The Chief Executive Officer and Founder of The Albino Foundation, Jake Epelle, on Friday said that the Independent National Electoral Commission had no reason not to make the forthcoming elections inclusive.
Epelle made this known at a one-day capacity building workshop on inclusive media reportage for the 2023 general election in Abuja.
He spoke against the backdrop of the foundation’s plan to launch an app or data store that would contain the data of eligible persons with disabilities, who would be voting in the 2023 elections.
According to the CEO, the data which is related to the electoral process will guide INEC on where to deploy resources on Election Day.
Epelle explained, “We are deploying what we call the PWD Election Hub and we are also launching the PWD dashboard. The dashboard will actually tell you the eligible PWDs who are going to vote in the forthcoming election.
“We are also launching an app in which the media can use in its reportage. All of these would be formally launched. We are waiting for INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu to give us a date on when it will be launched because this new project is related to the electoral process.
“We have a golden opportunity driven by science. Now we have the data. It is not as comprehensive for all the eligible voters in the country but it is a step in the right direction.
“Now, INEC has no reason not to make this forthcoming election inclusive because we are telling them that these are the number of PWDs and this is where to deploy the resources. The report that we are giving to INEC is not only about numbers, but we are telling them where they will go and drop all the needed resources.”
Explaining why PWDs do not participate in the electoral process, Epelle said, “The issues around PWDs not participating in the electoral process is voter apathy. They are not just interested in getting involved because they do not know the provisions that are available for them to participate effectively and they do not know the process and procedures to follow to participate in the electoral process.”
The CEO however appealed to journalists to help deeply report and highlight issues affecting PWDs which, he said, should continually be in the news “so that we can get policy makers and international partners aware of the main challenges we are trying to solve as an organisation.”