The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Osun, has urged physically challenged people to actively participate in the July 16 governorship election in the state.
INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Prof. Abdulganiyu Raji, made the call at a one-day voter education programme in Osogbo on Monday.
Raji said that the programme was to equip sign language interpreters and persons with hearing impairments on how to exercise their franchise during the election.
He said that it was the civic right of physically challenged people to participate in the process of electing political leaders.
The REC said that Nigerians living with physical challenges constituted a reasonable percentage of the nation’s population.
”This event is part of our commitment to engage critical stakeholders in preparation for the poll.
”Today, we are meeting with language interpreters and people with hearing impairments; we shall engage also other clusters.
”The essence is to encourage these categories of Nigerians to understand their rights and responsibilities in the electoral process,” he said.
Raji quoted the World Health Organisation as reporting that physically challenged people constituted between 10 and 15 per cent of the population of every nation.
”The implication is that if we are 200 million Nigerians, the country has no fewer than 30 million persons with physical challenges.
”So, as a responsive and responsible organisation, we cannot neglect this remarkable portion of our population while taking electoral decisions,” he said.
The INEC official urged members of the group to mobilise other Nigerians with hearing impairments to enable them to exercise their franchise.
Raji said that the commission would make adequate security arrangements to ensure the safety of voters during the July 16 governorship election.
Some of the participants who spoke with NAN commended INEC for organising the programme and described it as timely. (NAN)