What We Observed During Ekiti Election, Persons With Disability Group Releases Findings

What We Observed During Ekiti Election, Persons With Disability Group Releases Findings

  • Access Nigeria Campaign has released its report on the just concluded governorship election in Ekiti state
  • The group observed the process to document the experience of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the election
  • According to the group, the height of the ballot box in Ekiti was not suitable for voters with disabilities

The Access Nigeria Campaign has released its final observation statement on the just concluded Ekiti state governorship election as it affects for Persons With Disabilities.

The statement signed by Grace Jerry, executive director, Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) was made available to journalists including a Legit.ng reporter in Ekiti.

The Access Nigeria: Disability Votes Matter Campaign is a disability rights movement led by the Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) for Nigeria’s 30 million persons with disabilities (PWDs).

Height of ballot box in Ekiti not suitable for voters with disabilities, group claims
Access Nigeria Campaign has released its report on the just concluded governorship election in Ekiti state
Source: Twitter

The goal of the Campaign is to increase the participation of PWDs in Nigeria’s political and electoral processes by reducing the physical, attitudinal and institutional barriers that make it difficult or impossible for them to participate. 

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According to IFA, mobile observers were deployed to all the 16 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Ekiti state and their findings are as follows:

Election Findings

INEC Logistics: IFA-led Access Nigeria Campaign observers reported that the early arrival and commencement of Polling Unit Officials across all the locations observed were against the experience during the Anambra 2021 November election.

Functionality of Technology: The Access Nigeria Campaign observers reported that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) functioned efficiently in all Polling Units observed. This was a clear improvement from what was observed during the Anambra governorship Election observed in November 2021.

Polling Units Accessibility: IFA-led Access Nigeria Campaign observers reported that most of the routes (roads) leading to the areas of the polling units observed were accessible for PWDs.Observer reports also showed that there were neither ramps nor handrails for use by PWDs outside most of the polling units observed

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Access Nigeria observer reports showed that most polling units in Ekiti state were located in public buildings, (schools), town halls, open spaces, front popular junctions, or private houses. 

Internal Polling Unit Layout: Access Nigeria observers reported that it was difficult for voters with disabilities to enter the polling units to participate in accreditation and voting. This was largely due to barriers like corridors and steps. Similarly, the location of the ballot boxes made it difficult for voters with disabilities to participate independently.

Polling Unit Materials: The height of the ballot box was not suitable for voters with disabilities, particularly for those who use wheelchairs, at most polling units observed.

Form EC 40H was available at all polling units observed by the Access Nigeria Observers to collect data on voters with disabilities who voted on Election Day. However, the usability of the form by Polling Officials was not effective. 

However, according to the YIAGA Africa Watching The Vote (WTV) Observers reported that; “the Braille ballot guides were observed in 61% of polling units, the EC30E PWD poster was seen in 66% of polling units and form 40H (PWD voter information and statistics) was seen in 76% of polling units.” 

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The Access Nigeria Campaign observers reported that priority voting was announced and implemented at all polling units observed for PWDs, the aged, and other vulnerable groups.

The non-availability of magnifying glasses as an assistive aide for persons with Albinism was reported at all Polling Unit Observed by the Access Nigeria Campaign observers.

Secrecy of the Ballots: The Access Nigeria Campaign observers reported that, in some polling units, the secrecy of the ballot was compromised as voters and party agents could see who a voter cast his or her votes for.

Security Agencies: The Access Nigeria Campaign observers reported the presence of Police and other security agencies at the Polling Unit observed and also around the state. Observers also reported that the security agencies were professional in the discharge of their responsibilities. This to a large extent guaranteed confidence for PWDs.

Vote Buying: The Access Nigeria Campaign observers reported issues of voting buying in some polling units observed.

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Meanwhile, Legit reports that following the conclusion of the June 2022 governorship election in Ekiti state, Yiaga Africa has released its findings during the recently concluded exercise.

According to the Yiaga, INEC official results for the governorship election is consistent with its estimate.

The Election observer group said had the official results been changed at the ward, LGA or state collation centres, the official results would not have fallen within its estimated ranges.

Source: Legit.ng

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