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Extending political rights to People With Disabilities is inalienable right – EU


  31 Mai      22        Society (12391),

   

Abuja, May 31, 2018 (NAN)The European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) says extending political rights to People With Disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria is not a privilege but an inalienable right.
The Project Director, ECES Nigeria, David Notre, said this on Wednesday in Abuja at a one day Round-table meeting on mainstreaming Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) into the political parties’ activities.
Notre, represented by Deputy Director of the Centre, Rudolf Elbling, said that political parties had the structure to mobilise PWDs to register, vote as well as the platform to present them as candidates into various offices.
« Statistics indicate that about 25 million citizens of Nigeria are living with one form of disability or the other.
« This important segment of the population contributes significantly to national development and therefore, deserves prime position in the political space both as voters and candidates into political offices.
« Extending political rights to PWDs is not a privilege but an inalienable right guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution and international conventions to which Nigeria is a signatory.
« Article 29 of the United Conventions on Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that countries shall ensure that persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others.
« This includes the right and opportunity for persons with disabilities to vote and be elected. »
Notre said that being the primary actors in the electoral system, political parties were better placed to mainstream PWDs into the electoral process before, during and after elections.
He said that convening of the roundtable with political parties was a commendable practical step towards promoting inclusivity in the 2019 elections.
Notre gave assurance of ECES commitment toward the inclusivity in the electoral process within the context of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria.
« We shall continue to ensure that issues related to PWDs are mainstreamed into the various support to INEC under component One of the EUSDGN. »
In a remark, the Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr Garba Abari, said it had become imperative to open up the space of democratic opportunities to all.
Abari said that the ability of any individual was not in the form or shape of his body but in the content of his character, principles, ideas and values.
« As we find solution to the lingering problem of the exclusion of the Persons With Disabilities from the political process, l plead with all of us to consider this with some passion and urgency.
« Maybe, as a way of jump-starting the process, a few affirmative declarations can be infused into our party manifestoes.
« This will give special rights to persons with special ability within the process of nation building, » Abari said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that leaders of political parties at the meeting expressed their readiness and commitment to engagement with PWDs in their political activities.
The National Chairman, Restoration Party, Nsehe Nseobong, said that the workshop was a wake-up call on political parties to ensure that PWDS were actively engaged.
Nseobong said the population of people with disabilities formed a critical sector of the country’s population and the electoral system.

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