The European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), in collaboration with the Gombe State Independent Electoral Commission (GOSEIC), has trained 50 women and some representatives of Persons with Disability (PwDs) ahead of the state’s LG elections.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training was specifically to ensure their inclusion in the forthcoming Gombe local government polls scheduled for Dec.19.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the training on Friday in Gombe, Mr Hamza Fassi-Fihri, Project Coordinator, ECES. said the importance of local government elections to democratic development were numerous, because as the tier of government closest to the people it would engage with them to address their needs.
He stated that it was equally important that there was inclusion of all stakeholders in the electoral process, because this guaranteed that all the people would have their voices heard, adding that “ democracy never delivers as much as when elections are inclusive.”
“ This is even more important for those populations who are marginalized like youth, women and PwDs”, Fassi-Fihri added.
He expressed confidence that the training would help increase awareness about civic education amongst stakeholders and ensure free, fair, credible and inclusive elections in the state.
Mr Saidu Awak, Executive Chairman, GOSIEC, observed that political parties had not been sensitised enough on the need for them PwDs to be represented in their structures, saying that this was an area the commission will be focusing on soon.
The Executive Director, Albino Foundation, Mr Jake Epelle said he had discussed the issue of inclusion during the election with the chairman of GOSIEC who had “ agreed that the election would be inclusive, fair, free and credible.”
Epelle stated that inclusion was the most important thing for PwDs, because “ we don’t want to be left behind, while others are moving forward.”
He appealed to the media to provide more coverage of issues that were of concern to PwDs in the society, because the media remained the “ voice of the people.”
Malam Umar Ali-Goro, Chairman of the Joint Association of PwDs, Gombe chapter, also called for the inclusion of their members in the governance of the state, since every society needed the input of all to develop, urging all members of the Association to ensure that they voted in the election on Dec. 19.
Ali-Goro, commended the ECES for the training, saying it had brought their issues to the public domain, especially in the state.(NAN)