Lagos LGA polls: CCD trains electoral officers on effective voting access for PWDs

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By Adekunle Williams
The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) has trained local government electoral officers on effective voting access for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in the 2025 Chairmanship Elections in Lagos State.
The Head of Finance and Administrative Manager, CCD, Mrs Florence Chima-Austin, made this known at the opening of a  workshop for Lagos State Electoral Independent Commission (LASIEC) officials across 20 LGAs in Lagos on Wednesday.
Chima-Austin explained that the purpose of the training was to ensure that no persons with disabilities would be left behind in the planning process of electioneering forthcoming chairmanship elections in the state.

The official added that the training was to ensure the inclusion of PWDs during the election and to provide the knowledge that was needed for PWDs to participate on an equal basis with others.

She noted that the training was carried out to build the capacity on the relevant laws such as the Lagos State Special People Laws Section 21, National Disability Act Section 30.

According to her, others are the UN Convention on the right of Persons with Disabilities Section 29 and the Electoral Act 2022 Section 54B.

“During the presentation under Voice Nigeria, we paid advocacy visit to LASIEC and the Disabilities Desk officer was appointed in the commission. Since then, they have been rolling out the issues of disabilities inclusion in their programmes and activities.

“They also find the need to promote this programme on equal voting access for persons with disabilities considering that by next year 2025 Lagos State will be having its Local Government elections.

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“So, LASIEC see the need for CCD to come in because it is a collaboration programme with LASIEC and CCD to train all the electoral officers in Lagos State.

“This means that after this training, they will be able to go down to the grassroots and step down this training, so in the coming forth election, it will be inclusive.

“Hence, no persons with disabilities will be left behind in the planning process of electioneering in the state,” she said.

The official said there was a need for the ad-hoc staff to be trained to understand the use of ECH-40 forms, which capture the data of every PWDs that comes to vote in every polling unit.

She said that in capturing their data, it will also aid the logistics plans for further election time for the 20 million PWDs in Lagos State.

Chima-Austin advocated that it was time that the commission brought the polling units close to the PWDs residence.

According to her, proximity is an issue here because in the election, there is no movement and you don’t expect the person on wheelchairs to trek to a long distance.

She said there was also a need to bring the Organisation of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) in training ad-hoc staff for them to understand their roles in issues of inclusion in elections.

Speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), Mrs Morenike Oki, noted that inclusion and accessibility had become important guiding principles for electoral integrity all over the world.

Oki said this was a fundamental pillar of a true democracy as it provided a unique opportunity to break down social stigmas.

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She said Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 1948 states that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

The permanent secretary said the right of citizens to take part in the government of their country, either directly or through freely chosen representatives, is entrenched in Article 21(1).

“There is perhaps no better demonstration of equality than the right of a citizen to exercise his/her franchise through equal access to the electoral process.

“The commission will ensure that persons with disabilities appear alongside other citizens as active participants in the political and electoral process.

“Involvement in these activities not only empowers persons with disabilities but can also help transform the electoral process, public perception, confidence and needed integration,” she said.

Oki said as the tenure of the elected officials at the Local Council Administration was winding up, the commission was entrusting itself with the conduct of a hitch-free, fair, credible, peaceful, inclusive and transparent election.

She said the commission would continue to build and sustain the image as an impartial body recognised for excellence in electoral management in the country. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Olawunmi Ashafa

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