Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
Actionaid Nigeria has expressed concern over the continous exclusion of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs), women and youth in electoral process, urging electoral bodies to create more space to ensure their inclusion ahead of 2019 elections.
Ene obi, the Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, disclosed this Friday at a press briefing on Strengthening Citizens Engagement in Electoral Processes (SCEEP) in Abuja .
She lamented that the electoral processes in Nigeria does not favour people with disabilities.
Obi explained that the SCEEP project was aimed at Strengthening the inclusion of citizens, particularly people living with disabilities, women and youth in the electoral process, ensuring government accountability and responsiveness. Adding that electoral process is incomplete without their involvement.
She noted; “we found out that in terms of voters registration and polling booths, do not have places where PWDs can access. SCEEP have contributed in training people in encouraging PWDs, and also in engaging the communities not to look at the common narrative that only those who are capable, who can get up and vote, but those having difficulties we need to count their voices as well.”
“Therefore we are calling on all Nigerians to come out and let their voices count. The narrative that you dont have to be part of the process needs to change.
“Let the youths refuse to be used, they need to go and vote and not to be used by politicians, let them tell the politicians to use their children” she said.
Also, Rilwan Abdulahi , the National President, National Association of Persons With Physical Disabilities (NAPWPD), decried that INEC was yet to recognise issues of persons with disabilities
“All we are after is for political parties and electoral management bodies to identify with issues concerning PWDs and to create spaces for us”.
On his part, Head of Governance, DFID Nigeria, Oliver Blake, stressed that the SCEEP programme would not only ensure high level participation in the electoral process, but also see more women, PWDs, youths being elected into position of power in the country.
“It is important that every body use their voice in Nigeria, that of course means that everybody needs to register and collect their Permanent Voters Card, PVCs, which is very important.”