At a National Strategic Discourse in Abuja, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman called for the urgent need to include Persons With Disability (PWD) in Nigerian governance.
The event highlighted the unique impacts of issues like climate change and insecurity on PWD and the importance of representing their voices in decision-making processes.
In a compelling call to action, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, the Director-General of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), emphasized the urgent need to include Persons With Disability (PWD) in Nigerian governance at a National Strategic Discourse held in Abuja.
At the event, attended by various stakeholders and organized by NILDS, Prof. Sulaiman, a former Minister of Planning, criticized the stark absence of PWD representation among Nigerian lawmakers. “Not one of our senators or representatives is a Person With Disability,” he lamented, highlighting the dire need for inclusivity in governance.
Prof. Sulaiman stressed that issues such as climate change and insecurity have unique impacts on PWD, which are often overlooked. He urged participants to consider the challenges faced by PWD in the context of these critical issues and to propose new legislation to the National Assembly that would address their concerns.
The discourse aimed to promote PWD inclusion in governance and echoed Prof. Sulaiman’s sentiments. Mr. Adebowale Olorunmola, the Country Representative of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, called for amending the Disability Act to better represent PWD.
Ms. Lois Auta, founder of the Cedar Seed Foundation, urged Nigeria to follow the examples of Uganda and Spain by including PWD in parliament. She emphasized the importance of representation to ensure PWD’s voices are heard and their rights protected.
Ms. Adetoun Agboola, Special Adviser to the Governor of Ekiti state on Disability Affairs, emphasized the need to start inclusion from primary schools and focus on children with disabilities. “Empowering and supporting children with disabilities today will lead to stronger representation and inclusivity in the future,” she said.
As Nigeria moves towards a more inclusive society, the call for PWD representation in governance grows louder. The National Strategic Discourse serves as a reminder that true democracy can only be achieved when everyone, regardless of ability, has a seat at the table.
In the words of Prof. Sulaiman, “We must strive for a Nigeria where the voices of Persons With Disability are not just heard but amplified, and their unique perspectives are valued and considered in the decision-making process.”