The Albino Foundation in partnership with the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) on Tuesday in Abuja organised a one-day training for leadership of political parties on disability inclusion in political processes.

The founder and CEO, The Albino Foundation and The Convener, Disability Inclusion Nigeria, Jake Epelle in his opening remark said that the event is designed to educate the political party on disability issues and to build their capacity towards mainstreaming persons with disabilities into their policies and programmes to enhance the participation of persons with disabilities in electoral and political processes in Nigeria.

Speaking further he stated that at the end of the workshop, he expected that there will be increased awareness and capacity of political actors (National and State executives of political parties) to improve participation of PWDs and PWAs in electoral and political processes in Nigeria.

The workshop was declared open by James Lalu, the Executive Secretary of National Commission of Persons with disabilities who also bundles as the PWDs Representative at the APC National Caretaker Committee. In his remark while declaring the workshop open, he said that political parties have a lot to gain by including persons with disabilities. He said that PWDs have huge number that the political parties cannot afford to toy with. He told his political story of once being a member of PDP but because PDP refused to recognize PWDs, he left to APC. APC being the only party that are giving persons with disabilities sense of belonging, a lot of PWDs joined the party and that also contributed to their victory in 2015 general election.

The goodwill messages were delivered by Hamza Fassi-Fihri, ECES, Dr. Leonard Nzenwa (Chairman, IPAC Caretaker Committee), Lois Auta, the CEO, Network of Disabled Women, Founder, Cedar seed Foundation, and the first woman with disability present herself for election into House of Representatives.

Grace Jerry of Inclusive Friends Association (IFA), represented by Oluwaseyi Moses (Programme Manager, IFA) made a presentation on the topic “Disability Inclusion: Understanding disability issues and barriers to equal political participation of PWDs” and Dr. Leonard Nzenwa, IPAC Caretaker Committee Chairman presented another “Disability Inclusion: Developing strategy to increase participation of PWDs in political processes in Nigeria”.

The IPAC chairman in his presentation made the following commitments:

Political parties committed to make available Expression of Interest and Nomination forms to all PWDs at a reduced and affordable cost.

All political offices and administration of offices provide a quota for PWDs

Political parties’ advocacy on siting offices in accessible environment

Create PWD cells in political parties to maintain the agenda of PWDs

Political parties are aware of ongoing constitutional reform processes and will support every submission that will promote inclusive participation of PWDs

The following recommendations were made at the end of the workshop:

Implement articles 29 of the UN convention of the rights of PWDs and article 9 of CEDAW

Elevate positive rhetoric’s geared towards promoting participation of PWDs in political parties

Provide favourable physical and environmental conditions to allow PWDs achieve their full potential and participate in every aspect of life

Sustained engagements by all stakeholders towards mainstreaming participation of PWDs in political and electoral life

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