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Less than sixteen days to the presidential and National Assembly elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission, has promised to provide adequate security for disabled persons during the forthcoming polls.
The commission in Ogun state claimed they have made some provisions to ensure that the physically impaired people does not encounter any difficulties during the election period.
While speaking at a sensitization forum organized by the commission for people with disabilities, the Head of Department, Voter Education and Publicity of the commission, Mrs. Tadese Adenike maintained that people with disabilities have significant role to play in the outcome of elections.
She said, “Nigeria is presumed to have an estimated 18million persons with disabilities, that is about 10% of the country’s population, this population is significant and would impact on the outcome of the election.
“The commission has made preparations to ensure active participation in the 2019 general election as one of the critical stakeholders that must exercise his or her civic duties and responsibilities. We have made provisions for measures that will give priority to physically challenged persons, pregnant women, nursing mothers and the elderly.
“The blind or in incapacitated persons would be allowed to be accompanied into the polling unit/voting point for assistance to cast their vote and a lot more measures.
” the commission as the statutory election management body cannot do it alone without the support of all stakeholders such as political parties, contestants, PWDs, CSOs, NGOs, Security Agencies, Women Groups, Voters and others in order to enrich our democracy.
Meanwhile, the Ogun state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Abdulganiu Raji claimed some measures are in place to curb buying and selling of votes.
In his words, “the menace of vote buying and selling is not a good thing for our country. INEC has taking about two steps to curb the menace.
“Our polling officer before giving the ballot paper to the voters, we expect whoever is going to vote after thumb printing to also fold the paper before coming out and the ballot box is just 2meters to drop the paper and this will not party agents to know who they vote for.
“Our ballot paper is just going to be only one page, if you need sample you can watch the network news and other national media outlook.
“When you talk about security, everything is in place, the security agencies has promised to provide adequate security when people needs it.
“I will not speak for the security agencies, but, we are working with them, because INEC has created a committee called inter consultative on election security and we meet regularly to discuss on how we can have adequate security for the election, I and commissioner of police are part of the committee”
However, the Chairman of joint National Association with people disabilities, Ogun state, Mohammed Olalekan appreciated the commission for not neglecting people with disabilities in the electoral process.
He said, “This program has created more awareness about the functions of INEC, and what they have for people with disabilities in order for the voting process to be easier. We are very grateful, we really appreciate INEC for this program”