By Sheila Offiong/Joy Obanya
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on Wednesday said measures had been put in place to ensure seamless voting for People With disabilities (PWDs), in the 2019 general elections.
Yakubu made this known in his address at the Town Hall meeting in Abuja organised by the Albino Foundation to mobilise and sensitise people to participate in the electoral process.
The Chairman was represented by Dr Adekunle Ogunmole, INEC National Commissioner in Charge of Outreach and Partnership Committee.
“Just recently President Muhammadu accented to the bill on PWD; before that the Commission discovered that it was impossible for it to ensure all polling units are PWD compliant.
“In terms of taking opportunity, in our interaction with the Council of States, we stressed the need for Governors to ensure that voting or registration centres are made PWD-friendly.
“Even before the assent, all the governors responded positively to this request and we are just in the process of actualising it, when this bill came into being.”
He described the relationship between the Commission and the PWD as cordial and urged them to work closely with INEC, to ensure collaboration among the various groups.
He said that the Commission had provided magnifying glasses for Albinos and posters to enable people with hearing impairment understand messages about election at polling units.
He also said that the brail ballot guide, which was test-run at the Osun poll, would be provided during the forthcoming polls to enhance the participation of PWDs.
According to him, INEC remains committed to tackle issues that border on the participation of PWDs to promote meaningful growth.
For his part, Mr Jake Epelle, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Albino Foundation, extolled INEC’s efforts to ensure full participation of PWDs in the forthcoming polls.
“Our aim is to bring PWDs face-to-face with INEC and other international election stakeholders, particularly to launch the disability inclusion project in electioneering.
“It is a project that speaks not only on PWDs, but every strata of the society; we want inclusion in the Legislative arm, Executive arm, judicial arm and even the private sector,” Epelle said.
Highpoints of the event include the unveiling of the Disability Inclusion Logo, question and answer session and a group photograph. (NAN)