As the World marks International disability day, the Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki has been called upon to ensure that the Edo state Disability bill which has been in the State Assembly for close to 10years becomes a law during his second tenure.
The governor has also advised to establish a Commission or Board to implement the Disability Law after it becomes operational.
Agbo Christian Obiora, who publishes Disability Advocacy Magazine, who gave this indication in Benin City said all these should be within Obaseki’s 100 days in office.
He said, “Your government should design a plan to have at least five per cent of the workforce reserved for persons with disabilities.
“As a governor, you should ensure that existing public buildings are equipped with facilities that make them disability friendly and upcoming ones, such mistakes should not be in their plans”.
He added, “As a leader of your party in Edo state, it will not be out place if you will influence your party executives to open up space for PWDs to come into politics. It will be nice for PWDs to be among councilors, LG chairmen, and also have representatives in the state, LGs, and wards executives of your party.
“There are issues of non-representation of PWDs in government, appointments should be extended to PWDs. I know many PWDs in the state who are well educated and have the capacity to function as Commissioners, head of agencies, and others”, he stated.
Obiora advocated an education allowance for PWDs to encourage them to go to school instead of indulging in street begging suggested that, “All primary and secondary schools should be upgraded to inclusive schools to encourage PWDs to be part of the schooling”.
He then called for the creation of disability desk offices in all the state ministries and agencies and employment of qualified PWDs as the desk officers to help mainstream disability issues in all their operations.
“These and many more are simple things you can do to mainstream PWDs in your governance and consequently reduce poverty in your State”, he added.
According to Obiora, “It is a known fact that PWDs are poorest of the poor in our society and any right-thinking politician who is serious about reducing poverty must fashion these group of people in the social intervention or poverty reduction programmes and they should also be fashioned into the plans right from the design of campaign document so that their issues should not be afterthought maybe when they begin to agitate.”
He also accused the Edo State of not doing its best over the years in mainstreaming PWDs, because there is no disability law in the state, as it has not domesticated the federal disability law, and issues concerning PWDs are not being mentioned in the State programs and policies.
Meanwhile he said Edo State, can reach out to the leadership of Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) in the State, to articulate their needs and sign a social contract with them.