By Ebi Imisi
The Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons With Disabilities, Mr. James David Lalu has announced that with a growing population of over 35 million in Nigeria, the voting strength of PWDs cannot be undermined.
He made this known in Abuja, on Wednesday at the roundtable organized by the Policy and Legal Authority Centre, PLAC on the implementation of the electoral Act in relations to the Persons With Disabilities.
The programme themed: “Tracking implementation of inclusivity in the 2023 general elections” is aimed at sensitizing Persons With Disabilities across the country for visible participations at the forthcoming polls.
While presenting a goodwill message, the ES NCPWD, James David Lalu urged PWDs who have secured their voters’ cards to come out en masse to vote in the coming elections.
He enjoined them to take their destinies in their hands by exercising their franchise, insisting that PWDs do not have any locus standi to complain of being marginalized when they don’t participate in the polls to elect their choice of leaders.
“Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law in February 2022 the new Electoral Act to govern the conduct of elections in Nigeria. This law provided the missing link for inclusion of PWDs as well as the most vulnerable in the country to have a say during the electoral cycle” he explained.
Speaking further, Lalu reiterated that the voters card remains the license and a veritable tool to change the narrative for the betterment of the community of PWDs across the board.
He however, debunked the 85,000 meagre figures being circulated in the media as representing the voting population of PWDs in Nigeria and urged INEC to make adequate provisions for inclusivity and accessibility for onward participation of PWDs in the elections.
Addressing the participants earlier, the Executive Director, PLAC, Mr. Clement Nwankwo described the platform as a means of enlightenment for the monitoring of the entire process of elections in Nigeria.
“This is a Wake up call to all PWDs to see themselves as part of the governing process in the country without feeling less valued, he said.