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Stakeholders call for inclusion of PWDs during elections

The founder, Albino foundation, Mr Jake Ekpelle has called on the National Assembly, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and Political Parties to ensure inclusion of person’s with Disabilities, PWDs in it’s policies for them to participate adequately in the political and electoral processes.

Mr Ekpelle made the call in Abuja during a workshop on Disability inclusion guide for key officers of INEC.

He said, for an all inclusion of person’s with Disabilities in the electoral processes to be achieved, electoral officials needed to know the challenges faced by PWDs and how to tackle them.

In the same vein, the National President, Joint Association of persons with Disabilities, Miss Ekaette Umoh said elections cannot be said to be free, fair and credible when a substantial number of PWDs we’re always disenfranchised.

Miss Umoh called on the National Assembly to give legal backing the laws that would support inclusion of PWDs to the political and electoral processes in the country.

Mrs Beni Goodnews of the Gender and inclusivity department in INEC who said the commission recognized that all citizens have equal rights to participate in the electoral processes explained that they are working towards eliminating barriers that inhibits PWDs From adequate participation.

The Director, Voter Education and Publicity department, Mr Nick Dazang said his department would continue to collaborate with stakeholders to ensure that the public gets information that would give them access to equal participation especially on election days.

The Director General of the Electoral Institute, Dr Said Umar Idris who said the institute collaborated with different stakeholders to develop the disability guide, expressed the hope that it’s implementation would give confidence to voters facing one challenge or the other.

The Deputy Project Coordinator, European Center for Electoral Support, Mr Manji Wilson pledged the continued support of the Center towards project that would ensure that all citizens were carried along in the political and electoral processes in the Country.

Ogochukwu Okoronkwo

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