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CCD urges INEC to implement disability law to ensure inclusion of Voters With Disabilities in Bayelsa and Kogi States Governorship Elections

The Executive Director of Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) has called on residence of Kogi and Bayelsa to support eligible voters with disabilities to participate and ensure equal voting access for all as we gear up towards the states Governorship elections scheduled to hold on Saturday, November 16, 2019

CCD which is deploying observers in all the Senatorial district of the States reecognized that people with disabilities are generally known to be disadvantaged in the society, and consequently suffer many deprivations and denial of their rights, especially during elections.

Appreciating that voting in elections has been recognized as one of the rights of citizens with disabilities that is often violated and ignored. The plight of Persons with Disabilities is further compounded by societal attitude, which often entails looking down on persons with disabilities even on election days. For this reason, many citizens with disabilities suffer the violation of their rights and disenfranchisement in silence.

The hallmark of democracy is that people govern themselves through elected representatives who they can subsequently return, remove or reject. Elections provide the only means of succession in a democracy.

He is concerned about the measures adopted in previous Elections conducted by INEC which have not been satisfactory to Persons with Disabilities; issues like negative attitude of INEC adhoc staff to citizens with disabilities, denial of priority voting to voters with disabilities, absence of sign language Interpreters for the deaf at polling units, Absence of Braille Materials for the blind, inaccessible polling units with lots of mobility barriers have continued to hinder the effective participation of Persons with Disabilities participation during elections in the country.

Appreciating the President Mohammadu Buhari for signing into law Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act early this year, which made robust provisions for the participation of persons with disabilities in the socio-economic activities of the country on an equal bases with other.

He went further to remind INEC that they are under obligation to implement the disability Act and INEC policy for the participation of persons with disabilities in elections, which provides rights to priority voting, none discrimination, access to public building used by INEC for the conduct of election amongst others.

CCD being a premier disability rights organization of, and for persons with disabilities that works to promote independent living, participation and inclusion of citizens with disabilities in democratic governance and is accredited by INEC to observe 2019 Bayelsa and Kogi States governorship election.

As a major organization observing these elections to ensure the inclusion persons with disabilities in the process, CCD made the following calls to guarantee the rights of persons with disabilities in the elections:

1.INEC to implement the disability act by ensuring that all barriers that hinders persons with disabilities from participating in elections are removed.

2.Eligible voters with disabilities to go out enmass to cast their vote to the candidate of their choice.

3. INEC to guide election security agencies on election day security to ensure voters goes to the poll peacefully, as election day violence may hinder eligible voters with disabilities from participating in the elections 

4. Election day Security agencies to respect and protect the rights of persons with disabilities, in particular deaf voters in the two States. Reports from previous elections show that deaf voters are expose to violence and hostility from security agents and other citizens on election day.

5. The goal of this campaign is to ensure that eligible female and male persons with disabilities gain Equal Voting Access during Elections in Nigeria. The core objectives for this campaign include- examining militating and facilitating factors on persons with disabilities participation in elections. Sensitizing stakeholders on Equal Voting Access for Persons with Disabilities during Elections and mobilizing Persons with Disabilities Participation in Elections.

6. THE MEDIA to support persons with disabilities by ensuring that election day report captures the experience of persons with disabilities during election.

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