By Chidinma Chukwu, Abuja.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been advised to put in place mechanism that will allow Persons with disabilities (PWDs) participate effectively in the forthcoming Ondo governorship election.
The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) made the call at the public presentation on the 2020 Ondo governorship election in Abuja.
The group explained that election in the past recorded deprivation, denial of voting rights and disenfranchisement of persons with disabilities.
It urged that the 450,000 Ondo state persons with disabilities be granted equal access with others to participate actively by coming out to vote for the candidate of their choice.
The body wants INEC to prioritise Persons with disabilities by making voting procedures, facilities and materials appropriate, accessible and easy to understand.
CCD recalled that National Disability Act which was signed by president Mohammed Buhari on the 17th of January, 2019 and equally adopted by the Ondo State government sections 1,4,24 and 27 of the Act made provision that support PWDs participation in electoral process.
The group also urged that INEC make election materials available and accessible as well as the facilities for all PWDs.
The requests include form EC40H, polling units and assistive resources such as sign language interpreters, sign language posters, tactile ballot jackets, magnifying lenses and disability friendly stations.
Train INEC ad-hoc officials adequately to understand and respond to PWDs needs.
Sensitize the public of the needs and challenges of PWDs to reverse negative public perceptions and attitudes towards them
INEC is also charge to collaborate with the security agencies to brace for securities, ensure they carry out proper investigation before stopping anyone with facemask with political logos or moving with bike or taxi on the Election Day to avoid brutality of PWDs as well as ensure inclusive, credible, free, fair and peaceful election.
CDD is also advising INEC to consider introducing a secured mobile voting system and make transfer voting location possible