Nigeria population estimates, is more than the overall population of Cameroun, the need to get the best out of them by among other ensuring their participation in political and other national development processes.
“It is imperative that measurable steps are taken on a consistent basis to ensure that eligible voters among these citizens are not denied the right to participate in the political and electoral processes of their country because of barriers that can be overcome,” Jerry said.
While commending INEC for some achievements, she said that the current voters register in the country does not have disability or type of disabilities against the names of register voters, thus INEC may not know where to take assistive devices like Braille ballot during elections.
On his part, the Chairman INEC’s Outreach and Partnership Committee, Dr. Ladipo Ogunmola and INEC National Commissioner, Hajiya Amina Zakari, assured that the commission would not relent on its efforts to ensure full participation of PWDs in the nation’s political and electoral processes.
In one of the technical session, the trio of the Executive Director, OJA Consults, Mr. Jide Ojo;President, Network for the Advancement of People with Visible Disabilities (NAPVID), Melody Omosah, and Board Member, Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA), Dr. Adebukola Adebayo, said it is important to Nigerians to bring discussions on the full participation of PWDs in the nation’s democratic activities and other national endeavours.