It has been observed that persons living with disabilities still find it difficult to exercise their civic right of voting, as polling booths and the entire voting process are still inaccessible to them.
A non-governmental organization, Access Nigeria and other stakeholders, who monitored the poll in Anambra noted that much still needs to be done to ensure inclusive voting for all.
Correspondent Kenechukwu Chukwudi covered media briefing by the organization and reports that statistically, there are about thirty million disabled Nigerians and many within this number are among the voting age of eighteen years which is why it is important that their civic right of voting is not denied them.
But unfortunately, many persons with disabilities were disenfranchise during Saturday’s election in Anambra according to Mrs Grace Jerry, who’s the convener of Access Nigeria.
She emphasized that findings from one hundred and seventy-eight polling units show that the routes leading to polling units, including the public buildings used for voting and other places were inaccessible for the disabled.
Mrs Jerry also pointed out that braille ballot guide for the blind, voting instruction for those with hearing impairment and priority voting for the disabled were seriously lacking at the polling units.
Reeling out the recommendation of the group, Mr. Moses Oluwaseyi opined that Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC needs to do more by ensuring the inclusiveness of the disabled to voting through removing the barrier that prevents such, while the federal and state governments, national and state assemblies, security agencies and civil society organizations should do the needful to ensure the participation of the disabled in the voting process.
In their remarks, Mr. Ben Aga of the National Democratic Institute and Mr. Ugochukwu Okeke of Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities said much have been achieved, but there is still room for better improvement.
Some field observers, including Mrs Ify Unachukwu and Mrs Fidelia Chima, harped on the need for improvement in enabling the disabled to vote.