Award-winning music producer, Cobhams Asuquo, has called on Independent National Electoral Commission to provide structures to enable persons living with disability to participate in the 2019 electoral process unaided.
Asuquo, who is visually impaired, made the call on Thursday at the Maiden edition of INEC Campus Outreach at the University of Abuja in commemoration of Europe Day 2018.
The producer, known for producing some of the finest artistes in Nigeria, including 2face Idibia and Asa, said that his last experience at the polling unit in 2015 was bad.
“The day I voted, people at the voting centre knew whom I was voting for because of the type of set up, obviously I did not have access to choose whom I wanted to vote for without assistance.
“I could not do secret voting, of which I understand that the practice of voting is supposed to be in secrecy, where you and you alone ought to know who you are voting for.
“I think voting and the right to register is the right of every Nigerian and for whatever reason, we haven’t seriously considered the need to include persons living with disabilities in the process of voting,” Asuquo said.
He said that he believed that the Nigerian voting system was a work in progress and that he had faith in INEC to reverse the trend, especially for challenged persons like himself, in the coming 2019 elections.
“Come 2019 general elections I want to be franchised without anyone’s interference and the only way I can do so, is through the inclusion of persons like me in the electoral process by INEC,” he said.
He said that there were millions of Cobhams out there who had ability to contribute to make Nigeria what it ought to be but they lacked the structural services or incentives to do so.
Asuquo said that it was important that persons with disabilities played roles in the voting process and that the right structures be put in place by INEC to encourage disabled persons’ participation.
He said that if opportunity was not given to him through artistes, such as e 2face and Asa, he would not have shown his potentialities to the world.
Asuquo advised youths to get registered and get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), which he likened to a legal tender.
He said, “PVC is the most valuable legal tender in any economy or any democracy, the voters’ card should be treated as a very valuable legal tender in Nigeria.
“With the PVC you can buy what a million naira cannot buy,’’ he said.NAN
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