Key Disability groups and representatives from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, have identified key challenges that could possibly disenfranchise some critical cluster of the groups from actively exercising their rights during the 2023 general elections.
Both parties met in Lagos where key challenges facing some persons living with disabilities were identified and agreement on some possible action plans reached.
The meeting which was at the instance of the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) in partnership with the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) with support from Voice Nigeria, also featured conversations from key political actors including Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, LASIEC, OPDs & PWDs organisations to discuss and highlight the level of inclusion and way forward for the inclusion of PWDs in the 2023 general election.
In his remarks, Buba Luka, Disability and youth desk officer of INEC in Lagos, informed the meeting that the Commission would provide magnifying glasses for people with albinism on the election days.
Also, Luka said braille ballot guides would be made available for people with visual impairment and that Information Education Communication, IEC, materials will be made in braille.
In addition, he said that signage posters would be strategically positioned at polling units for people with hearing impairments while sign interpreters would be engaged.
Continuing, Luka said the Commission is working towards providing access and assistive devices for people with disabilities to enable them participate seamlessly in the electoral process.
He informed them that the INEC, has already started planning ahead of time to put things in place for PWDs.
On his part representative of LASIEC, Ademola Adefemi said the agency has introduced the local government statistics form in the last local government elections to collate data on people with disabilities and gender.
David Anyaele, executive director of the CCD, remarked that political participation is a fundamental aspect of democratic governance, the rule of law, social inclusion and human rights approaches aimed at eliminating marginalization and discrimination.
In a research findings in Lagos July 2021 local government elections showed that PWDs faced multiple barriers like lack of sign language interpreters for the deaf cluster, discrimination against the blind among others.