By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Abuja – The Directors of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have adopted a draft Framework on Access and Participation of Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) ahead of the 2019 general elections.
This was disclosed in a statement issued by INEC Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, on Wednesday in Abuja.
Osaze-Uzzi said that the adoption was made at a workshop organised by the commission to review and adopt a `Framework on Access and Participation of PLWDs’ in Keffi, Nassarawa State, ahead of the 2019 general elections.
He quoted Prince Adedeji Soyebi, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, while appraising the document before its adoption, as saying that the document was good enough right from the initial stage.
Soyebi said that INEC was committed to promoting the participation of all social groups in the electoral process.
He added that the document would be presented to other critical stakeholders for further scrutiny before its final adoption.
Osaze-Uzzi also quoted Dr Adekunle Ogunmola, INEC National Commissioner, while declaring open the workshop as restating the commission’s commitment toward mainstreaming the PLWDs in electoral process.
Ogunmola said:“the Commission aims to ensure that disability issues are mainstreamed into electoral matters.
“This is against the backdrop of the fact that the 2011 World Health Organisation’s report on disability estimated that 15 per cent of the world’s population has one disability or the other, and 80 per cent with disabilities live in the global south.’’
Ogunmola also cited the statistics of PLWDs in Nigeria which he said stood at well over 25 million men, women and children, of various age groups.
Speaking on the experience of INEC at the development of a durable and acceptable PLWDs Framework, Ogunmola said time, knowledge, expertise and consultation were necessary.
He said that the “the first input to the draft came up based on consultation with PWDs groups”.
He added that nationwide consultations had taken place with principal external stakeholders in which an acceptable template was developed.
Ogunmola further said the content and direction of INEC PLWD Framework was guided by the national and international instruments on PLWDs issues.
These, according to him, include the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (1948); International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1956).
He also listed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) among other things; as well as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).(NAN)