The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has explained what it is doing to allow persons with disabilities (PWDs) take an active part in the electoral process across the country.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Zamfara State, Asma’u Maikudi, disclosed this on Tuesday at a one-day meeting in Kano.
The meeting was aimed at fashioning the mechanism for capturing the data of persons with disabilities in the country.
She said that the unavailability of this data has limited the commission’s plan for inclusive and effective participation of PWD’s in the electoral process.
According to her, data on the size, location and gender of PWDs are needed to provide the required service effectively.
She added that data on the literacy level amongst PWDs is also needed.
“Those who required braille, they need to be educated on how to operate 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 disaggregated data of PWDs across the country.
“The meeting developed a harmonised format to be used to ensure uniformity in the collection of the disaggregated data of PWDs in the register of voters across the nation,” she explained.
In her remarks, the deputy director, civil society organisation division of the INEC, Lakunuya Dorothy-Bello, said the full participation of PWDs in the electoral processes ”is one of the underlining principals of the United Nations (UN) convention on the rights of persons with disabilities adopted in 2016”.
She added that the commission has demonstrated its commitment toward ensuring their participation.
She, however, noted that inclusion of PWDs in the electoral process ”required accurate data”.
She said the commission would ensure that relevant statistics and research data are made available to policymakers ”as a precondition for responsive and effective evidence-based policymaking”.
“There is an urgent need to capture the disaggregated data of PDW’s across the country. This will assist the commission towards knowing the concentration of voters with disabilities, number, gender and type of assistive aid to procure and deploy.
“The database of eligible PWDs disaggregated by type of disabilities and gender will help the commission in inclusive planning,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director, Center for Citizens with Disabilities, David Anoyaele, commended the electoral body for involving persons living with disabilities in the process.
He said, “INEC is really building inclusive with the release of the PWD active participation in electoral process documents.”
According to him, ”such has become a motivating factor and power for every disabled person.”