As the ban for electioneering campaigns will soon be officially flagged ahead of the 2023 general elections in Nigeria, the Inclusive Friends Association officially launched the Vote-ability Campaign as a proactive measure to ensure that Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) are carried along in the entire electioneering process. The launch was held via a press conference at the Organization’s Conference room in Abuja.
Speaking on the campaign, the Executive Director, Grace Jerry highlighted that the campaign will span through the three (3) phases of elections.
“The Vote-ability campaign will engage the three phases of election which are the pre, election day and post-election phase.”
Stating the aim of the campaign Jerry stated that the #Vote-Ability campaign will increase the participation of PWDs in the 2023 elections.
“The #voteability campaign is organized to increase the participation of PWDs in the 2023 general elections. This will be achieved through its set out components which include the Collections of Permanent Voters Card (PVCs), nationwide civic and voter education, and the Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) campaign”.
Jerry said “The campaign will also advocate for PWDs inclusion by engaging all election stakeholders at various levels to be accountable for their statutory responsibilities. It will also serve as the key to holding the government accountable for delivering on promises and constitutional responsibilities.”
In addition to the call, Mr. Jide Ojo (Board Member, IFA) admonishes the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to honor the 5% inclusion quota for PWDs in their Ad-hoc staff recruitment.
“The #voteability campaign is timely and acute as the ban for political campaigns will soon be flagged”.
“We, therefore, admonish the INEC Nigeria to consider a 5% inclusion of PWDs in their Adhoc staff recruitment as stipulated in the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018″
Ojo said: “The electoral commission should sustain the priority collections of the PVC in the ongoing distribution for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).”
“We encourage the commission to collaborate with Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) such as IFA during their Adhoc staff training, especially on components with PWDs”.
“We also admonish political parties to make their campaign venues accessible for PWDs and also provide sign language interpreters..”
The VOTE-BILITY Campaign will engage with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and other OPDs on Voter and Civic Education so as to reduce Voter-Apathy especially within the disability community.
Grace Jerry acknowledges the efforts that have been made by the different stakeholders in ensuring electoral accessibility of PWDs.