The Albino Foundation, TAF, has advised the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, to ensure that the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, are fully enlisted to participate in the forthcoming 2023 general election inline with the Electoral Act, which states that no one must be left Behind.
The Founder Mr Jake Epelle, gave the advise in Abuja, at Durumi IDP camp in Abuja, to mark this year’s International Day of Persons with Disability with the theme ‘Transformative Solutions for Inclusive Development; The Role of Innovation in Fueling an Accessible and Equitable World’.
Mr Epelle, who said the visit to the IDP camp was to sensitize them and ensure they were not left out in the electoral process, said the organization’s target was to reach 500 IDPs in Durumi, and other IDP camps in FCT.
Speaking on the significance of the Day, Mr Ekpelle, described the fight to achieve disability-inclusion as a difficult task that demands stakeholders collaboration towards achieve the desired success. “As the world marks the 2022 International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we are reminded of our roles, as individuals and institutions, to bring an end to disability exclusion”.
“The role of PWDs in provoking accountability cannot be over emphasized. We must yearn for our voices to be heard beyond popular lamentation and deliberately engage government institutions on accountability”.
The Project Manager of TAF, Ms Ndifreka Ferdinand, said the voter education campaign tagged ‘Able2Vote’ was to enlighten PWDs, on the need to exercise their franchise during election, .
Spokesperson to Abuja based IDPs, Mr Usman Ibrahim said he is looking forward to the 2023 general election to contribute his quota and elect leaders with the mind to serve the people of Nigeria.
According to Mr Ibrahim, “most of the people in the camp cannot vote because they came in from Yobe, Borno and Adamawa, having been registered in their states, When INEC staff came to register new voters we were told that we cannot be registered again, so up to 60 per cent of IDPs cannot vote. We have laid the complaint to INEC over four months ago and nothing had been done yet, some of us who came in at the age of 14, have turned 18 but are not registered as well”, he said.
Reacting, the Director, Compliance and Enforcement, National Commission for Persons With Disabilities, NCPWD, Mr Ikem Uchegbunam, explained that the problem was that the IDPs did not pushed for change of polling booth, but decided to register afresh which was not possible as INEC is not in support of such registration.
However, Mr Uchegbunam, assured that the Commission would continue to push on their behalf to ensure that INEC give consideration to them before the elections.
Reporting by Julian Osamoto, Editing by Omotola Oguneye