The Albino Foundation (TAF), Nigeria had flagged off its ABLE2VOTE campaign in Nigeria with the aim of promoting the constitutional rights and privileges of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to vote and be voted for during elections.
The foundation in a press release stated that the project will sensitize and create awareness among PWDs across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria, on their rights and the need to participate in political and electoral processes; promote more inclusive political discourse, political commitments, and public policy-making.
The project will also build the capacities of PWDs aspirants and elected officials as well as work around other legal, and policy reforms, and initiatives that will contribute to increasing the number and quality of PWDs in Nigeria’s political process; and eradicate identified barriers to political participation of PWDs such as the negative attitudes of the general public towards persons with disabilities and cumbersome electoral procedures.
The founder of TAF, Jake Epelle called on the Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) and organizations that focus on advancing the interests of persons with disabilities across the country, to give the campaign a bite by collaborating with them in boosting the confidence of persons with disabilities.
He said “with the effort already made by INEC for a more inclusive process, low educational levels and illiteracy among persons with disabilities and the population at large will weaken participation and inclusion. There is a serious information gap on the provision and processes available to encourage an inclusive process, therefore, a timely intervention that would address the gaps and improve electoral participation and inclusion of people with disabilities, especially in the general elections is pertinent.
“The war against discrimination against persons with disabilities can only be won when institutions, government, and the people collectively collaborate, say no to nuances of discrimination, and actively campaign for the rights of PWDs, thereby building an equitable society for all.”
Epelle said it is hoped that “before the elections, at least six thousand (6000) PWDs would have been adequately equipped to participate in the political and electoral processes, and the age-long disability gap in voter turnout would have been addressed.”