The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will collaborate with Joint National Assembly of Persons With Disabilities (JONAPWD) Cross River branch to ensure full participation of People With Disabilities (PWDs) in electoral process, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Cross Rover State, Dr Frankland Briyai has said.
Briyai, who made this known in Calabar during the training of INEC PWD Desk Officers, organised by European Center for Election Support (ECES) on Access and Participation of Persons with Disabilities in the Electoral Process, said the collaboration would eliminate any form of disenfranchisement
He said that with an estimated 27.3 million persons living with disabilities in Nigeria, there was the need for strategic planning to avoid stigmatization and marginalization of PWDs in the electoral process.
“Aware of this, the 2017 -2021 INEC Strategic Plan has provided for the mainstreaming of PWDs into the electoral process with widespread targeted voter education and sensitisation of PWDs.
“Here in Cross River, there has been cordial working relationship between the PWDs under their umbrella body, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, as we have maintained regular consultations, communication and dialogue.
“I personally have had to attend JONAPWD events in the state with a view to giving them a sense of belonging. Also, we have had cause to feature them alongside the commission’s staff on our Radio programme- INEC half hour,” he said.
He commended ECES for the training, adding that it was an opportunity for the desk officers to acquire high tech-knowledge that would help them in handling issues of PWDs as it pertains to the electoral process.