Persistence And Consistency Is Needed In Every Business Empire – Habiba Ishaq

Habiba Ishaq, popularly known as “habishaq” is a graduate of B.TECH Estate Management and Valuation from Federal University of Technology(FUT) Minna, Niger State. She is also CEO of Habishaqs Collections, Minna with a branch at Kano state.


TMG> Many people are turning to entrepreneurship now, especially  university graduates. What was the attraction for you?

Habishaq> I will say the attraction was because business runs in the family; my grandparents and parents were civil servants but are successful business individuals. So that motivated me during my early days as a young girl.

TMG> What does your company sell?

Habishaq> We are into both wholesale and retail of different items like fabric (laces, brocades, ankara and more), children’s clothing, male and female wears and accessories, home decor, unique kitchen utensils, jewelries and more.

TMG> Which areas do you need to improve on in your business?

Habishaq> Due to popular demand and customers across the country, the delivery of goods and location is quite tasking but, Alhamdullilah, we are trying our best to get to customers in the shortest time possible.

TMG> What do you feel is the next step in developing your sales’ skills?

Habishaq> Looking forward to having a sales Rep. or agent across the country to meet our customers’ demands and make goods easily accessible.

TMG> What are some of the challenges you have faced in starting your company?

Habishaq> Having to deal with debtors and creating awareness.

TMG> What style of management do you think works in becoming successful at your kind of business?

Habishaq> I make sure I’m involved in direct activities in my company, leading by example. I dont hang around and wait to be called upon by my customers.

TMG> Tell us about a successful sales pitch you used for a difficult client. How were you able to sell the good(s) to him/her?

Habishaq> Though some customers can be very annoying, patience is the key to dealing with all customers.

TMG> Tell us more about being an interior decorator and how you manage other responsibilities or businesses? 

Habishaq> Sincerely, I must say it has not been easy trying to balance being an estate surveyor/valuer and an entrepreneur but Alhamdulillah, with prayers, hard work and commitment, the company has gained ground.

TMG> Have you ever lost during sales and what did you learn?

Habishaq> Of course, in every business there is always profit and loss but I try to augment and strive harder.

TMG> How do you keep up to date on your target market?

Habishaq> Through various social media and with the help of platforms like this (TMG).

TMG> When do you stop pursuing a client? 

Habishaq> I hardly give up on my customers but sometimes you just have to let go when the customer finally buys.

TMG> Who are you comfortable selling to and why?

 Habishaq> Honestly, I prefer selling to men, because they don’t bargain too much but I love and appreciate all my customers.

TMG> What motivates you?

Habishaq> I’m motivated by my unending love for fashion and the pleasure I derive in satisfying my clients.

TMG> What is your ultimate career aspiration?

Habishaq> To be a Real Estate investor.

TMG> How do you keep a smile on your face during a hard day to make sure your clients feel good?

Habishaq> Patience and preserverance. 

TMG> How much time do you spend cultivating customer relationships and hunting for new clients?

Habishaq> I spend virtually everyday looking for customers, because every opportunity I have is utilized judiciously.

TMG> What’s your approach to handling customer objections?

Habishaq> I am persuasive; I try to convince them about the originality of my goods.

TMG> Have you ever asked a client to explain why she didn’t buy a product? What did he/she say, and what did you learn from that experience?

Habishaq> Sure, as a matter of fact, customers’ feedback helps me alot in terms of improving my company. For example if the goods I have in stock are different from what the customer wants to buy.

TMG> What role does marketing play in your selling process?

Habishaq> Marketing connects me with new customers which keeps the company updated.

TMG> What way do you think your organization could do better?

Habishaq> Dedicating more time for my customers and improving in efficient service delivery.

TMG> In terms of sales skills, where would you like to get even better?

Habishaq> In all aspects but especially in customer relationship and social connectivity.

TMG> Tell us about the greatest goal that you’ve ever accomplished professionally?

