The Children Developmental Centre (CDC) and Association of Intellectual Development Disability of Nigeria (AIDDN) have called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure persons with special needs are given right to vote during the 2019 general elections.
Speaking at a media briefing in Lagos recently, the Founder, CDC, Dr. Yinka Akindayomi, said despite their physical challenges, they should be allowed to exercise their voting rights like other citizens and they should not be stigmatised.
She advised parents to take their grown up adults to get their Personal Voting Cards (PVCs) in order to vote in the 2019, adding that persons with special needs should be catered for
“Over the last 20 years, CDC has been both a service provider and at the forefront of advocating for children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families. We have realised that the inclusion of children and adults with any form of disability can come through a joint effort, therefore they created the theme: ‘Together, we have no limits’.
Akindayomi explained that one of the greatest benefits of working together is the inspiration and ideas which can result from unity, adding that people from different backgrounds and levels of experience can help in creating solutions to problems in the society, especially where stigma is concerned.
“Personal boundaries are the limits we set for ourselves as individuals, but when we work together there is the motivation to push beyond those boundaries which yield results. In 2019, a new government will be elected into office; it is our right to advocate for an inclusive society, where we create an environment for all to thrive.
“Nigeria will be better if we work, because unity maximises strengths and brings out the best in its citizens. This value of unity is regularly seen in sports, culture and entertainment and we should endeavour to include it in our everyday life, workplace, homes and community. No other solution will work until people rise up in unison.
“As an integral member of our community, a strong supporter of the centre and people with disability, we invite you to partner with us in our effort to promote togetherness within the society. In view of this, there was a ribbon launch to aid in the campaign for the Developmental Disability Awareness Month (March). We believe stigma will be minimised by us paying attention and being aware.”
At the event, stakeholders urged parents and the public to support persons with special needs and give them the necessary educational training to survive, while calling on the society to stop stigmatising them because they have potentials and can contribute to societal good.