- The INEC chairman revealed how blind persons will vote in the 2019 general elections
- He said the electoral commission will produce ballot papers in braille for blind persons
- This, according to him, will allow them to vote unaided
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) blind persons above the age of 18 will be not be disenfranchised as they will be allowed to vote unaided in the 2019 general elections through ballot papers produced in braille.
The commission further stated that it was committed to ensuring that persons with disabilities were not disenfranchised in 2019, Punch reports.
NAIJ.com gathered that the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, said this during a campus outreach programme on the Continuous Voter Registration at the University of Abuja on Thursday, May 3.
The INEC boss said this in response to a visually-impaired music producer, Cobhams Asuquo, who had urged the electoral commission to assist people living with disabilities to exercise their franchise in accordance with the secret ballot principle so that they would vote unaided.
In his response, Yakubu noted that the commission had during the Anambra governorship election started with the provision of magnifying glasses for the albinos, promising that wheelchairs would also be provided for crippled persons.
He said: “For the visually-impaired, we can provide ballot papers printed in Braille; for the albinos, we have started the use of magnifying glasses in Anambra, and for the other physically-challenged people, we will be deploying wheelchairs.”
He told the students at the event that registration centres had been opened on the campus, urging them to avail themselves of the opportunity to participate in the exercise.
Yakubu said those who registered in 2017 had begun collecting their Permanent Voter Cards.
Fielding questions from the students, the INEC chairman told one of the students who claimed he first voted at the age of 12 that such action was unlawful because only Nigerians from age 18 years and above were qualified to vote.
Yakubu told the students that for now, the law only made provision for transfer if one intended to vote elsewhere other than where he originally registered.
In his remarks, the head of the European Union delegation to Nigeria, Ketil Karlson, noted that the youths, who constituted 60% of the voting population, had the power to determine the outcome of elections.
He, however, lamented that young persons were not showing enough enthusiasm.
NAIJ.com previously reported the electoral commission also said it is making plans with the Nigeria Prisons Service to ensure prisoners can vote.
Yakubu said this in Abuja at a dialogue session tagged Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room Dialogue.
This is coming a few years after a Federal High Court in Benin, Edo state, ruled that prisoners in Nigeria have the right to vote in all elections conducted in the country.
The INEC chairman explained that only “certain categories of prisoners” would be given such an opportunity depending on the nature of the crimes committed.
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