Habishaq> Creating my own company and watching it grow smoothly. Alhamdulillah.

TMG> Have you remained persistent during sales, even though everyone else around you had given up?

Habishaq> Yes, because persistence and consistency is needed in every business empire.

TMG> What kinds of sacrifices have you had to make to be successful?

Habishaq> At a point in time I was strugguling between my career, home, business and also my personality as a woman, but the sacrifice was worth it. 

TMG> How do you manage costs? If your labour is running high with low profit, what measures do you take to control it?

Habishaq> My cost largely depends on customers’ demands but when my cost is getting high, I change my strategies to meet up with the customers’ demands.

TMG> How do you manage risk, in terms of damages or loss?

Habishaq> I return some goods to the company and I sell some at a preferable price.

TMG> Who are your role models and people that inspire you to move on in the world? 

Habishaq> My mum has been my role model right from the onset. I also have some customers who inspire and keep me updated.

TMG> What way can you encourage other youths to be self dependent?

Habishaq> Like I always say in other interviews and also tell my colleagues, I don’t see government work as a means of acquiring a livelihood. Graduates should not wait for white-collar jobs. Finally, I encourage all youths to be self reliant, to think and always act positive.

TMG> Do you socialise and when?

Habishaq> Yes I do. As a matter of fact, I socialize every opportunity i get.

Indonesia-Asia: Execution Of Nigerian Sparks Right Violation Crisis

The office of Indonesia’s ombudsman has unearthed evidence of rights violations in the execution of a Nigerian drug convict in 2016, an official said on Friday.

Humphrey Jefferson was still seeking clemency from President Joko Widodo at the time of his execution, which meant he still had a chance of being pardoned, said Ninik Rahayu, an official of the ombudsman’s office who is overseeing the case.

Jefferson, sentenced to death in 2004, had also sought a second judicial review of his case by the Supreme Court, but his request was denied by the Central Jakarta court without proper explanation, Rahayu said, in what she called maladministration.

If the court had taken on Jefferson’s case, his execution would have had to be delayed until its final verdict.

“When one is given the death penalty, all of the procedures must be done according to the laws,” Rahayu told reporters at her office.

“The rights of the person must be fully met before his sentence is carried out. You can’t bring back the dead to life.”

Rahayu also said the Attorney General’s office, responsible for conducting the execution, had not followed rules requiring it to give Jefferson and his family 72 hours’ notice of the event.

The execution was done according to law, said Muhammad Rum, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s office.

Telephone calls to the Central Jakarta court to seek comment were not answered.

A Supreme Court spokesman, Judge Suhadi, who goes by one name like many Indonesians, did not comment on the specific case but said the court did not generally grant a second review.

Jefferson, two other Nigerians and an Indonesian were the only prisoners to face the firing squad on July 29 last year, from a group of 14 picked initially.

The delay was due to a “comprehensive review”, said Attorney General H. Muhammad Prasetyo.

The executions were the second round under Widodo, whose predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, imposed a moratorium on the death penalty.

Many international bodies and foreign governments have urged Indonesia to pardon those on death row. They have also called on Indonesia to abolish capital punishment, but the calls have gone unheeded.

Widodo has told law enforcement officers not to hesitate in shooting drug traffickers who resist arrest in the war on drugs.

The ombudsman’s office has given government bodies 60 days to respond to its findings. But its limited powers mean it can only take its recommendations to Widodo in cases of failure to respond.

Jefferson’s lawyer, Ricky Gunawan, said he planned to use the ombudsman’s findings to file a civil lawsuit against the office of the attorney-general, seeking compensation for his client.

“We call on the Attorney General’s office to stop the preparation of any future death execution … and treat the convicts with respect and have their rights fulfilled,” Gunawan said. (Reuters/NAN)

How Police Rescued Lagos Students From Kidnappers

Indications have emerged that the police have rescued the school students who have been kidnapped for more than 53 days.

