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Group commends parties for involving PWDs in electoral process

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Praise Necherem

A group, Inclusive Friends Association (IFA), has commended various political parties in Anambra state for promoting participation of persons with disabilities in the electoral and political processes.

The group’s executive director, Grace Jerry, stated this in Awka at a discussion with political parties tagged, PWDs Civic and Political Organising Lab. 

She, however, called for more support, including providing clear policy direction on inclusion and campaign materials in accessible formats to reach them in their different clusters, ahead of the November 6 governorship election in the state. 

She said, “The code of conduct for political parties should provide clear measures to administratively review party provisions for all PWDs in various parties, including clear policy direction on inclusion.

“Parties must be deliberate about the production of their campaign materials to ensure they are in accessible formats to reach different clusters of PWD, including braille forms, audio, sign language/subtitled videos. 

“Parties must ensure that venues for meetings and campaign activities are accessible to all PWDs. This oversight function of the political parties can be facilitated through the National Assembly.”

Also speaking, chairman, Joint Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) in the state, Ugochukwu Ernest, said they were prepared to participate actively in the governorship election in the state, demanding full inclusion in all electoral processes.

He said time issues of PWDs were swept under the carpet were over, stressing that their matters had moved from charity to rights, occasioned by the signing of the Disability Act at both the federal and state levels.

He said, “This is the first time we’re having this kind of interface with leaders of political parties. Before now, they’ll tell us they don’t have time whenever persons with disabilities are mentioned. But I’m happy things are gradually changing. 

“Issues of PWDs can no longer be swept under the carpet. We thank President Buhari for signing the Disability Act. He’s the only president that had the interest and political will to do that because so many presidents had come and gone without signing the Act. 

“Down here, our governor also had the political will to sign Anambra Disability Law. That’s why, in the state, issues of PWDs disability has moved from charity to right. We’re no longer begging for charity, but demanding for our right. 

Speaking separately, representatives of various political parties in the state who attended the meeting, assured the PWDs of all-inclusive arrangements in their programmes and policies, particularly in the forthcoming governorship poll.

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