Ahead of the July 16, gubernatorial election in the state of Osun, a Non-Governmental Organization seeking the Inclusiveness of Persons with Disabilities, PWDs in the electoral process, Inclusive Friends Association, IFA, has appealed to the state government to facilitate the immediate construction of ramps and handrails in all public and private buildings, especially schools and buildings where polling units are located ahead of the July 16 governorship election and 2023 general election.
The group made the appeal today in Osogbo during an advocacy visit to the state Commissioner for Works and Transport, Engr. Remi Omowaye.
According to the Group Executive Director, Grace Jerry, accessing polling units to vote is difficult for voters with disabilities due to barriers like corridors and steps.
She further noted that the inaccessibility of polling units has discouraged and kept many PWDs from exercising their franchise. She said, “Accessing Polling Units is very difficult and the inaccessibility of these polling units has discouraged and kept many PWDs from exercising their franchise.
“The access Nigeria campaign, therefore, calls on the state ministry of works and housing to; Facilitate the immediate construction of ramps and handrails in all public and private buildings, especially schools and buildings where polling units are located ahead of the July 16 governorship election and 2023 general election.
“We also want to urge you to ensure new public building plans strictly adhere to the Nigerian building code.
Ensure that public structures make adequate provisions for easy access for PWDs. “Sir, you would agree with us that if these recommendations are being implemented, it will not only create accessibility for PWDs during elections but as well create access for the huge number of children/adults with disabilities into schools and other public buildings who were staying at home for lack of access.
“It is also evident that Nigerians with disabilities want to participate in the electoral and political processes of Nigeria as indicated by their participation as both voters and observers during the Anambra governorship election and previous elections. All they require is an enabling and accessible environment to do so”.
Responding, Engr. Remi Omowaye promised to look into the group’s request and take necessary and meaningful steps. Also the chairman, of the statehouse Committee on Public Works and Transport, Hon. Taofeek Olatunde Badamasi assured the group of tabling their request on the floor of the house in order to make it a law.