The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) has paid a tribute to Barrister Danlami Umaru Basharu, a person with disability who, died on the 7th of June, 2023.
In a statement released on Monday, the Executive Director, Mr David Anyaele, while traveling down memory lane, narrating how he came across the deceased and their interactions before his death, praised the barrister for being an inspiration to many, describing him as a detribalized Nigerian.
“It was at a Roundtable on the Implementation of the Electoral Act in Relation to Persons with Disabilities organized by PLAC at Abuja on February 8, 2023 that I met Mr. Danlami Bashiru for the last time. At the event I was moved by his presence, and I used the opportunity to eulogize him and challenged participants to always respect and honour him at any event organized to discuss disability issues.
“In fact, the event provided me an opportunity to share with participants how Mr. Bashiru dragged me to the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) in 2005 after attending CCD’s then Amputees Rehabilitation Foundation event on HIV/AIDS and Persons with Disabilities in Lagos with a request to help him build JONAPWD.
“Danlami was my leader in the disability movement. He pulled me to work with him to secure the first ever grant to JONAPWD by Pact Nigeria on political participation of persons with disabilities in 2007. That project took us to Ilorin Kwara State where we held an Interactive Session Between Politicians And Persons With Disabilities Tagged “Politicians Faced The Disabled’ Held At Kwara Radio, Ilorin, From 27th To 29th March 2007. The project afforded us the opening to engage Prof. Morris Iwu, the then Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on access and participation of persons with disabilities in the electoral process. That was how I met most of the leaders of organisations of persons with disabilities from the four corners of Nigeria.
“Mr. Basharu was an inspiration and a detribalized Nigerian. Through his inspirational leadership I was inspired to appreciate and got involved in the campaign for the passage of the National Disability Law. It was Danlami that exposed and compelled me to stand and push relentlessly for the passage of disability laws at the national and subnational levels. As the President of JONAPWD, he used his rich social capital to mobilize support for the emancipation of the disability community in Nigeria. In 2018, when officials of the Federal Ministry of Justice requested for further clarifications on the provisions of the then disability bill, I had to fly to Abuja Mr. Danlami to lead other PWD lawyers and development experts for the high level engagement in which we came out convinced that we have secured the support of the Federal Ministry of Justice.
“Barr. Danlami Basharu was a wealthy, but very humble man. I learnt that he was last December decorated by the Nigerian government with the national honour of Member of the Order of the Niger, MON, and until recently was Chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UNCRPD. With an intimidating CV, Danlami Basharu attended Pacelli School for the Blind and Partially Sighted Children, Surulere, Lagos; King’s College, Lagos; University of Wales, Aberystwyth (B.A. (Ed./History, Hons.); Durham University Business School, (MBA); Trinity College, Cambridge University (B.A., Law, LL.M and MA); and Nigerian Law School from where he was called to the Bar in October 1987. Yet, he never used his wealth to oppress others.”
Anyaele admitted that “the death of Danlami is a big blow to the international disability movement and Nigeria in particular.
“While it is too difficult to say goodbye to Barr. Danlami and to come to terms that I will not hear his gentle voice as he calls me Mr. David, I pray God to grant his family, loved ones, and the Disability community in Nigeria in particular the fortitude to accept what we cannot change.”