The Executive Director, Beautiful Gate Handicapped People’s Centre, Jos and Director, Mobilisation for People with Disabilities (PWDs) in the Tinubu-Shettima Campaign Organisation, Chief Ayuba Burki Gufwan, has urged People with Disabilities in Nigeria not to vote for the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, in 2023, citing derogatory comments made by the Deputy National Chairman of PDP North, Amb Umar Damagum, against the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Gufwan accused Damagun of describing Tinubu as a cripple during the PDP campaign rally in Maiduguri and said the comment is an insult against people with disabilities in Nigeria.
Chief Gufwan disclosed this during a press briefing in Jos on Monday and called on the Inspector General of Police, National Human Rights Commission and the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities to take up the matter and prosecute Amb Damagum and the PDP for the act of insensitive discriminatory comment against bonafide Nigerians and non-Nigerians living with Disabilities.
“While addressing the crowd at the rally, Amb Umar made inter alia, absurd, unprintable, weird and disgusting comments about Sen. Bola Tinubu alleged health challenges and likened it to that of PWDs. When translated to English from his Hausa narratives, It states as follows: ‘Let me ask, between a cripple and one that has legs, which one do you prefer? You are seeing somebody that can’t stand, would you allow yourselves to be deceived into voting for a cripple? It is time for you to tell yourselves the truth, and don’t allow yourselves to be deceived.”
He insisted that the people with disabilities will go to court to seek enforcement of their fundamental human rights if nothing is done against the PDP chieftain.
“By this act of the PDP, I call on millions of PWDs across the nation to have a total rethink and outrightly reject the PDP as a party during the 2023 election as the PDP has overtly shown its disgust and contempt for PWDs and it’s obvious PWDs will not have any place in their Government if elected in contrast to the APC which made history when President Buhari signed the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities Act and appointed a PWD as it’s Executive Secretary.
“Also, it is worthy of note that, the APC is the only party which created a directorate for PWDs in its Presidential campaign council which is replicated at the state level accordingly. While it is not yet Uhuru, nonetheless, PWDs have reasons to support Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the APC in next year’s election as they have shown in words and deeds that they will run an inclusive government which does not discriminate on the basis of disability.
“No PWD and nay, even non-PWDs created himself or herself rather nature and other man-made factors made them to be under such conditions, therefore it is sad that a party will make such unpalatable mockery of the condition of bonafide citizens it seeks to govern. Our constitution which is our grundnorm frowns at any iota of discrimination in any form and substance.”
He explained that the ungodly negative view of the PWDs by Damagum and the PDP contravenes the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act which prohibits all forms of discrimination on grounds of disability.
“As the APC Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu doth say, the 2023 election is about who has the mental capacity, intellect, and political sagacity to govern this great country, to inspire HOPE and lead it to prosperity. The PDP and opposition are advised to stick to an issues-based campaign and realities of the times other than going on uncivilized attacks on personalities and its citizens,” he stated.