The boys were kidnapped in Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe, Lagos State.

Reports say they were released at Aboto Creek in Ilaje local government of Ondo state on Friday afternoon.

The Lagos State Government has welcome the release of the students.

Government on Friday expressed excitement over the release of six students abducted since 25 May.

In a press statement, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde congratulated the parents of the students and all concerned stakeholders over the development, just as he said the students would undergo series of medical tests and trauma therapy before they are reunited with their families.

“This is a welcome development and the State Government has always believed that the students would be released unhurt.

The news of their release is therefore a confirmation of that belief and we are glad that they would be reuniting with their families,” Ayorinde said.

He said the State Government remains resolute in its commitment to ensure the safety of lives and property of residents in the State and has already beefed up security in schools to prevent a re-occurrence.

“It is on record that the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration has invested massively on equipment and welfare of security personnel so as to ensure that the State remains safe for residents and investors.

“This Government has already taken giant steps to secure all our schools especially those in the suburbs and riverine areas and we are confident that the steps taken so far will go a long way in nipping a repeat of such in the bud,” Ayorinde said.

The Commissioner also quoted Governor Ambode as commending the efforts of security agencies who worked tirelessly to ensure the safe release and return of the students.


Extend Voting Right To Nigerians Living In Diaspora – NIDO Urges INEC

LEADERSHIP of World Body of Nigerians living in the Diaspora (NIDO) has appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to extend the voting right to Nigerians living in the Diaspora through Out of Country Voting system (OCV).

The Body which draw representatives from the leadership of NIDO from four continents including Europe, Asia, Africa and America was in INEC Headquarters Abuja this Wednesday, to crave the indulgence of the Commission to consider taking the ballot box beyond the shores of Nigeria, to enable persons living in the Diaspora enjoy the right to vote.

The Body noted that the number of Nigerians Living in the Diaspora was significant to the Nigeria’s voting and electoral process. Speaking through the leader of the team and Chairman, NIDO Asia, Prof E C Ejiogu, the Body said they could actively engage the National Assembly to influence the needed dialogue.

While responding, the Acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prince Adedeji Solomon Soyebi said INEC has been studying the matter with keen interest but it was obvious that the current legislation does not permit Out of the Country Voting.

The Acting Chairman said although it was the wish of the Commission to ensure every interested person wishing to vote was given the opportunity but, “…unless some amendments to the electoral law are done, there is hardly anything the Commission could do”

In her contributions, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Electoral Operations and Logistics Committee of INEC, Hajiya Amina Bala Zakari hinted that though the Commission was sensitive to the several impediments on the matter but by way of being more proactive a Committee was set up to study and advice the Commission on all issues surrounding OCV system. The Committee was a working Committee and has been very helpful, she added.


Customs Generate N486billion In 6 Months – PRO-Attah

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) generated a revenue of N486 billion in the first half of the year, Mr Joseph Attah, the Public Relations Officer of NCS, has said.

Mr Attah told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday that the amount realized is higher than N385 billion generated the same period of 2016.

Attah said that the service also recorded 3,798 seizures with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of over N7 billion from January to June.

The spokesman said that the agency made a seizure of 3,106, with a DPV of over N4 billion within the same period in 2016.

Attah attributed the increase in revenue collection and seizure to the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) zero tolerance on smuggling and the support given to officers and men to perform effectively.

“You will recall that around November 2016 to February, the CGC embarked on decisive reforms, and there was massive redeployment of officers and men.

“Also, there was the establishment of compliance team that is beefing up security at the borders, to block all non-revenue leakages.

“This is yielding result because when you block revenue leakages, when you effectively police the border, and deploy men and resources, what happens is that more smugglers are intercepted, more seizures are made.”

He said that when there was an increase in the level of compliance, it would boost the revenue collection of the service.

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (retd), had earlier disclosed that the Service generated N720 billion in 2016.

He made this known while defending the budget of the service before the Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff on Monday in Abuja.

