Grace Jerry observes Ekiti election 2018

Record Turn Out for Ekiti Election

News

Published: March 7, 2019, 12:50 p.m.

In the midst of preconceived voters’ apathy in the Ekiti state elections, Access Nigeria records about 158 Persons with disabilities (PWD) voters in one polling unit in Ikere LGA. This is a huge demographic shift in the participation of PWDs since the Anambra November 18 elections where 4 PWDs voted across all the polling during the elections.
Inclusive Friends Association deployed 3 teams of four PWD observers to the 16 local governments in Ekiti to observe the July 14 2018 elections in the state. The Access Nigeria Observers were properly trained to conduct a limited observation of polling units in the 3 senatorial zones. Each Access Nigeria Roving team purposively selected 20 polling units across 5 local governments in each of the senatorial zones to observe the following:
- Participation of persons with disabilities (PWDs) across various polling units disaggregated by gender.
- Deployment and utilization of the Form EC40H to capture PWD voters’ data during the elections.
- Deployment and utilization of the magnifying glasses across various polling units in the state.
- Deployment of the Form EC30 PWD to provide instructions for Voters with hearing impairment during the elections.
- Priority voting for PWDs in the polling units during accreditation and voting.
- Accessibility of the routes leading to the polling units.
- Accessibility of the polling units in its entirety.
Access Nigeria team started observing their first assigned polling units by 8:20 when polling units opened and ended observation at the close of polling units at 2 pm across the 3 senatorial zones.

Findings
Out of the 58 purposive sampled polling units across the three senatorial zones (Northern, southern, and central),

- Atleast 5 PWDs voted across polling units visited.
- Form EC40H was deployed to 95% of the polling units visited.
- The forms were utilized at 53% of the polling units visited.
- Magnifying glasses were deployed to 2% of the polling units visited.
- No person with albinism (PWA) used the magnifying glass to vote at the polling units visited.
- The form EC30PWD Written Instructions for voters with hearing impairment was deployed to 69% of the polling units visited.
- In 64% percent of the polling units visited, PWDs were given priorities in voting.
- 53% of the routes leading to the polling units, and the polling units visited were accessible for PWDs.
IFA and the Access Nigeria appreciates INEC for improving in polling unit set up to provide by introducing the Form EC30PWD and priority voting which assisted a lot of PWDs who voted early and left the polling units before the end of the polls by 2pm. We also appreciate the Chairman of the Ekiti state Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), the Executive Director of You & I Foundation and all other JONAPWD members who observed PWD participation and access to polling units for PWDs in this election.

Recommendations
- INEC should ensure that the Form EC40H are deployed and utilized at polling units to document PWDs data on Election Day to assist in better planning for more inclusive elections.
- The Form EC30PWD should be deployed to all polling units in Osun to improve the turnout of voters with hearing impairment during the elections.
- Magnifying glasses should be deployed to all polling units during the September 22 elections in Osun for voters with albinism and impaired vision.
- Polling officials should be trained on better ways to manage and interact with voters with disabilities on Election Day.

Thank you.


Grace Jerry,
Executive Director,
Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) and,
Coordinator, Access Nigeria: Disability Votes Matter campaign