The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in the next few days, will announce the time table for collection of Permanent Voter Card (PVC) and other activities ahead of the November 16th 2019 governorship poll in Bayelsa and Kogi states.
According to the National Commissioner and Chairman of the Commission’s Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Barrister Festus Okoye, the time table for the collection of PVC will be announced at a stakeholders engagement to be organsied in some few days time.
Okoye gave the hint at the opening of a two-day National Strategy Meeting on Capturing Disaggregated Data of Persons with Disabilities [PWDS], organized with support from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in Abuja.
Okoye said “ In the next few days, the Commission will announce the time table for stakeholder engagement for PVC collection and other activities relating to the states where we are going to have standalone governorship elections and the issue of this data collection will be one of the big issues in relation to whether we conduct good elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states” .
Chairman of the Commission’s Outreach and Partnership Committee (OPC), Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, said the meeting was a needed “platform for knowledge and experience sharing that will ultimately lead to useful input and far reaching recommendations on the best methodology and scientific approach to explore for the capturing of disaggregated data of PWDs to deepen their participation in the electoral process” .
He noted that “according to the world report on disability published in 2011, stated that about 25 million Nigerians have at least one disability. However, with the population figure of Nigeria being put at over 200 million based on the latest United Nations estimates, naturally, there will be an upward swing in the population figure of PWDs in the country”.
“Granted the huge population, PWDs are too important a demographic group to be ignored in planning in all spheres of human endeavor including the processes of election”.
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Adekunkle recounted to promote PWD participation in the electoral process the Commission had transcribed the information and voter education materials into braille; designed special posters specifically to aid persons with hearing impairment understand the voting procedure in writing and graphics; Procured magnifying glasses to assist the visually impaired as well as albinos in identifying the ballots papers; and Introduced Braille Ballot Guides to enable the visually impaired cast their votes independently, among other interventions.
He said “Going forward, our interventions and approaches to PWDs’ mainstreaming issues in the electoral process need to be empirically guided and hinged on processed information generated from the field to enable proper monitoring and evaluation of performances to achieve optimal results”.
The OPC chairman gave assurances of the Commission’s commitment towards promoting PWD inclusion in the electoral process.
His words: The Commission is fully committed to consolidate its various interventions geared towards promoting the PWDs’ participation in the electoral process using scientific approach”.
He added: “It is fully primed to collaborate with stakeholders to explore ways of capturing disaggregated data of PWDs and utilizing the empirical findings and recommendations of such studies to facilitate access and participation of the PWDs”.
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