It was a subsidiary budget defence for Nigeria Customs Service as a revenue generating agency of government.

Ali said that the approved revenue target for 2016 was N937 billion comprising of 862 billion for the federation and N75 billion for non-federation.

He added that the service, however, collected total revenue of N720.7 billion or 77 per cent during the period.

He stressed that the revenue collected was with a negative variance of N 216.6 billion or 23 per cent when compared with the target for the year.

The comptroller-general noted that the revenue performance of N720.7 billion in 2016 had a negative variance of N13.6 billion or 1.9 per cent when compared with N734 billion collected in 2015.

”During the period under review the service also collected the sum of N177.93 billion as VAT on imports thereby bringing the total collection to N898.67 billion.

”The shortfall in the performance is due to the fact that no revenue was collected on luxury items and polished rice levy because of lack of legal backing to enforce collection of luxury items and no importation of polished rice.

”Also responsible is restriction of 41items from accessing foreign exchange at official window as well as high exchange rate of Naira against other foreign currencies increased the tax base of goods imported and reduced volume of trade.

”The scanners at the various Customs scanning sites are not functioning. This factor has adversely contributed to the services inability to carry out effective examination for selected consignments.

”Presently, only two commodities, cigarette and alcoholic beverages are under excise control and this did not help in the achievement of the N63.8 billion excise revenue target in the 2016 budget.

” The porous nature of the nation’s borders encourage smuggling activities and this constitutes some reasonable setbacks in the 2016 revenue collected,” he said. (NAN)

Increased Deaths From AIDS Across Sub-Saharan Africa Worrisome – Doctors

An international medical humanitarian organisation, Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), has described increased deaths from AIDS across Sub-Saharan Africa as unacceptable.

Dr David Maman, an Epidemiologist with MSF, made the assertion on Wednesday in a paper at the ongoing 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science in Paris, France.

The paper is entitled: “Waiting Isn’t Option: Preventing and Surviving Advanced HIV’’.

Maman said that the data of deaths recorded at the MSF-run and supported hospitals in some African countries was alarming.

“In MSF-run and supported hospitals in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Guinea, Kenya and Malawi, people arrive with severe immune failure.

“The overall mortality for patients with AIDS is between 30 to 40 per cent; almost one third (30 per cent) of those deaths occur within 48 hours,’’ he said.

According to him, MSF is concerned that the situation will exacerbate as funding for global HIV response continues to stagnate.

“Anticipated cuts in U.S funding to the global fund (17 per cent) and PEPFAR (11 per cent) from 2018 onwards will see many countries facing further grant restrictions.

“Shrinking funding envelopes and the need to preserve ART purchases will endanger community responses, including targeted testing and improved treatment literacy and adherence,’’ Maman said.

He said that there has not been the expected drop in late-stage presentations of HIV in developing countries, in spite of extensive access to antiretroviral.

“What is different today is that among people admitted to hospitals, majority is already diagnosed and many have been on treatment for several years.

“In Homa-Bay, Kenya, where antiretroviral have been made available for years, half of the hospitalised AIDS patients show signs of treatment failure.

“We are pushing to switch these patients to second-line antiretroviral, more rapidly,’’ he said.

Also, Gilles Van Cutsem, an HIV Advisor at MSF, said that key intervention urgently needed to prevent and treat AIDS include the rapid roll of `test and start’ routine viral load testing.

He listed point of care diagnostics for tuberculosis, improved treatment for cyptococcal meningitis, rapid switch to second-line ART for failing and advanced patients, likewise swift, effective and accessible treatment.

“People are still being diagnosed late. We need new ways to detect those left out early on, before they arrive at hospital in often fatal condition or die at home without ever receiving care.

“Stigma and lack of information still remains high, leading to delayed treatment or no testing and treatment at all.

“This illustrates the need to complement increased antiretroviral coverage at the community level with improved care for those on treatment for years,’’ Cutsem said.

