PWDs beg Tinubu for equal representation in disability community govt leadership

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Founder and Chief Responsibility Officer, Centre for Ability Rehabilitation and Empowerment, Dr. Chike Okogwu, has written an open letter to President Bola Tinubu, appealing for equal representation of all regions in Disability Community Government Leadership.

Dr Okogwu in the letter, stressed the distribution of appointments among the regions will not only uphold the constitutional principle of federal character spread but also foster inclusivity and strengthen democracy.

Speaking on the recent dissolution of the board of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, without the immediate constitution of a new board, has resulted in a lack of checks and balances in the running of the NCPWD.

He therefore appealed to the President to use his power to correct and balance the anomaly. 

“Urgent Appeal for Equal Representation in Disability Community Government Leadership.

“I am writing to you on behalf of our board and the entire disability community in Nigeria to express our deep concern regarding the lopsided appointments in the Disability community government leadership.

“While we appreciate the recent appointment of Comrade Mohammed Abba Isa from Yobe State as the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Special Needs And Equal Opportunities, we believe that the appointment of both Comrade Mohammed Abba isa and Mr. James Lalu, the incumbent Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, from the North region of Nigeria goes against the Nigerian constitutional principles of federal character spread.

“The relevant section in the Federal Character Act in Nigeria that applies to fairness in appointments is Section 14(3). It states that ‘The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.

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“Furthermore, the recent dissolution of the board of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, without the immediate constitution of a new board, has resulted in a lack of checks and balances in the running of the NCPWD.

“This situation has left the Disability community comprised of the following clusters:the blind, the physically disabled, the deaf,persons with albinism, the intellectually impaired, those with spinal cord injuries and leprosy victims all feeling unsatisfied and concerned about the fair representation and effective governance of our affairs.

“In light of these issues, we urgently appeal to you, Mr. President, to use the powers of your office to correct and balance this anomaly. We kindly request that you ensure equal representation by appointing individuals from different regions of Nigeria to key positions within the Disability community government leadership.

“This will not only uphold the constitutional principle of Federal character spread but also foster inclusivity and strengthen our democracy.

“We understand that time is of the essence, as plans for a protest on this matter are scheduled for March 1, 2024, which coincides with the celebration of International Wheelchair Day. 

“As a respected advocate for the Disability community, we trust in your commitment and love for our community and believe that you will act swiftly to address this issue,” he said.

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