he Independent National Electoral Commission, said yesterday that over 70 per cent of people who registered in the just-concluded Continuous Voters Registration exercise for the 2023 election were vulnerable groups, including Persons With Disabilities, PWDs.
It, therefore, called on political parties, as key drivers of the democratic process and governance in Nigeria, to take the lead in encouraging the full participation of PWDs in their processes, procedures and activities.
INEC National Commissioner and chairman of its Outreach and Partnership Committee, Prof. Kunle Ajayi, stated these while speaking at the National PWD Civic and Political Lab in Abuja.
The event was organized by a human rights organisation, Inclusive Friends Association, IFA, with support from Participate Today and National Endowment for Democracy.
Delivering the keynote address, titled, ”The role of political parties in engendering inclusive Democratic governance in Nigeria’, Ajayi cited data from the National Population Commission, NPC, which indicated that there were, at least, 19 million Nigerians living with disabilities.
He said: “From our own records, many of the PWDs are registered voters who could be mobilized in favour of any inclusive party. This implies that, PWDs have a strong electoral strength.
“Recent inclusivity data from INEC in relation to the just-concluded Continuous Voters Registration exercise reflect that the vulnerable groups comprising of women, youths, PWDs and IDPs, made up over 70 per cent of the registrants. With this impressive percentage, they cannot simply be ignored in the electoral process
“Consequently, when political parties take on the mantle of ensuring inclusive mainstreaming and prioritise the principle of inclusion in the administration of party affairs, we would begin to see more people from the marginalised groups along with women and youths taking on more executive, political and leadership roles at all levels.”