Agency Reports… .

Senate Approves Former Senate Presidents, Speakers As Members Of Council Of States

Also approves financial autonomy for LG, state assemblies

The Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved the inclusion of former presidents of the Senate and former speakers of the House of Representatives as members of the Council of State.

The decision of the Senate followed an electronic voting on the report of the committee on Constitution review which sought to alter certain sections of the 1999 Constitution.

According to the decision of the Senate, the council of state which usually comprises serving and pasts presidents and heads of state as well as the serving president and speakers of the legislature will now  include past presidents and speakers.

All 95 Senators who were present voted in favour of the bill.

However, only past leaders of each of the chambers that were not impeached during their tenure are eligible to become members of the council.

The Senate also approved the alteration bill seeking to reduce from six months to three months, the period of time within which a president can authorise withdrawal from the confederation account before the passage of the budget of a particular year.

The Senate for the second time also approved financial autonomy for State Houses of Assembly to get their funding directly from the federation accounts rather than rely on the state government to be funded.

During the last Constitution review, the National Assembly approved financial autonomy for the states, however in a turn of events, the State Assemblies themselves rejected the autonomy having voted no to financial autonomy when the matter was brought before them as part of the process of Constitution amendment.

The upper legislative chamber also approved the abrogation of joint accounts for States and Local Government and provided for Local government to operate their special accounts called the Local Government Account.

The Senate also approved the alteration that only democratically elected local government councils will be recognised and funded from the federation account.

Also approved was granting of immunity to lawmakers and indemnify them from anything they say during the course of plenary or committee meeting.

The Senate also approved that the president and governors should have a time frame after taking office within which to submit ministerial nominees or list of commissioners in the case of the governors.

The Senate however rejected the alteration which would have mandated states to ensure that 20 per cent of state commissioners appointed are women.

The Senate also approved the change of name of the Nigerian Police Force to the Nigeria Police to reflect their core mandate. 87 out of the 96 lawmakers present voted yes.

The inclusion of independent candidates to contest elections was also okayed by the Senate as 62 senators voted in favour of the Independent Candidature Bill.

Any person who functioned in capacity as acting president or governor can only serve as an elected  president or governor only once.

This implies that that once the individual is re-elected into the office which he had served in acting capacity, he cannot contest an election into that same office.

If this approvals sail through the entire process of the amendment, it means that former President Goodluck Jonathan can no longer contest the presidential election having acted as president and served a fresh 4 year term afterwards.

The Senate also approved the separation of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation from the Office of the accountant general of the Federal Government.

Following the rejection of the lawmakers, a woman who married out of her state or Local government of origin will not have the choice to decide if to contest an election as an indigene of her place of origin or her place of marriage.

This will also apply in the case of political appointment as the woman would not have the choice whether to be appointed as an indigene of her place of origin or her place of marriage.

The Senate also approved for the establishment of the Investment and Securities Tribunal.

The age qualification for persons contesting for elective offices was also reduced approved for reduction by the Senate.

The upper legislative Council further approved that the president or governor must submit the appropriation bill of the proceeding financial year not later than 90 days before the expiration of the current financial year.

The Decree that established the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) was also deleted from the Constitution to allow for its amendment.

Other decrees which the senate approved for deletion for the Constitution were the Public Complaint Commission and State Independent Electoral Commissions.

However, the bill seeking to delete the Land Use Act from the Constitution was rejected by the lawmakers as only 44 senators voted in support of the bill.


2020 Olympics Technology: Japanese To Work From Home

Japan on Monday launched a scheme to promote “telework’’ or working from home, in an effort to ease congestion when Tokyo hosts the 2020 Olympics.

The country also intends to soften a notoriously rigid work culture.

Almost 930 companies, including Suntory-Beverage & Food Ltd., Ajinomoto Co and Tokyu-Construction Co are participating in “Telework Day’’, to be held on July 24 each year henceforth until the Olympics opening ceremony set for July 24, 2020.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has introduced policies to shorten working hours, raise contract workers’ pay and curb abuse of labour laws.

