The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that it “will release the time-table for stakeholder engagement for permanent voter card collection and other activities in the build-up to the November6 and 16 governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states respectively in the next few days.”
Chairman of the commission’s Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC) Festus Okoye gave the hint Friday in a statement after the opening of a two-day National Strategy Meeting on Capturing
Disaggregated Data of Persons with Disabilities (PWDS), organised with support from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in Abuja.
“In the next few days, the commission will announce the time table for stakeholder engagement for PVC collection and other activities relating to the states where we are going to have standalone governorship elections and the issue of this data collection will be one of the big issues in relation to whether we conduct good elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states,” he said.
Chairman of the commission’s Outreach and Partnership Committee (OPC) Adekunle Ogunmola said the meeting was a needed “platform for knowledge and experience-sharing that will ultimately lead to useful input and far reaching recommendations on the best methodology and scientific approach to explore for the capturing of disaggregated data of PWDs to deepen their participation in the electoral process.”
“According to the world report on disability published in 2011, about
25 million Nigerians have at least one disability. However, with the population figure of Nigeria being put at over 200 million based on the latest United Nations estimates, naturally, there will be an upward swing in the population figure of PWDs in the country.
“PWDs are too important a demographic group to be ignored in planning in all spheres of human endeavours, including the processes of election.”
He said, “Going forward, our interventions and approaches to PWDs’ mainstreaming issues in the electoral process need to be empirically guided and hinged on processed information generated from the field to enable proper monitoring and evaluation of performances to achieve optimal results.”
“It is fully primed to collaborate with stakeholders to explore ways of capturing disaggregated data of PWDs and utilising the empirical findings and recommendations of such studies to facilitate access and participation of the PWDs.”
The country director of the International Foundation for Electoral
Systems (IFES), Hermann Thiel, observed that PWD participation in the electoral process in Nigeria had been on the increase over the years.
“Over the years the participation of PWDs in the political process in
Nigeria has continued to improve and this is more so with the approval of the framework on access for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs’) supported by IFES and also the recent passage into law, the disability bill,” he said.
Thiel commended INEC for making deliberate efforts to mainstream issues of PWDs into the electoral process and assured his organisation’s continuous support to an all-inclusive process.