By Sunday Isuwa, Abuja
A presidential aspirant under the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in the 2023 presidential elections and Founder and Chief Responsibility Officer, Centre for Ability, Rehabilitation and Empowerment (CARE), Dr Chike Okogwu has called on the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu to appoint five percent of People with Disabilities (PWDs) in his cabinet.
Okogwu said 30 million PWDs are expecting the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, to appoint 5% of them in his cabinet.
In an open letter addressed to the President-elect, and obtained by LEADERSHIP Sunday, Okogwu said Tinubu should consider PWDs in his cabinet.
“Once again on behalf of the 30 million persons with disabilities in Nigeria, I write you this 3rd letter.
“The first was on 21st January 2022 and published in the ThisDay Newpapers editorial and other notable publications. We welcome you back from your one month rest abroad.
“It is about one month away from your historic inauguration as Nigeria’s next president and as you are aware, Nigeria has a sizable population of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) who require special attention and consideration from the government in order to achieve their full potential.
“It is within this context that I write on five key strategies that your incoming government can employ to support mainstreaming, accessibility, and inclusion of PWDs in Nigeria and bring us to the John Gaventa’s 3rd Face of power or Hegemony stage in his book Power and Powerlessness where we allocate resources to every one.
“Firstly, we need affirmative action policies that promote the employment of PWDs in both the public and private sectors, as well as incentives to encourage employers to hire PWDs. 5% of incoming President-elect Bola Tinubu’s Ministers (2 at least) and Advisers in the new cabinet must be PWDs in accordance with the 2019 Disability act.
“I’m not lobbying to be one of them, there are many others out there to be brought on board not just for Disability sake alone but for their capacity and ability to deliver on the job in line with our CARE Mantra of CORE (Courage, Opportunity, Responsibility and Empowerment). Doing this alone will make all the states, local governments, MDAs and private sector to do same and 15% of out hitherto lost GDP will be reclaimed as Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon advised. You will go down into history sir in your own unique way, like your predecessor as the first to do so.
“Secondly, there is a need for policymakers to create and enforce Disability Standards that enhance public buildings’ accessibility. We need to ensure that public buildings, transportation systems and services meet the accessibility requirements of PWDs just like the NCAA and FAAN who, we must commend, are doing a great job in the aviation sector.
Thirdly, the government should prioritize disability-inclusive education through inclusive policies by the Ministry of Education, which will help to provide practical educational infrastructure that promotes accessibility and supports the educational needs of PWDs.
“Fourthly, the government should support and engage the vast knowledge bases of Disabled People Organisations, NGOs and other bodies that provide services that promote the social and economic wellbeing of PWDs.
“Finally, the government should prioritize economic empowerment for people with disabilities by providing accessible loan opportunities to scale-up their businesses and improve their self-employment abilities.
“As the founder of C.A.R.E., I’m not writing to be considered for an appointment but feel duty bound as a leader and top disability advocate to do so. Let us all work towards a better future for Nigeria by remembering the importance of inclusivity for all, and the unique contributions that PWDs can make to our country, ” the letter stated.