How Access Nigeria Campaign is Restoring Lost Dignity Among Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria
Yakubu Ojenya Abdurahman set out to become an Access Nigeria election observer because he wanted to put an end to the marginalization he faces as a PWD.
“We have been marginalized for too long. When I heard of the opportunity to observe for a PWD group, I felt it was a good time to break the barrier” he said.
To sustain the innovation by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Access Nigeria campaign recruited 200 observers to conduct polling unit Accessibility audit during the November 16 Kogi state governorship election.
The Access Nigeria team trained all observers on how to fill their checklist and submit it via coded text messages.
In recounting his experience, Abdulrahman said he felt intimated when an INEC official shut him down after he asked a question in one of the polling units he visited.
“A man like you cannot become an election observer. I showed him my identity card and my Access Nigeria election tool kit and he apologized for embarrassing me” he said.
Enemi Friday another observer from Ofu local government, said he felt a sense of responsibility, on November 16 as he left his home to his assigned polling unit.
“I felt responsible for almost 30 million people, because results from my findings will be used to make decisions that will impact our lives.
Access Nigeria is doing a great job. However, attention should be given to our security because running away from gun shots with my crutches was a frightening experience” he said.
For Access Nigeria observers, like Abdulrahman, the opportunity to be carried along in the audit process bestowed a sense of usefulness and enhanced dignity.
The Access Nigeria campaign is supported by the NDI, USAID and UKAID.