From Emmanuel Iyoho
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, political parties have been urged to ensure that persons with disabilities (PWDs) have access to campaign materials, campaign centres and electionvenues.
A civil society organisation, Inclusive Friends Association,made the call in a statement on Saturday, signed by its Programme Manager, Steven Idoko, after a meeting with the Inter-Party Advisory Council.
The group stated that parties’ campaign materials and manifestos must be produced in formats PWDs could comprehend,, stressing that it is necessary for PWDs to be able to make informed decisions at the polls.
The statement read “Political parties must be deliberate about the production of their campaign materials such as posters, manifestos, among others, to ensure they are in accessible formats to reach different clusters of PWDs, e.g, braille forms, audio, sign language/subtitle videos, etc.
They must also ensure that venues for meetings and campaign activities are accessible to all PWDs, as enshrined in the Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities Prohibition Act 2018.”
Idoko said a state of emergency had to be declared, following PWDs non inclusion in political parties. He stated that the NGO was concerned about low appointments of PWDs in party structures and their inability to win party tickets.
“We are concerned about the low appointment of PWDs as party executives, committee members or heads, and even winning party tickets to contest and win elections. This calls for the need to declare a state of emergency on deepening the inclusion of PWDs in all political parties.”Idoko added.