Barely twenty-four hours before the governorship and state house of assembly election, The Campaign for Equal Voting Access for Persons with Disabilities (EVA4PWD), a programme of the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) is set to deploy observers to observe the elections across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
This was contained in a pre- election statement today signed by the Chairman, Campaign for Equal Voting Access for Persons with Disabilities, David O. Anyaele.
Also, EVA4PWD has created a platform to partner with other civil society organisations for harvest of data around persons with disabilities participation on election day.
It was gathered that observations from the February 25, 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections indicated that INEC Election Officers (EO) at the Local Government Level were poorly prepared in the deployment of sensitive and non sensitive materials prior to the commencement of the elections.
According to the statement, “On election day, adhoc Staff were seen on the road searching for their Polling Units, which led to late commencement of elections in different parts of the country.
” This must not repeat again tomorrow. Deployment of Assistive Devices Findings from the February 25, 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections shows that the widely publicised devices ((Braille guides, shade and magnifying glasses) to enhance persons with disabilities participation in the elections were invisible.
” We are calling on INEC Election Officers at the Local Government Areas across the Federation to identify and distribute these materials among the ad hoc Staff to ensure that the assistive devices benefit persons with disabilities.”
The statement read in part, “It was disheartening to EVA4PWD Observers to observe that INEC used only one Sign Language interpreter each at different sections of the Election Collection Centres from the State to the National levels to collect and announce results at the February 25, 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections.
“This is unethical, but an example of how not to deploy Sign Language Interpreters for a job that would last for more than 3 hours.
“Therefore, we are calling on INEC Chairman to direct all the State Resident Commissioners to make available at list 6 Sign Language Interpreters in each of the State Result Collection centers.
“This is to ensure that the Deaf Communities are not left behind at the result collection centres across the Federation.
”While we look forward to observing that the priority voting accorded to voters with disabilities in the last elections would be sustained tomorrow, EVA4PWD is appealing to persons with disabilities not to be demoralised by the difficulties experienced during the February 25, 2023 Presidential and National Assembly Elections by coming out en-masse to elect those that would pass and implement disability laws at the subnational level. If there is an election that is very important to the Disability Community, it is the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections. Please go out and cast your vote tomorrow.
“Together, we shall create an accessible country, free from discrimination, exclusion and isolation on the grounds of disability.”
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