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2023: IFA tasks political parties on inclusion of PWDs

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Executive Director, Inclusive Friends Association (IFA),Grace Jerry has called on the code of conduct for political parties to provide very clear measures to administratively review political party provisions for all Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in various political parties.

Grace who noted this in Abuja at the FCT PWD civic and political organizing lab organized by IFA further called on political parties should be deliberate about the production of their campaign materials to ensure they are inaccessible formats to reach different clusters of PWDs. E.g., braille forms, audio, sign language / subtitled videos, etc.

She said political parties should 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.

In her words “Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) must also advocate for the rights of all persons in the political and electoral spaces irrespective of gender, disability, and age. The inclusion of youth and gender parity must be mainstream in all our programs to close the gaps and exclusion at all levels.

“There are also relatively few independent media productions disseminating political party and electoral information targeting PWDs,” she said.

Also, the National Commissioner and Chairman Outreach and Partnership Committee (OPC), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Kunle Ajayi on “The role of political parties in engendering inclusive democratic governance in Nigeria” said according to the National Population Commission (NPC) data, there are at least nineteen (19) million Nigerians who are living with disabilities and from our own records, many of them are registered voters who could be mobilized in favour of any inclusive party.

He said vulnerable groups should be given specific quotas in governments at all levels. These actions will help build and maintain a broader base of constituent support and earn citizens trust and believe in democratic governance.

He said the strategic synergy and partnerships with CSOs and NGOs are pivotal to political party inclusion, in line with the continuous efforts geared towards improving the electioneering process in Nigeria. All these factors could aid in engendering inclusive governance, if prioritized by political parties.

On the part of INEC, He said as an electoral management body, they have taken several practical steps in the direction of inclusivity in the electoral process.

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