Equal Voting Access for Persons with Disabilities (EVA4PWD), a program of the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) has said it would deploy observers to monitor Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
It said the organisation would equally partner with other civil society organisations to harvest data around persons with disabilities participation on election day.
David O. Anyaele, Chairman, Campaign for Equal Voting Access for Persons with Disabilities, in a press release explained that the premier PWDs election observer group in Africa, EVA4PWD’s goal is to ensure citizens with disabilities are able to participate in the electoral process on equal bases with other citizens.
“The key objectives of the observation of the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections exercise is to observe the extent of improvement from the February 25, 2023 by INEC in the conduct of an election; provisions made by INEC for persons with disabilities’ participation in the elections; and raise awareness on equal voting rights for citizens with disabilities.
“It is an opportunity to assess the election management body’s compliance to the provisions of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, section 54 of the Electoral Act 2022, INEC Framework on Access and Participation of Persons with Disabilities, and the Nigeria Constitution 1999 as amended.”
The group called on INEC Election Officers at the Local Government Areas across the Federation to identify and distribute assistive materials among the adhoc Staff to ensure that the assistive devices benefit persons with disabilities.
‘We are calling on the leadership of INEC to issue strong worded instructions on the administration of this form to ensure that INEC analysis of the results from Polling Units to State Returning Officers are disaggregated by disability.
“We urge INEC Chairman to direct all the State Resident Commissioners to make available at least 6 Sign Language Interpreters in each of the State Result Collection centers. This is to ensure that the Deaf Communities are not left behind at the result collection centers across the Federation.
The group appealed to persons with disabilities not to be demoralized by the difficulties experienced during the February 25, 2023 Presidential and National Assembly Elections by coming out en-masse to elect those that would pass and implement disability laws at the subnational level.
Anyaele charged PWDs to go out and cast their vote tomorrow.
“Together, we shall create an accessible country, free from discrimination, exclusion and isolation on the grounds of disability”.