AN INTERNATIONAL non-governmental organisation (INGO), TAF Africa, has sensitised Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) on full participation in the forthcoming Kogi Nov. 11 Governorship Election.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the INGO’s Voter Education Campaign was aimed at reducing voter apathy to the barest minimum.
NAN also reports that the campaign was also to promote the mainstreaming of persons with disabilities in the electoral process.
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Mr Olayemi Samuel, the Programme Officer, TAF Africa, said at the “TAF AFRICA’S ABLE-TO-VOTE CAMPAIGN” in Lokoja that participation of PWDs in the process was key to the nation’s democratic growth.
Samuel explained that their (PWDs) participation in the forthcoming elections was so vital, as it would go a long way in sampling their rights to vote and be voted for in the nation’s polity
Cross section of participants at the TAF Africa Able-2-Vote Sensitisation Campaign held in Lokoja, Kogi
“This can only be achieved through their awareness of their rights and the electoral process for positive participation in elections.
“What we are trying to do as an INGO is to let them know about the various Acts and laws that favour their full participation in all electoral processes as regards to the forthcoming Nov. 11 governorship election in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa States,” he said.
Mrs Egwemi Attah, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Disability Desk Officer, Kogi, said that the commission had made all necessary preparations and aid materials for PWDs to take part in the election.
She called on those without Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to hasten and register, since the window for registration was still open, so that they would not be disenfranchised.
One of the speakers at the occasion, Mr Idris Miliki, the Executive Director of Conscience for Human and Conflict Resolution, tasked the PWDs to rise to the occasion to know their rights and fully exercise it.
“Until you have the knowledge about what’s happening around you, it will be difficult for you to covet what belongs to you.
“It’s very unfortunate that most PWDs don’t know about some of the laws and Acts such as the Disability Rights Act 2018 and the new Electoral Act 2022. You must be knowledgeable,” Miliki advised.
On his part, Mr Solomon Yahaya, the Chairman, Joint National Association of PWDs, Kogi Chapter, lamented the effects of stigma and neglect by the society on PWDs and called for change of attitude.
“While I commend TAF Africa for organising this Able to Vote campaign that brought us together, l hereby call for equal rights and opportunity for PWDs in the nation’s electoral process,” he said. Yahaya, who was visually impaired, called for adequate security and protection of PWDs from opponents and criminal elements during elections. (NAN)