The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Kwara, Malam Attahiru Madami has assured Persons Living With Disability (PLWDs) of their safety and security during the coming elections.
Madami gave the assurance on Wednesday while speaking at a sensitisation forum for Persons Living With Disability in Ilorin ahead of the 2019 elections in the state.
He therefore urged the disabled persons in the state to turn up in their numbers to cast their votes at their polling units.
“I want you to have the highest numbers of PLWDs to vote in the country, your turnout in 2015 was low; I urge you to mobilise your members to vote this time around.
“INEC has a lot of concern and programs for the people living with disabilities; the Commission has created a Desk Officer in the Department of Voter Education for PLWDs.
“The Commission interfaces and organises workshops and seminars for the mobilisation of youths, women, civil society’s organisations and persons living with disabilities (PLWDs),” he said.
REC also said that staff of INEC to be courteous to the PLWDs and allow them to vote when they arrive the polling centers.
Madami told the disabled persons that there were many constitutional and legal frameworks that protect them in the country.
“Notwithstanding the existing legal framework, the physically challenged situation is today different from what is guaranteed by the Constitution and the various protocols and conventions.
“The physically challenged are discriminated against on the basis of disabilities and are forced with the challenges of participation and access to opportunities, resources and governance.
“This has created a wide gap between able and people living with disability in social, educational, economic and political spheres,” Madami said.
He called on the people with disability to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to enable them exercise their civic duty on Election Day.
“The PVC is your weapon, you should use it to elect leaders that will be sympathetic to your conditions,” he added.
The Secretary of Visually impaired in Kwara, Mr Hakeem Lawal commended INEC for the interactive session with the PWLDs and assured the REC that disabled persons would exercise their franchise during the elections.
He appealed to PLWDs in the state not to sell their PVCs for any amount or trade it away, saying that their PVCs are their weapon to elected leaders of their choice.
Lawal called on INEC to provide Brail machines for visually impaired persons at voting centers and also ensure that they have adequate privacy to when casting their vote.