The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured persons with disabilities in the country of it’s readiness to make the voting process much more convenient for them to participate.
Speaking at a discussion session organised by the Policy and Advocacy Centre (PLAC ) and sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation yesterday in Abuja, INEC’s Director of Gender and Inclusivity, Mrs Lukonaya Bello said that the commission made provisions for materials to assist persons with disabilities at the election.
The session which had various groups representing persons with disabilities focused on inclusive elections with special reference to the provisions made to ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities during the 2023 general election.
While responding to concerns over difficulties encountered by persons with disabilities during the elections, Bello said the commission was aware of the shortcomings witnessed during the 2023 poll and is working hard to address them in subsequent elections.
“INEC is determined to make to ensure that every eligible voter is enable to vote and participate in the democratic process. the electoral process.
“This is about the making of the process accessible by ensuring accessibility of the poling unit and advocacy to stakeholders to make the process accessible,” she said.
She urged the various groups of persons living with disabilities to join hands with the commission to ensure overall improvement of the country’s electoral system.
Bello said that INEC’s pledge for inclusivity is a collective effort to build an electoral system where every eligible voter regardless of their ability or disability is empowered to contribute to building the future of the country.
She commended the organisers of the event, PLAC and their sponsor, MacArthur Foundation for its unwavering commitment to inclusivity in the electoral process.
She also assured that the commission is taking note of the complaints and flaws trailing the 2023 general election, adding that such lapses will be addressed before future election.
The Executive Director of PLAC , Mr.Clement Nwankwo expressed worry that lot of people are being excluded from participating in governance daily due to so many challenges.
He said: ” The democracy that we run can only survive if those who we have elected respond to the needs of citizens.
“And if it continues as a problem, then government has not been able to find a way to address citizens needs. So the importance of us being able to exercise our ability to choose our leaders is so very important”.
Earlier, the Deputy Director MacArthur Foundation, Amina Saliyu said that providing for persons with disability should be seen as an important obligation, adding that it can affect all vulnerable segments of the society.