The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in collaboration with the International Founder of Electoral System, IFES, has organised a-one-day engagement sensitization with persons with disabilities and Women groups ahead of the November sixth governorship election in Anambra State.
The event held in Awka, attracted state representatives of the National Orientation Agency, NOA, Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, JONAPWD, Anambra State, women groups among others.
The voter education sensitization forum was aimed at conveying knowledge of the system of government, political issues facing the nation, the value of democracy, equal rights of women and men; and the importance of peace and national reconciliation.
Declaring the event open, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Anambra State, Dr Nwachukwu Orji, represented by the Head of Voter Education, Mr Samuel Nimem said that the Commission is open to all engagement with stakeholders to effectively discharge its duties, adding that people with disabilities can vote and be voted for.
On her part, the representative of International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA, Mrs Genevieve Osakwe, said that persons living with disabilities were important to the progress of the country, noting that through the sensitization, they would be empowered to have a voice in good governance.
In her remarks, the Director of Gender Relations & Inclusivity, INEC, Mrs Blessing Obidegwu represented by the Deputy Director of Gender Relations & Inclusivity, Mrs Chika Osuji said that persons with disabilities have fundamental human rights which include the right to vote and be voted for, thus every assistance should be given to persons with disabilities to participate in electoral activities.
For the Deputy Director, Civil Society Organisation, Mrs Dorothy Lakunuya, and the Project Associate of the International Foundation for Electoral System, Mrs Amina Tahaya, women should report any negative actions either against security agents or election officials, and also come out enmass to vote.
In a goodwill message, the Chairman, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities JONAPWD, Anambra State, Mr Ugochukwu Okeke thanked INEC and IFES for the opportunity, stressing that it would help to break stereotypes against persons living with disabilities by encouraging their full participation and promised to mobilise other members to participate fully in the forthcoming election.