June 20, 2024

Biden sends diplomats Sara Minkara and Lisa Peterson to Nigeria to push for free and fair elections in 2023 and encourage persons with disabilities to actively participate

United States diplomats Sara Minkara and Lisa Peterson will be traveling to Nigeria October 5-7 to push for free and fair general elections in 2023 and encourage persons with disabilities to actively participate.

Sara Minkara, who is the Special Advisor on International Disability Rights at the United States Department of State, will first travel to Qatar, October 1-4 to meet with government officials, civil society, and like-minded partners, and to participate in the World Information Summit for Health (WISH), before flying to Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, October 5-7, where she will be joined by Lisa Peterson, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

The State Department said in a statement that in meetings with civil society, government, and international organization representatives in advance of Nigeria’s 2023 elections, “Special Advisor Minkara will emphasize the importance of free and fair elections that are accessible to all and encourage persons with disabilities to actively participate in the political process. “

Nigerians will go to the polls in February to elect a new president, a new national assembly, state legislatures and governors in almost all the 36 states. Former governor of Lagos Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Vice President of Nigeria Atiku Abubakar and former governor of Anambra Peter Obi are seen as the leading candidates in the presidential election.

Elections in Nigeria as the society at large are not always accessible to people with disabilities, and the State Department said that Special Advisor Minkara ”will take stock of each country’s efforts to reshape the narrative around disability emphasizing the rights of persons with disabilities and the value they bring to all sectors of society when fully included.”

President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is barred by the constitution from running for a third term in office. He will be handing over power on May 29, 2023, after serving two terms of four years each.

The State Department said that in Doha, Qatar, where she’s traveling first, October 1-4, to participate in the World Information Summit for Health (WISH), Special Advisor Minkara will represent the United States on the panel “Accessible By Design: Building a Legacy of Inclusion” and take part in a joint session to discuss, draft, and adopt a summit communiqué on equitable access to sports and leisure activities.

The summit, organized by the Qatar Foundation, will address health innovation and advances in the field with a focus on disability and sport.

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