March 29, 2023

A ballot box filled with ballot is pictured before being counted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at a polling station in Yenagoa, in Nigeria's Bayelsa State, on April 16, 2011, after Nigeria's crucial presidential election and a bid by Africa's most populous country to hold its cleanest polls for head of state since the end of military rule. AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

The Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure older persons vote on arrival at polling units on Feb. 25.

The President of the coalition, Sen. Eze Ajoku, made the call during a news conference in Abuja on Thursday,

ahead of the Feb. 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Ajoku, who narrated some of the experiences of older persons in the country’s currency redesign and swap, advised banks to provide a dedicated counter for them and those with disabilities.

He explained that “older persons are used to writing cheque and collecting their money over the counter.

“Account officers should support older persons who are their customers by specifically arranging for them to come in at stipulated time to collect cash no matter how small.

“For those in rural areas, banks should deploy a community-based approach to enable rural older persons to get some money.”

He called on government to provide financial assistance and palliatives to enable older persons to

buy drugs and ease their hardship.

He expressed worry over the hardship they were passing through in accessing the new currency and

appealed to the Federal Government to take necessary measures to cushion the effects.

The coalition president urged INEC to ensure their protection during the election and stressed the need

to provide seats, water and first box to senior citizens and priority queue.

He said “as we approach the polls this weekend, we call on INEC to ensure that adequate provisions are made for the protection and care of older persons.

“Older persons should be singled out and allowed to vote on arrival so that they are not discouraged by waiting too long on the queues.

“This is because some of them have medical conditions like diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, which means they should not stay on queues for many hours.”

The coalition leader also urged older persons to conduct themselves well on the election day and to vote according to their conscience

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