By Akinola Ajibola,
Nigeria’s electoral is set to experience a new turn as Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will deploy Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) for the governorship election in Osun State.
INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Tuesday while addressing a gathering at a stakeholders’ meeting in Osogbo, the state capital.
He explained that these persons were members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to be deployed as ad hoc staff for the election.
“The 2022 Osun State governorship election will also make history, being the first election in which INEC is deploying PwDs as ad hoc staff,” the INEC boss said.
“Thirty-five (35) serving NYSC members with one form of disability or another have been identified, trained, and engaged as ad hoc staff at the polling unit level. I appeal to all stakeholders to cooperate with, and protect them, as well as all other ad hoc staff, in our effort to make our electoral process more inclusive and participatory.”
According to Professor Yakubu, INEC is committed to an inclusive, credible, and transparent electoral process and as such deployed assistive devices for PwDs to have a more pleasant voting experience on Election Day.
He added that magnifying glasses, braille ballot guides and posters for voters with hard of hearing conditions would be deployed at the polling unit level in areas of need, based on data collected in collaboration with the PwD community.
The INEC chief said the commission’s Regulations and Guidelines provide for priority to be accorded at polling units to PwDs without waiting in long queues during voting, as was the case with elderly people, pregnant women, and nursing mothers.
Beyond these measures, he promised that INEC would ensure PwDs get more involved in election administration like everyone else.