Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has promised the commitment of the commission towards ensuring an all-inclusive electoral process in the 2019 general election and beyond.
Yakubu gave the assurance wednesday during an interactive meeting with representatives of Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs) under the leadership of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) at the INEC Headquarters in Abuja.
The INEC Chairman who was represented by National Commissioner, and Chairman of the Outreach and Partnership Committee, Dr. Adekunle Ladipo Ogunmola, stated that the commission was working assiduously on developing the framework for engaging PWDs.
He said the document would soon be considered for adoption in consultation with relevant stakeholders and be validated subsequently.
He further explained that the commission in considering the needs of PWDs in the electoral process, had included some PWD friendly features in the data capturing process for the on-going Nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).
This move, he said, would help develop a database of PWDs and identify their various needs in the electoral process.
Yakubu lauded the efforts of the JONAPWD at ensuring that all eligible Nigerians are included in the electoral process, whether as voters, candidates or as observers, adding that the commission would support the association in achieving its set objectives.
The chairman maintained that INEC, as a transparent organisation, would ensure that efforts are sustained at deepening democracy in Nigeria, adding that the commission would keep to international best practices in its operations.
Also speaking at the event, the National Commissioner, Electoral Operations Committee, Mrs. Amina Bala Zakari, said the commission was working with state governments to design PWD friendly polling units in the states.
She explained that due to budgetary constraints, the commission would need stakeholders, such as state governments to complement its efforts in ensuring an all-inclusive electoral process.
Earlier, President of JONAPWD, Mrs. Ekaete Judith Umoh, appreciated the commission for the consideration given to PWD, adding that the meeting would provide an opportunity to work with the commission in ensuring that the INEC Disability Framework was launched before the 2019 general election.
Ekaete expressed the readiness of JONAPWD to complement the voter education drive of the commission and urged INEC to factor in the PWDs in the drafting and crafting of voter education materials.