Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano has appointed a person with disability as member of the State Tenders Board and automatically a member of the State Executive Council, the highest ruling organ of the state government.
Relaying the exciting news in a commentary published on ABS on March 21, Special Adviser to the Governor on Disability matters, Chuks Ezewuzie, lauded the Governor for his tremendous success for the Disability community in the State.
He said Obiano’s strides in that regard led to him being referred to as Ogugwo Ndi Olusi, which when translated means “The Comforter of persons with Disabilitities”.
The governor’s accomplishments in this direction, according to Chuks are not only outstanding, exemplary and unprecedented but uncountable.
“No doubt, God created Akpokuedike and his wife, Osodieme, with hearts of gold and philanthropy,” he said.
Ezewuzie added that Governor Obiano has done what had never been done, even from the old Anambra state, noting that for the first time since the creation of Anambra state, he established Office of the Governor on Disability Matters, which implements the vision for persons with disabilities.
He said Anambra, under Obiano, is also the first State in West Africa to appoint visually impaired and other persons with disability as Permanent Secretaries in Public service as well as employed several persons with Disabilities into the state’s civil service.
“Today, a person with disability is a member of State Tenders Board and member of the State Executive Council, the highest ruling organ of the state government. The governor equally appointed over five persons with Disabilities to his cabinet.
“Anambra is the only state in the South East of Nigeria to enact a law (Anambra State Disabilities Rights Law). The law provides for inclusion of persons with Disabilities in state policies and programs; guarantees employment opportunities for persons with Disabilities and prohibits discrimination against and the protection of the rights of persons with Disabilities as well as provides for the education and sporting opportunities for persons with Disabilities etcetera,” he said.
Under Obiano, the Special Adviser said civil servants with Disabilities have been promoted to their rightful service levels after years of neglect and stagnation.
“He recognized and rewarded athletes with Disabilities who won medals at the national and international competitions. He equally encouraged and rewarded persons with disabilities who have made outstanding achievements in different professional fields; most recent being a visually impaired author of a Mathematics book and a proponent of a new mathematical formula.”
“Sir Willie provided support for Disability Law Center for facilitation of access to justice and protection of Disability cum human rights of persons with Disabilities. He facilitated Access Computer Technology center (ACT) and provided assistive and mobility equipment for productivity enhancements of persons with Disabilities as well as institution of free transportation in the state owned vehicles for persons with Disabilities.”
“Governor Obiano ensured recruitment of five sign language interpreters, more Deaf teachers, Braille instructors and computer instructors for persons with Disabilities. He established state Disability forum for dialogue between Government and Disability community with a view to providing assessment of and advice on Government policies and programs for persons with Disabilities.”
“Obiano harmonized the programs and promotion of synergy between Disability cluster services, NGOs and government programs for persons with Disabilities; created enabling environment that increases active participation of persons with disabilities in politics; increased awareness on equal access to electoral process for persons with disabilities. He also facilitated regular celebration of international Days of persons with Disabilities; facilitated the formation of cooperative societies for entrepreneurs with disabilities; empowered persons with Disabilities with equipment and tools after acquisition of skills and trade.”
“The present Anambra state government appointed and promoted Judicial officers with Disabilities to the Bench; established rehabilitation centers at Aguleri and Oba with another proposed one at Nawfija in Orumba South LGA. The government renovated and upgraded Special Education Center at Isulo; established rehabilitation center for the mentally challenged at Nteje in Oyi LGA where Akpokuedike donated his salary for the upkeep of the inmates.”
“Anambra state government, apart from offering scholarships to all the students with disabilities at all levels of education, appointed a member of Disability community as a member of State Capital Budget Bilateral Discussion Committee. It issued Executive Directive requiring all projects executed in the State, whether public or private, to be handicapped accessible and involved,” Ezewuzie explained.
Besides, he said the wife of the governor, Dr Eberechukwu Obiano, through her pet project, CAFÉ, provided artificial limbs to over 2000 physically challenged.
“No doubt, Sir Willie Obiano and his wife have encouraged and promoted social wellbeing of persons with disabilities. Recently, Obiano employed newly wedded couples with disabilities,” he added.