Some disability stakeholders have urged the National Commission for Persons with Disability (NCPWDs) to partner the National Population Commission (NPC) for collation, and collection of accurate data on Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).
The stakeholders said that partnership with the NPC for data collation, analysis and collection would enhance effective planning, policy making and strategies for PWDs at all levels of government.
They made the call during a panel discussion at the third annual anniversary of the passage of the Nigeria Disability Rights Act held in Abuja.
The annual anniversary is organized by the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) as a platform for stakeholders in the disability community to assess, analyze and make recommendations to the NCPWD for the benefit of PWDs nationwide.
The theme of the 2022 anniversary focused on ‘2023: General Elections and the Future of Nigerians with Disabilities’. Dr Bell Ihua, Executive Director of Africa Polling Institute (API), said that the disability community across the country was saddled with the responsibility of guiding and providing research-based advice to the disability commission for consideration.
“The API has been to different agencies on courtesy visits, and we are looking forward to collaborating with the NPC and with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to balance whatever polling we will conduct at the 2023 election.
“The commission for people with disability should also do the same thing to ensure that it partners the NPC and INEC to get data that will guide the commission’s planning, research and statistical activities.
“Securing accurate data of PWDs will go a long way to ensure proper and effective planning for PWDs’ welfare in the country and especially aid INEC’s plans for inclusive general electoral processes in 2023. Mr Ishiyaku Adamu, National President, Nigeria Association of the Blind, urged INEC to uphold its constitutional mandate of ensuring secret ballots for the blind and for inclusive electoral processes for other disability clusters.
According to him, we cannot say that INEC has achieved 100 per cent progress in inclusive electoral processes for PWDs. “Because in terms of inclusion, up till today, we do not practice secret balloting because the only thing INEC makes provision for is to allow a visually impaired person to go to the pulling unit with someone to assist them.
“However, we must recognize that INEC is one of the institutions that we can say have opened their doors to PWDs to access. “But, we want them to ensure that electoral processes is completely inclusive, not only for voting but also inclusive in political parties and other processes and procedures,” he said.
Mr David Anyaele, the Executive Director of the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), urged PWDs to join political parties and make themselves relevant. Anyaele said that PWDs should get the right knowledge on relevant issues that concerns PWDs and get involved during town hall meetings and other stakeholders forum.
“You cannot become a stakeholder from your room, you must come out and get involved in politics.
“We cannot continue to say we do not have money to join politics and expect our voices to be heard.
“Save money for transportation, go about doing campaigns with a party, aspire and contest for any office and let them know that you are there.
“That is how you become relevant, continue to follow those leading, attend meetings and it is by so doing that the political class will begin to recognize and associate with you,” he said.
He cautioned those without integrity not to indulge or get involved in politics because lack of integrity and lack of loyalty would hinder other PWDS from succeeding in politics.
Other stakeholders at the event lauded the organizers for its consistency in creating a forum for relevant stakeholders to share experience on disability matters and make positive recommendations.