…says Political parties don’t have plans to include PWDs in their structures
Joint National Association of People with Disabilities (JONAPWD) in Anambra State has accused political parties of exclusion of its members in their various activities, particularly ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The chairman, Comrade Ugochukwu Okeke who stated this on Thursday during a press briefing in commemoration of 4th anniversary of the State disabilities rights law 2018, said his members have always suffered neglect by parties who feel they were irrelevant.
He described as risky taking for granted a body with large number of persons, particularly in a democracy, saying the group was set to take advantage of their numerical strength to demonstrate their relevance during the polls.
He said, “Political parties don’t have intentional plans to include persons living with disabilities (PLWDs) in their structures. All of them have woman leader, youth leader and others, but don’t have disability leader, who will help in mobilizing our members.
“If they not have deliberate plans to include us in their structures, they can boast of having inclusive party system. They must have to reserve certain positions for PLWDs, at least at the ward level to motivate our members.
“Besides, some of them hold their meetings not just late in the night, but in upstairs where PWDs will find it difficult to access. Some of them don’t have interpreters to ensure our deaf and dumb among us are carried along.
“The parties should understand politics is a game of number and we have the number. Infact, we’re preparing seriously ahead of the general elections to use our number to make a statement in Anambra State.
“We’ve mobilized our members to register and those who have registered are being encouraged to go and pick their PVCs. Bet me, you’ll be amazed with the number of persons with disabilities that would troup out to vote.
“People will no longer take us for granted because we have what it takes to determine who becomes what as long as election is concerned.”
Okeke however blamed some of its members for their relunctance in identifying with political parties of their choices.
“Some of the challenges are internal. Some of us don’t like identifying with political parties because I believe if you don’t say where you are, nobody will identify you.
“We’ve been encouraging our members to identify with political parties of their choices so they can have bargaining powers to make demands,” he added.
Also speaking, Desk Officer, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), ASC1, Amaka Anadumaka said the Corps has the duty to protect the rights of PWDs, enjoining the JONAPWD leadership not to relent in notifying the security agencies of any threat to its members.