PWDs laud APC’s inclusiveness, demand 15% representation in parliament


By Chimezie Godfrey

A Physically Challenged Woman and the Chief Executive Officer of Cedar Seed Foundation, Lois Auta has commended the All Progressive Congress (APC) for the inclusiveness of People with Disabilities (PWDs) in its party activities.

Auta made the commendation in an exclusive interview with Newsdiaryonline correspondent at the Electoral Forum Launch and Inaugural Meeting by the Electoral HUB and its partners on Tuesday in Abuja.

The launch of the Electoral Forum is aimed at facilitating systematic electoral reform from discussions among election stakeholders, promoting evidence based lawmaking, policymaking and advocacy on elections in Nigeria, and advancing strategies to improve capacities and credibility of Electoral Management Bodies, EMBs in Nigeria.

She noted that the launching and inauguration of the electoral forum is timely and part of the strategies that can be used to drive women inclusion in politics.

She said,”This launching and inauguartion of electoral forum is timely, it is one of the strategies we can use to ensure inclusion and am so proud of the team for making sure that there is a representative of persons with disabilities.

“And secondly, organisation of persons with disability or the disability community itself needs to organize themselves, we need to come together, we need to have that synergy, we need to agree and have one voice that will be able to ensure inclusiveness.

“We want to see persons with disabilities running for office, we want to see their capacities, opportunities being built, we want to see a lot of work in making sure that persons with disablility become political actors.

“I know towards the end of 2019, we were part of the people that reviewed the code of conduct in IPAC and we recommended that IPAC should be inclusive, and ensure that parties have disability desk officers, from the unit level to the national level.”

Auta urged the government to reduce the cost of nomination forms to accommodate people living with disabilities so as to encourage their full participation in come 2023 elections.

“We want to see that inclusiveness happening at the political parties. When it comes to the sales of nomination forms and party documents it should be able to carry along persons with disabilities; those that are interested, finance should not be a barrier.

“We have alot of them that are participating fully. We have a lot of them coming out, joining political parties and participating in their own space, so once we see them, we should encourage them, support them and give them the technical and human resources that they need to participate fully,” she said.

Auta commended the All Progressives Congress (APC) for their inclusiveness of persons with disabilities, while she urged other political parties to emulate in ensuring the active participation of PWDs in political activities.

She called on the government to ensure a reservation for people with disabilities in the parliament in the 2023 elections.

“Apart from PDP, I’m very sure of APC as another political party that persons with disabilities participate in. We have disability persons from unit levels to the national level; that’s the party I know, inclusive of the persons with disabilities.

“Disability bill was passed into a law by APC. I’m not promoting APC, but they have done a lot. We want other parties to emulate APC in making sure that persons with disabilities participate actively in the political parties’ activities.

“Message to the govt in power: they should reduce the prices of nomination forms and ensure that there is a reservation for persons with disabilities at the parliament; at least 15% in 2023 election,” she stressed.