By James EZEMA
Persons with disabilities in the country yesterday decried what they described as 50 years of exclusion from participating in the Nigerian political process.
According to them, the current Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega must ensure provisions were made to allow them to fully fulfil their political and electoral obligation.
They made their grievances known at a rally organised the platform of Transform Naija Forum.
Speaking on behalf of the physically challenged person, ActingChairman/ Administrative Secretary of Spinal Cord Injuries Association of Nigeria, Mr. Obioha Ononogba lamented: “Since independence in 1960, persons with disabilities have found it rather difficult to engage themselves in the political and electoral process in Nigeria”, observing that because elections were characterised by terrible violence, chaos and intimidation their participation in the electoral process was hampered.
Obioha delivered a speech on behalf of national president of Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), Danlami Basharu added that the fear of stigmatisation and marginalisation had in the past kept many physically challenged persons indoors without “bothering to go to the polling boots to be counted and represent their views.
“The critical issue for persons with disabilities is lack of inclusion in the national polity. Very little or no mention is made of Nigerians with disabilities in the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act”, he noted.