Jake Epelle, founder of the Albino Foundation, says politicians should not take persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria for granted as the country prepares for the 2023 elections.
According to NAN, Epelle spoke on Wednesday at a media briefing on the inclusion of PWDs.
Speaking in Abuja, Epelle said the number of PWDs in Nigeria is over 25 million, adding that all resources should be provided to ensure inclusiveness in the election process.
“We are emphasising on the need for political parties to practise true inclusion by making sure that their campaign promises and manifestos have a place for PWDs,” he said.
“Our number can make or mar your election. We are way over 25 million, so do not take our numbers for granted. Factor us into your programmes if you want to win.
“We commend the Independent National Electoral Commission’s effort in engendering an all-inclusive political process through the development of a framework on access for PWDs. We urge political parties to adopt and improve on it.
“This is for broader participation targeted at persons with disabilities, to have a meaningful voice in the political and electoral processes.”
According to him, sign language interpreters and audio should be provided for PWDs.
“We reiterate our demand for non-discriminatory and inclusive appointment of INEC RECs. We are watching to ensure that 15 percent of Nigeria’s population are not left out of the process,” he added.
“The war against discrimination of PWDs can only be won when political parties, institutions, government and the people collectively collaborate to say no to nuances of discrimination and campaign for the rights of PWDs.
“They should also actively become champions for PWD inclusion in political processes, thereby building an equitable society for all.”