Abia State Governor, Alex Otti, took a bold stand on Wednesday, condemning the exclusion of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) from governance. With an unwavering commitment to equal opportunity, Otti addressed the pressing issue during the Abia State Disability Day Celebration/Interactive Session in Umuahia.
Expressing concern over the limited participation of PWDs in active and leadership roles, Otti urged political parties to scrutinize their policies and manifestos. The theme, ‘Accelerating Action to Enhance Access and Participation of Abians with Disabilities in Governance,’ resonated throughout his speech, delivered by Deputy Governor Ikechukwu Lekwachi Emetu.
Otti’s call for a multi-stakeholder approach emphasized the need for collaboration among traditional institutions, religious bodies, and families to implement the Abia State Disability Law. He affirmed the government’s commitment to improving the lives of people with disabilities and declared, “The rights and privileges of persons with disability have been the centrepiece of this administration.”
Governor Otti showcased concrete actions, citing the coronation of an auditory-impaired person as a traditional ruler, appointments of individuals with disabilities in his government, and the initiation of para-sports, including sponsorship to the 2023 National Para Games where Abia State excelled.
Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Sir Nwaobilor Ananaba, praised Otti for fostering a sense of belonging for persons with disabilities. An upcoming youth empowerment platform was announced, promising enhanced welfare and empowerment for this community.
Special Assistant to the Governor on Persons with Disabilities, Mr. David Anyaele, expressed gratitude for Otti’s resolute commitment. The Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, Abia State Chapter, lauded Otti’s administration and eagerly anticipated the activation of the Abia State Disability Commission.
In their presentations, the association emphasized the need for the commission’s activation to ensure the full implementation of the Abia Disability Law. They also sought affirmation of a 7% employment slot, construction of a secondary school for the deaf, provision of a dedicated vehicle, improved educational standards, scholarships, and skills training.
Governor Otti’s dedication and the collaborative efforts highlighted in this celebration underscore a transformative vision for inclusivity in Abia State. The event not only addresses the immediate concerns but also sets a precedent for sustained support and empowerment for the PWD community. Abia State is on the path to becoming a beacon of inclusivity under Otti’s leadership.