Monday 6 March 2023


By: Eunice Maina,

Exactly one week after the Presidential Election 2023, it was observed by our reporter that, the promise made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to the Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) to provide Assistive Materials, in order to ensure their access and independent voting was recorded a failure on the side of INEC.

For the record, the Assistive Materials promised by INEC were 21,165 Magnifying glass for the Albinos and others with low vision, 8,117 Braille Ballots for the vision impaired for the blind, Pictorial Election Instruction Poster for the Hearing impaired and location of voting boxes for the physically challenged during the 2023 General Election.

According to INEC, over 85,362 Persons With Disabilities (PWD) registered for the 2023 General Election to contribute their quarter to the development of Nigeria. The Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities, Prohibition Act of Nigeria provides Assistive Materials for the PWDs.

The Electoral Act 2022, Section 54 sub-section (1 & 2) clearly states that, A Voter with visual impairment or other form of disability, who is otherwise unable to distinguish symbol or who suffers from any other physical disability may be accompanied into the polling unit by a person chosen by him or her and that person shall, after informing the Presiding officer of the disability, be permitted to accompany the voter into the voting compartment and assist the voter to make his or her mark in accordance with the procedure prescribed by the Commission.

Sub-section (2) stated that, the Commission shall take reasonable steps to ensure that persons with disabilities, special needs and vulnerable persons are assisted at the polling place by the provision of suitable means of communication, such as Braille, large embossed print, electronic devices, sign language interpretation, or offsite voting in appropriate cases.

However, in the just concluded Presidential election held on the 25th February, 2023, which was monitor and observed by our reporter at several polling units across Plateau State, none of the assistive materials as promised by INEC was provided only for the pictorial election posters, which were seen, but not placed at strategic locations for identification.

Speaking on the next elections, Persons With Disabilities have urged INEC through this medium to do the needful, hoping to see a great improvement on the 11th March, 2023, by providing and making available Assistive Materials as the Electoral Act 2022.

They also requested that they be notified on which polling units for them to cast their votes as is part of their Civic Responsibility.

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