The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says it is taking measures to allow Persons With Disabilities (PWDs), to effectively participate during elections, especially voting processes across the country.
The Chairman, Outreach and Partnership Committee of INEC, Dr Adekunle Ladipo, said this at a one-day meeting on capturing dis-aggregated data of persons with disabilities in the country held on Tuesday, in Kano.
Ladipo, who was represented by Zamfara Resident Electoral Commissioner, Hajiya Asma’u Maikudi, said unavailability of dis-aggregated data of PWDs in the country was limiting the commission’s plan for their inclusive and effective participation in the electoral process.
According to him, data on size, location type and gender of people with disabilities, is needed to provide the required effective service.
The INEC commissioner added that data on the literacy level among PWDs was also needed.
“Those that require braille need to be educated on how to operate it before they can effectively use it in making their choices on election day.
“In August 2019, the commission organised a national strategy meeting to develop a strategy of collecting the dis-aggregated data of PWDs across the country.
“The meeting developed a harmonised format to be used to ensure uniformity in collection of the data in the voter register across the nation.’’
In her remark, the Deputy Director, Civil Society Organisation division of the commission, Lakunuya Dorothy-Bello, said that full participation of PWDs in the electoral processes was one of the underlying principles of the United Nations (UN), convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, adopted in 2016.
Dorothy-Bello added that in line with the UN convention, the commission had demonstrated its commitment towards ensuring participation of people with disabilities in the electoral process.
She, however, stressed that inclusion of PWDs in the electoral process required accurate data.
“Therefore ensuring that relevant statistics and research data are made available to the policy makers, is a precondition for responsive and effective evidence-based policy making.
“There is an urgent need to capture the dis-aggregated data of PWDs across the country.
“This will assist the commission in knowing the concentration of voters with disabilities, number, gender and type of aid to procure and deploy.
“The database of eligible PWDs dis-aggregated by type of disabilities and gender will help the commission in inclusive planning.” she said.
On his part, the Executive Director, Center for Citizens with Disabilities, David Anoyaele, commended the electoral body for involving his group in the electoral process.
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He said: “INEC is really building an inclusive system with the release of the document on PWDs’ active participation in the electoral process.”
According to him, the document has become a motivating factor and power for every disabled person.