EQUAL VOTING ACCESS: CCD CARRIES CAMPAIGN TO NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) has carried its Campaign for Equal Voting Access for Persons with Disabilities, aimed at ensuring that Persons with disabilities are not marginalized during elections in Nigeria, to the National Assembly.
The Executive Director of CCD, Mr. David Anyaele with his entourage stormed the National Assembly today to launch the Campaign before the Senate Committee on INEC, chaired by Senator Nazif Suleiman.
David Anyaele stressed that the campaign was necessitated due to the disability gaps the centre witnessed during its observation of previous elections in Nigeria and cited Edo State gubernatorial election as a case study.
While revealing that the gaps observed during Edo State gubernatorial election included- absence of sign language interpreters, absence of braille materials for the blind, inaccessible polling units as a result of presence of staircases, high slabs, gutters and other barriers, David Anyaele, called on the National Assembly – to pass without further delay the Nigeria disability bill which provides for the prohibition of all forms of discrimination and harmful practices against persons with disabilities , to amend section 56 of the 2010 Electoral Act to accommodate the protection of persons with different forms of disabilities, as well as to demand disability plans and budget from INEC in the national budget for the provision of sensitive infrastructures including Braille ballots, accessible voting cubicles, written instructions and sign language interpreters to ensure Equal Voting Access for Persons with Disabilities.
The ED also called on INEC -to conduct audit of all their processes to ensure persons with different forms of disabilities are provided for in INEC process, election plans and engagement with stakeholders, to review polling unit locations and other election infrastructures (voting cubicles, ballot boxes,) to ensure Equal Voting Access for Persons With Disabilities and to standardize its collection of PWD data in pre-election and Election Day processes to enable them plan for the participation of voters with different forms of disabilities.
Responding, the Chairman of the committee, Senator Nazif Suleiman, stated that the committee is ever sensitive to issues of Persons with Disabilities in the country and will remain committed in ensuring that no eligible voter is disenfranchised during elections in the country.
The Chairman, who also utilized the opportunity to call on Persons with disabilities to imbibe the culture of hard work instead of relying on self-pity, also assured that the committee will support, engage and promote CCD on the issues raised.
Other members of the committee which include Senator Hope Uzodinma, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege , Senator Olusola Adeyeye, Senator Umaru Kurfi, Senator Missau, Senator Suleiman Humkuyi and Senator Gumel Abdullahi, commended CCD for the brilliant presentation and requested for a written articulation of what the disability gaps .
It will be recalled that the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities on Wednesday, October 4th, 2017, launched the Campaign for Equal Voting Access for Persons with Disabilities in Anambra State.