Zakaa Lazarus, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC), National Leader of Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs), Hon. Tolu Bankole has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to show demonstrable improvement on election day by including PWDs.
Hon. Bankole gave thumbs up to INEC for the Voter Education and Sensitization Training for Visually Impaired Voters on the use of Braille Ballots ahead of Osun 2022 election. He noted that the Commission must allay the fears of PWDs from the noticable flaws in the recently held Ekiti election.
He said, “For an election to be adjudged free, fair, and all-inclusive, the process and procedure of such an election must be well understood by the electorates irrespective of their status. Therefore, Persons with Disabilities with their huge numbers in our election cannot just be counted, must count on election day.”
He further highlighted some of the issues that must be urgently addressed to guarantee the active inclusion of the disability community in the electoral process to include: Absence of braille easy language, sign language interpreters at polling centres; disregard for the electoral guidelines which guarantees a dedicated queue for PWDs at voting points; restriction of vehicular movements on election day among others.
Others are: inadequate information to equip PWDs to vote independently or with little or no assistance; improper sensitization on the correct way of thumb printing and dedicated polling units; low participation of PWDs and absence of PWDs voting materials in most polling units.
The PWDs leader, charged the election umpire to justify the inclusion of the persons living with disability in the Electoral Act by improving on the noticable flaws in Ekiti gubernatorial election.
“All eligible PWDs voters in all the 30 LGAs of Osun state should please come out enmass and vote for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Gov. Gboyega Oyetola without fear of molestation and harassment from any quarter.
“The Electoral Bill which was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on February 25, 2022 has paved the way for all Persons Living With Disabilities to be incorporated into the electoral process.
“The 2022 Electoral Act, Section 54, sub-section one and two captured disabilities’ rights and the forthcoming Osun state governorship election slated for July 18, 2022 is another opportunity to let our voices be heard by voting for Gov. Gboyega Oyetola who is a friend of Persons Living with Disabilities from his many health, education, economic and social programs and interventions” Hon. Bankole concluded.
Honourable Tolu Bankole
APC National Leader for PWDs
June 30, 2022.