Tolu Bankole Urges INEC, Politicians To Treat PWDs With Dignity
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, National Leader, People With Disabilities, PWDs, has called on his counterparts to come out en masse to collect their Permanent Voters Cards.
Bankole in a Press Statement issued on Tuesday noted that registered voters can still be disenfranchised if they do not collect their PVCs from INEC and go out to vote.
“I call on all Persons With Disabilities who have not collected their PVCs; those who applied for transfer or replacement of cards across the country to go and collect their PVCs in order to achieve our drive for political, educational, economic, and social inclusion of PWDs through the ballot.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has fixed Monday, December 12, 2022 to Sunday 22 January 2023 as the dates for the collection of PVCs in all the 774 Local Government Offices of the Commission throughout the Federation.
“The Commission also resolved to devolve PVC collection to the 8,809 Registration Areas/Wards from Friday 6th to Sunday 15th January 2023. To ensure those that are unable to collect their PVCs at the Local Government Offices of the Commission can do so at the Registration Areas/Electoral Wards. After the 15th of January 2023, the exercise will revert to the Local Government Offices of the Commission until 22nd January 2023.
“All eligible and valid registrants will collect their PVCs from 9.00am to 3.00pm daily, including Saturdays and Sundays according to INEC’s guidelines.”
He appeal to the election umpire that Persons With Disabilities must be treated with consideration due to their peculiarities during this PVCs collection period across the country to minimize the incidences of ill-treatment in previous exercises.
“All the PWDs zonal and state leaders are required to convene a meeting with the various clusters in their states and Local Government Areas, including women and youths to brief them on the need to collect their PVCs in order to be counted in the forthcoming general election.
“Similarly, APC candidates should work closely with zonal and state leaders of PWDs to set up help desks to assist members of the PWDs community with complaints about their PVCs or with the PVC collection procedure for the success of this PVC collection.
“PWDs should not be short-changed in the electioneering process, as a matter of urgency in the spirit of fairness and inclusion, all campaign councils/structures across the country must provide for a functional directorate for PWDs. The vote of PWDs is same vote with that of the President.
“For the umpteenth time, I call for the dignified inclusion of PWDs in political campaigns. No candidate is expected to treat PWDs as miscreants during campaign. I frown at any campaign model that will derogate or endanger the lives of PWDs. All PWDs must be treated in a dignified manner during campaigns.
“Our political leaders will know our priorities only if we tell them, again and again, and if those priorities begin to show up in the polls. APC has proven to be the only PWDs friendly political party and the only way to reward her is by voting for all APC candidates in the coming election which begins with collection of PVCs.
“I appeal to you to be patient and follow the instructions until you collect your voter’s card. Lastly, don’t wait until the eleventh hour before scrambling for your PVC, it comes with a lot of needless inconveniences”.