Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Nigerian Political Parties Face Structural Exclusion as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Releases its full National Working Committee Offices.
The inclusion of PWDs in the political parties in Nigeria remains inadequate, as a gap exists in respect to the civil and political rights of PWDs as established in the international legal instruments with the Nigerian laws peculiarly, the Section 30 of the Disability Act.
Political parties are still, albeit slowly, trying to include PWDs in terms of policy and practice.
The PDP National Convention which was held in Abuja on the 30th October 2021 is an omen that Political parties are still grappling with the inclusion of PWDs partly because of unresponsive internal policies, limited capacity, lack of awareness among the party leadership on inclusion amid other barriers.
There have been diverse practices and encouragement by different political parties as to the formation of party disability leagues and the development of inclusive intra-party policies.
Opportunities, therefore, exist for structured engagement with political parties towards building inclusive culture and practice among its membership. Therefore, this requires a paradigm shift to achieve intra-party pro-disability agenda and national legal reforms that address the challenges limiting the participation of PWDs in the political processes and more specifically in the political parties.
In view of the lack of inclusion by the PDP and the practice of exclusion among political parties, the Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) makes the following recommendations targeted at all political parties towards facilitating greater inclusive internal party and cross-party commitments and reforms.
Political Parties should:
Increase the participation of PWDs by creating party policies that are pro-disability and hasten the process of approval of the pro-inclusion policies that are under review and or development.
The political parties’ leadership should develop innovative strategies for members with disabilities by inspiring them to join and retain their membership.
To ensure access to justice within the parties, the parties should develop a simplified party complaints mechanism of solving member disputes and be sensitive to the needs of PWDs.
The department of political parties that deals with registration should develop a database for members who have disabilities at the ward level.
The executive of the political parties should integrate programmes that build the capacity of their members on disability inclusion.
The parties should promote reasonable accommodation within their structures by designing activities that are responsive to the needs of all PWDs.
The political parties budgeting should include, and where already in place, increase the funding for programmes targeting the PWDs. Such budgets should be adequately reported by the political parties to include indicators of inclusion and audited by a reputable firm.
Executive Director, Inclusive Friends Association (IFA)