The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen wants the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a safe, credible and inclusive election, especially for women and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the country.
The Minister was speaking in Abuja during the Electability Confab organised by The Albino Foundation (TAF), with support from the European Union (EU).
According to her, there is ability in everyone with disability, but only if PWDs are given the opportunity to utilise their potential.
Dame Tallen acknowledged that PWDs “need support and a society without barriers” to help them thrive in every sector of human endeavour.
“These are the kind of people we need to hold elective positions,” she asserted.
“When we have PWDs in the senate and national assembly, they will ensure that the laws and policies formulated in the country are included. We are calling for a peaceful election, free of violence and crises. If the polling centers are violence-prone, PWDs will be at higher risk. I lend my total support and mentorship to women with disabilities contesting in the 2023 election.”
The Executive Director of the Albino Foundation (TAF), Jake Epelle said the Electability Confab was organized to build the capacity of PWDS to enhance their chances of winning in elections. “The government and political parties must encourage PWDS by strengthening their internal democracy that allows them to fully participate in activities, such as running for elective positions”.
According to Ekpelle, “There should be funding opportunities and other initiatives to improve PWDs’ electability in elections. Provision of sign language interpreters for the hearing-impaired community among other inclusive steps”.
The Canadian High commissioner to Nigeria James Christoff, while stressing that transparency, inclusion and Participation in Public life not only promotes national development, but equally enhances the realization of human rights. “The Government of Canada is in full support of the vulnerable PWDs in Nigeria, supporting their active participation as well as strengthening their resolve to overcome limitations set by disabilities”.
In their remarks some of the Person’s with Disabilities, appealed to INEC and Political parties to remove barriers against PWDS such as provision of Braille boxes and cost of intention forms.
Reporting by Julian Osamoto, Editing by Fany Olumoye and Tersoo Nicholas