ABUJA  – Some political stakeholders have commended the efforts of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remove all barriers preventing Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) from participating in the nation’s electoral process.
The stakeholders who spoke with newsmen in Abuja said that INEC’s provision for persons with disabilities to be part of the elections was a demonstration of its consideration for human sensibilities.
It was recalled that Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, had at a conference recently, said that the commission was taking measures to ensure that PWDs had access to the electoral process in the country.
Áccording to Jega, some important voter education materials such as ‘Frequently Asked Questions’, ‘Guide to Transfer of Registration’, etc., should be produced in Braille for the benefit of our visually impaired brothers and sisters.
One of the stakeholders and National Chairman of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Dr Yunusa Tanko, said that the effort by INEC to integrate the disabled persons into the country’s electoral process would enhance the country’s electoral system.
“It will also give the electoral process more credibility of inclusiveness by all concerned. That way, nobody will be disenfranchised from voting the candidate that he wants.
“Anybody can become a person with disability within a tinkle of an eye. So if we prepare for the people in that category, that means we have prepared for ourselves, in case we find ourselves in that particular situation, ’’ Tanko said.
He also urged the National Assembly to look at the issue with a sense of commitment and responsibility, saying “the PWDs could have been their brothers, sisters or even themselves”.
“All enabling laws to ensure that any person with disability has easy access to voting will be a welcome development,’’ he said.
The National President, Association of Sign Language Interpreters of Nigeria (ASLIN), Mr. Timothy Tirat, also applauded the INEC’s commitment to the plight of persons with disability.
Tirat said that though the commission might not achieve the goal at once, ‘’ I believe that it is achievable’’.
He urged governments at all levels, cooperate bodies and individuals, to support INEC’s vision for people with disability.
On her part, Mrs. Asimawu Abdullahi, a visually impaired person, said that the concern of the commission for persons with disabilities would give them “voices and recognition’’.
She said that people with disabilities had been looking forward to the time that they would have access to the electoral process in the country.