Disability Inclusion in 2023 General Elections

TAF Africa Interventions

Training and Deployment of Observers

The 2023 national and subnational elections have been fixed on February 25 and March 11, 2023, respectively. For the first time in the history of election observations, TAF AFRICA will be hosting a PWD-focused situation room. It will monitor the participation of PWDs at various polling units nationwide.

In the general elections, TAF AFRICA’s methodology and deployment will review compliance:

  1. Provisions and effective use of assistive devices and electronic technologies.
  2. Physical accessibility.
  3. Participation of PWDs.
  4. Electoral crisis likely to impede on the elections and how it affects PWDs.
  5. Priority voting and attitude towards PWDs.
  6. Election results transmission and collation

Concerning the deployment of observers, TAF AFRICA has identified nonpartisan civil society coalition/network across the country, that work on elections and/or governance issues. Consequently, nonpartisan citizens, including PWDs will be mobilized in all the 36 states of the federation and the FCT to observe the election and provide an accurate measure of the quality of the participation of PWDs in the elections. Also, TAF Africa aims to boost the confidence of PWDs in the process and outcomes of the elections, and to provide recommendations to better the next elections.

Thus, TAF AFRICA will mobilize 700 observers across the 36 States and the FCT to observe the elections of February 25th using a random, representative sample of polling station to give a highly accurate assessment of election procedures, in consideration of the number of registered PWDS in the state, number of wards and polling units and security concerns.

Following the disaggregated data on persons with disabilities and their polling units, there are currently a total of 32,889 PUs with PWDs in Nigeria.

Election Hub and Data Centre

To track the inclusion of PWDs in the electoral process, TAF AFRICA will establish a PWD Election Hub as a response to inadequate PWD-focused platforms on election observation, and this will be the first of its kind in Nigeria. The PWD Election Hub will serve as a data hive for Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) Situation Rooms and the Election Management Bodies (EMBs) to find useful and real-time data on PWDs access to voting locations, participation, provision of assistive devices, priority voting, among others.

TAF AFRICA election hub app and tools will be used to provide real-time information for the hub on the participation of PWDs and the hub will be set-up for the 2023 general elections and subsequent off-cycle elections during the period of the project intervention. TAF AFRICA adopted a three-pronged technological approach which includes the development of a PWD data dashboard, user friendly election hub app and the development of an election monitoring dashboard.

The PWD data dashboard is a user-friendly platform which provides data on all registered voters with disabilities across polling units nationwide, disaggregated by type of disability. The PWD dashboard will also provide data on all PWDs candidates who are contesting at different levels nationwide. Whereas, the Election Hub App is a cross-platform mobile application with data collection capabilities which will be used by election observers to report real time information from the field on election day. Finally, the election monitoring dashboard is an administrative dashboard with reporting and data analytics capabilities, which will display real-time data collected from the election hub app on the election day.

The election hub will run for the presidential elections from the 23rd to the 26th of February, 2023 at Transcorp Hilton. FCT. The election hub will also run for the gubernatorial elections on March, 11th 2023 at the same venue.

Able2Vote Guide TV Series

Able2Vote guide is a 120-second educative television show targeting persons with disabilities and other members of the public, that features; simplified procedures for persons with disabilities to participate in the electoral process; provisions of the electoral act as it concerns persons with disabilities in Nigeria, still photos and animations to further simplify the content.

Able2Vote guide’s core intent is to reduce voter apathy, debunk generally held beliefs that resonate with the target audience, and increase the participation of Persons with Disabilities in the 2023 general elections and subsequent off-cycle elections, to further escalate what TAF Africa has done on Voter Education for persons with disabilities.

The able2Vote guide is hosted by the CEO/Founder of TAF AFRICA, Amb. Jake Epelle and supported by a sign language interpreter, which blends well with a fraction of the target audience, particularly the community of the hard of hearing.

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Inclusive Election Security

TAF Africa, with support from DAI, under the EU-SDGN II programme hosted a training for Inter-Security Agencies on inclusive election security event to train senior officers of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) on delivering inclusive election security. 

The event was also used as a medium to unveil the PWD data dashboard. The event was attended by the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, represented by Prof. Kunle Ajayi, National Commissioner and Chairman of the INEC Partnerships and Outreach Committee, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Usman Alkali Baba, represented by  CP Basil Ilegwu, Commissioner of Police in charge of Elections planning, Monitoring & Evaluation, and the Commandant-General-NSCDC, Dr. Ahmed Abubakar Audi, represented by ACG David Abi, Director Training and Manpower development. The Programme Manager for DAI, Dudolf Elbling, and the Programme Manager for CLEEN Foundation, Chigozirim Okoro, were also in attendance, among other special guests.

The CEO-TAF AFRICA, Mr. Jake Epelle, opened the presentation of the PWD Data Dashboard and Election hub App. Goodwill messages were given from the Programme Manager, CLEEN Foundation, the representative of the CG-NSCDC, and the IGP.

The key theme was the need for institutional effort from key players in the election process to mainstream PWD inclusion in the elections. INEC, appreciated the importance of improving the inclusion of PWDs in Nigeria’s electoral process and the work TAF AFRICA was doing in that regard. He noted the ability of all stakeholders to access and participate in the electoral space on the basis of equality is crucial to an inclusive democracy.

Mr. Jake Epelle gave a lecture on the Guidelines for Inclusive Election Security. The lecture focused on the policy and legal framework that speak to inclusion of persons with disabilities, the role of security agencies in the Electoral process, and the role of Security Agencies in supporting the participation of PWDs in the electoral process. Participants feedback/response after the presentation included the need for NYSC adhoc staff to be equally trained on the guidelines for its operationalization by security agents at the polling units, and the need for a framework to be developed to allow for the participation of security officers in voting as equal citizens of the country.

At the end of the sessions, the AC Ops, Lagos State Police Command, ACP Dotun Olugbono, and ACG Iliya Dongs of the NSCDC both express the full commitment of both agencies in delivering an inclusive and peaceful election process.

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