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NDW visits INEC, seeks support for increased electoral participation of women with disabilities

by Loveth Asogwa,

Network of Disabled Women (NDW) on Friday 3rd December 2021, in Abuja, paid an advocacy visit to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) head office in Abuja to seek their support to enhance the political participation of women with disabilities.

The advocacy visit is part of NDW project on the rights of women with disabilities to political participation supported by Disability Rights Funds (DRF).

Mr. Imoete Edet, Chief Operating Officer, NDW representing the National President of NDW, Mrs. Lois Auta, in his speech said that NDW is running a one-year program with the theme “aiming and reforming legislation in Nigeria to enhance inclusive political participation” particularly for Women and Girls with Disabilities (WGWDs) in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Article 6 WGWD and 29 participation in public life and SDG goal 5 gender equality and 10 reduced inequalities. He said that in Nigeria the political development has been so intense in all ramification, but INEC has done a lot to improve the participation of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the election process especially in terms of accessibility.

Speaking further, he said that NDW is developing a policy brief to present to the National Assembly to include participation of WGWDs in the electoral process, so once the policy is approved by the national assembly it will be sent to the INEC to help champion WGWD in the elections.

Dr. Adekunle Ladipo Ogunmola, National Commissioner, INEC Outreach and Partnership Committee who represented the National Chairman INEC, in his response appreciated NDW for the advocacy visit and said that INEC is passionate about the issues of PWDs especially in electoral participation and the INEC strategic plans have vicious spaces to include PWDs for credible and inclusive elections.

He regretted that the percentage of women, especially Women With Disabilities (PWD) has remained low despite all efforts by the commission to ensure inclusivity.

He said that the commission has done a lot to see that the marginalized group in Nigeria are not left behind.

“We have framework on accessibility of PWDs in electoral process, document or guide we use on a regular basis to ensure that issues of PWDs are attended to”.

“Reporting gender policy which the commission is working on, youth engagement strategy, so all of these is to ensure that the marginalized group are carried along in the electoral process, the commission also created a gender inclusive department which is aimed at prioritizing women and girls which WGWDs are not left out in the process”.

He advised that NDW teams up with other groups that are ensuring that women are given more quota in the political parties to contest in elective offices, INEC is trying to ensure that political parties give consideration to allow women to take up spaces in offices. He also assured NDW that INEC will be willing to help in whichever way necessary to ensure full participation of more WGWDs in electoral processes and it should be a collaborative effort.

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