Telework could be another way to reform working practices that some say are behind the times.

“Once the Olympics start, it will be hard to get to work, so we are doing this as an experiment,’’ said Takashi Kozu, 61, president of the Ricoh Institute of Sustainability and Business.

“The lifestyles of younger generations are changing, so firms should offer alternative work styles to maintain employees’ incentive.’’

Kozu said he worked from home on Monday morning, planned to attend an off-site meeting in the afternoon and would not show up in the office until early evening.

Telework is more common in other countries, especially in the information technology sector, where employees regularly use teleconferencing or log on from the neighbourhood cafe.

However, it has been slow to catch on in other industries in Japan, partly because firms have put a lot of emphasis on being physically present at the office, often for 12 hours or more.

But Japan Inc. is starting to change its ways and introduce more flexible work hours.

As the population ages, the labour force is shrinking at an alarming rate, and a hard-driving work culture makes it difficult to attract and retain workers.

Some companies are starting to realise that long, inflexible hours of work actually keep labour productivity low.

In some cases Japan’s working culture can be fatal, and it is not uncommon for workers to commit suicide or suffer a stroke because of excessive hours.

“We are doing this for the Olympics, but the long-term-goal is to have more humane-working-conditions,’’ said Hiroshi Ohnishi, a planner at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which is promoting “Telework Day’’.

“In the past, working long hours was considered a virtue, but this thinking will not hold up in the future.’’

Agency Reports…

Governors Should Stop Stealing – Kashim Shettima

Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno, has advised governors in the country to stop pilfering from the public treasury with the aim of accumulating wealth.

Instead, he urged them to focus on enhancing the well-being of the masses.

The governor gave the advice on Tuesday in Abuja at the 2017 graduation of Internally Displaced Girls under the Organisation of Female Students Scholarship Scheme.

The 73 graduating girls were sponsored by the Girl Child Concern (GCC), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), in collaboration with the Borno Government, and were selected in from secondary schools in five Northern states.

´´The most important yard stick has to do with the quality of governance; there is more to leadership than primitive capital accumulation.

´´No matter how much you accumulate beyond a certain point, it’s just a number,” the governor said.

He said that unless something was done fast to address the plight of the common man, ´´what awaits the country will be worse than the Boko Haram insurgency´´.

According to him, this is violence that cannot be separated from poverty, and a hopeless, jobless, ill-educated and ill-paid young man is the most dangerous.

Shettima stated that it was the responsibility of governors to enthrone good governance by “wearing their thinking caps” and working for the people.

He, therefore, stressed the need for governors to create more jobs, invest in education and create work space and work stations for the next generation of youths.

He said that there was nothing special about oil as it would soon go into extinction, noting that human resources was the most important and should be developed.

The governor, however, said that there was need for Nigerians to unite to fight the country´s common challenges.

He noted that women and children bore the brunt of insurgency, adding that the Boko Haram sect had so far created 54,911 widows and 52,311 orphans in the state.

This, he said, was according to World Bank, European Union and the Presidency’s official figures.

´´These are official figures, probably the unofficial figure may be twice this number.

“The truth is that we either take care of these orphans or 10 years to fifteen years from now, they will be the monsters that will drive us out of this land,” he said.

According to the governor, some elite and political bigwigs are already afraid of visiting rural areas to meet with common men for fear of being molested.

He added that there was presently a palpable content against the elite glaring on the faces of most common men.

He decried the state of public schools in the country, particularly in the North, saying that security and feeding in most of the schools was nothing to write home about.

Shettima stressed that unless the country´s leadership began to think toward improving the lot of the common man and working for the people, the situation would deteriorate.

Earlier, Dr Mairo Mandara, Executive Director of the GCC, said the girls were another success story of the country´s fight against insurgency.

This, she said, was so because the girls dared where others failed and got what others were abducted for.

