As the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), continues its series of consultations and dialogue with critical stakeholders in the electoral process ahead of the March 28 and April 11 general elections, the Commission has expressed its commitment towards ensuring that marginalized groups such as People Living With Disabilities (PLWDs), Youths and Women fully participate in the elections.
National Commissioner, Dame Nne Gladys Nwafor, while speaking at a one-day sensitization forum for PLWDs, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Youths, held at Immaculate Suites Abuja, said the Commission was determined to accommodate marginalized groups and all interest groups in the electoral process.
“Please permit me to inform all hitherto marginalized groups that the Commission has continued to match words with action, in its resolve to accommodate the interest of all groups in the electoral process”, she said.
The National Commissioner explained that: “the Commission has transcribed Voter Education materials such as the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), Dates and Types of Elections, Electoral Offences and Penalties, Correct and Wrong Thumb Printing of Ballot into Braille.”
She also said that: “the Commission’s Voter Education programme on AIT and NTA, the INEC Half Hour, is now PLWD friendly as we now have a sign language interpreter on the programme”, adding that the use of sign language in most of the Commission’s jingles and adverts with some dedicated exclusively to PLWDs, has also improved interest and participation in the electoral process.
Nwafor further said that: “INEC has introduced Election Day innovations, which make it mandatory for PLWDs and other vulnerable groups to be accorded priority in the queue during voting.”
She commented on the mutually beneficial relationship between the Commission and Nigerian youths, saying: “We now have Ambassadors from the ranks of the Nigerian youth, partnering with the Commission on the need for peaceful elections.”
The National Commissioner urged Civil Society Organizations to bridge the gap between the Commission and the people for whom the Commission is committed to delivering free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.