Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) has decried adequate representation of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Nigerian political parties structure as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Releases its full National Working Committee Offices.
Executive Director, IFA, Grace Jerry, who said this in a statement on Friday in Abuja, noted that gaps still existed in respect to the civil and political rights of PWDs.
“Political parties are still, albeit slowly, trying to include PWDs in terms of policy and practice.
“The PDP National Convention which was held in Abuja on Oct. 30 , 2021 is an omen that Political parties are still grappling with the inclusion of PWDs.
“This is partly because of unresponsive internal policies, limited capacity, lack of awareness among the party leadership on inclusion amid other barriers.
“There have been diverse practices and encouragement by different political parties as to the formation of party disability leagues and the development of inclusive intra-party policies.’’
Jerry said that opportunities therefore, existed for structured engagement with political parties towards building inclusive culture and practice among its membership.
She however, said that this required a paradigm shift to achieve intra-party pro-disability agenda and national legal reforms that addressed the challenges limiting the participation of PWDs.
Jerry suggested that political parties should increase the participation of PWDs by creating party policies that were pro-disability, calling for the hastening of the process of approval of the pro-inclusion policies that are under review and/or development.
She added that political parties’ leadership should develop innovative strategies for members with disabilities by inspiring them to join and retain their membership.
She urged parties to ensure access to justice within the parties, the parties should develop a simplified party complaints mechanism of solving members disputes and be sensitive to the needs of PWDs.
Jerry said that the department of political parties in charge of registration should develop a database for members who have disabilities at the ward level.
She said that the executive of the political parties should integrate programmes that built the capacity of their members on disability inclusion.
The executive director said that the parties should promote reasonable accommodation within their structures by designing activities that are responsive to the needs of all PWDs.
Jerry said that the political parties budgeting should include, and where already in place, increase the funding for programmes targeting the PWDs.
She said that such budgets should be adequately reported by the political parties to include indicators of inclusion and audited by a reputable firm.