Mandara described the girls as “a cohort of brave, fearless, active and informed girl mentors” empowered with life skills who would encourage others to remain in school.

She added that the centre had concluded plans to establish a Girls´ Academy in Borno with learning activities taking off in September, 2017.

Mandara said that GCC was also setting up a skills acquisition centre for teaching construction skills in collaboration with King Muhammad VI of Morocco.

She said that Borno Government had already provided a land for the project, adding that discussions for the setting up of the centre had reached advanced stage.

Most of the girls who spoke to NAN expressed happiness on their freedom and graduation and prayed to God to bless the GCC and Borno Government.

INEC Review, Adopt Framework For People Living With Disabilities 

Conscious of the voting rights of every citizen of Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), convened a one-day workshop in Keffi, Nassarawa State, to review and adopt a Framework on Access and Participation of Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs) in the Electoral Process ahead 2019 General Elections.

Declaring the workshop open, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Outreach and Partnership Committee of INEC, Dr Adekunle L Ogunmola restated the commitment of INEC towards mainstreaming the PWDs in electoral matters. He said “the Commission aims to ensure that disability issues are mainstreamed into electoral matters, more so against the backdrop of the fact that, the 2011 World Health Organization report on disability estimates that fifteen per cent of the world’s population have one disability or the other, and 80% with disabilities live in the global south”.
Dr Ogunmola also cited the statistics of PWDs in Nigeria which he said stood at well over 25 million men, women and children, of various age groups.
Speaking on the experience of INEC at the development of a durable and acceptable PWD Framework, Dr Ogunmola said time, knowledge, expertise and consultation were necessary, adding that the “the first input to the draft came up based on consultation with PWDs groups”.
The Commissioner also added that “Nationwide consultations have taken place with principal external stakeholders” in which an acceptable template was developed.
Dr Ogunmola further said the content and direction of INEC PWD Framework was guided by the national and international instruments on PWD issues, which include; the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (1948); International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1956); International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) among other things; as well as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and the Electoral Act 2010 {as amended)
In her remark, the Deputy Director and Head of CAIVIL Society Organizations, Dorothy Bello, said the workshop was aimed at providing yet another opportunity for the higher cadre of Commission’s staff to make inputs into the draft policy with a view to improving its contents.
Mrs Bello was also optimistic that participants would appreciate the importance of the Framework, take ownership and adopt it for planning and future engagement with PWDs.
Earlier in his welcome address, the INEC Administrative Secretary, Nassarawa State, Engr. Emmanuel Akem expressed delight over the hosting of the workshop in Nassarawa State and thanked INEC for responding to the consistent advocacy for greater participation of the PWDs in the electoral process.
The Director, Anglo-Nigerian Welfare Association for the Blind (ANWAB), Barr Danlami Basharu has called on the Independent National Commission (INEC), to develop further strategies of engaging Persons Living with Disabilities in the electoral process.
Barr Danlami made the call while delivering a entitled ‘Understanding Issues of Persons with Disabilities and Mainstreaming in the Electoral Process’ during a one-day workshop organized by INEC on the Draft Framework on Access and Participation of PWDs in the Electoral Process which held in Keffi, Nassarawa State.
Director Danlami noted that the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) has guaranteed every Nigerian the right to vote and stressed further that such rights must be exercised in a free, fair and conducive atmosphere.
He further advocated the inclusion of disability status or otherwise of the voters so as to provide sufficient information on PWDs, as well the involvement of PWDs in electoral duties.
Directors’ at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have adopted the draft Framework on Access and Participation of Persons Living with Disabilities ahead 2019 General Elections.
Appraising the document before its adoption in Keffi, Nassarawa State, the National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Prince Adedeji S. Soyebi said the document was good enough right from initial stage and INEC was committed to promoting the participation of all social groups in the electoral process.
The document would be presented to other critical stakeholder groups for further scrutiny before its final adoption.