Kogi, Bayelsa polls: CCD wants INEC to sustain priority voting for PWDs

The Centre for Citizens with Disability (CCD) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to sustain priority voting for Persons with Disability (PWDs) in the Nov. 16 Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.

Mr David Anyaele, the Executive Director of the group, said this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.

Anyaele commended INEC for the implementation of Section 26 of the Discrimination against PWDs Prohibition Act in the 2019 general elections which provided that PWDs be given first considerations on queues.

He, however, said that with the reported improvement in priority voting for PWDs in the general election, the inclusion of PWDs in electoral processes in the country was still far from standard practices.

“We saw that persons with disabilities were been given first considerations on queues during the general elections.

“However more needs to be done to improve and sustain priority voting for PWDs,’’ he said.

Anyaele urged the commission to make polling units in Kogi and Bayelsa accessible to physically challenged persons and that sign language interpreters should be deployed to polling units in order to aid the deaf.

He also appealed to INEC to make adequate provision for magnifying glasses for albinos in both states.

Anyaele further urged the National Assembly to urgently strengthen Section 52 (2) of the 2010 Electoral Act by making the provision of Braille and sign language interpreters mandatory.

He, however, recommended that INEC trained its officials on Equal Voting Access for persons with disabilities in order to standardise INEC’s response to disability issues.

“INEC should standardise its collection of PWDs data in pre-election and Election Day processes.

“This would enable them plan for the participation of voters with different forms of disabilities in any election,” he said.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that CCD would deploy PWDs observers to both Kogi and Bayelsa for the Nov. 16 governorship elections.