By Chimezie Godfrey
The Executive Director, Inclusive Friends Association (IFA),Grace Jerry has called on the 9th National Assembly to work towards the establishment of the commission for persons with disabilities to guarantee that various provisions regarding the implementation of the Disability Act gets into action.
She made the call Tuesday in Abuja at an event tagged:’Participate Today Roundtable on PWDs Participation in Nigerian Politics’ with the theme: “For Greater Participation of People with Disabilities (PWDs) in the Electoral Processes.”
Jerry decried the fact that 20 years since the return to democratic rule persons with disabilitues have not really felt they matter in the democratic journey.
“Now more than ever the provisions of the Disability Act must be implemented to ensure that PWDs experience the sense of belonging and mainstreamed into the workings of Nigeria.
“While the 8th National Assembly passed the Disability Act and the president assented to it, the 9th Assembly must seize the opportunity and work towards the establishment of the Commission for persons with disabilities to guarantee that various provisions regarding the implementation of the Act gets into action.
“The National Assembly must also expedite measures to make a legislation that provides at least 3% of seats into state and federal legislative houses be reserved for PWD politicians,” she said.
On what political parties must do to ensure inclusion of people with disabilities,she said the parties’ code of conduct should make provision for all PWDs in various political parties.
“The code of conduct for political parties should also provide very clear measures to administratively review party provisions for all PWDs in various political parties therefore, a clear policy direction on inclusion is required from political parties.
“Political parties must be delibrate about the production of its campaign materials to ensure they are in accessible formats ty reach different clusters of PWDs such as braille forms, audio, sign language, subtitled videos, etc.
“Political parties must ensure that venues for meetings and campaign activities are accessible to all PWDs.
“This oversight function of the political parties can be facilitated through the National Assembly,” she said.
The Executive Director disclosed that the last three years of the current democracy have been the most fruitful for PWDs.
“The last three years of this democracy have been the most fruitful for us as we count 2 persons with disabilities as legislators in Adamawa and Zamfara states houses of Assembly.
“Seven candidates who were flag bearers of political parties for various offices and over 14 aspirants,” she recalled.
Dignitaries who were represented at the event were Adams Oshiomole, Chairman, All Progressive Congress (APC), Uche Secondus, Chairman, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), among others.