Lagos State governor, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, Thursday flagged off the maiden edition of Disability Inclusion Governors Connect Program initiated by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Special Needs and Equal Opportunities (OSSAP).
The flag off ceremony which took place at Lagos State government house, Alausa Ikeja, was attended by the Hon. Commissioner for Youths and Social Development, Mobolaji Ogunlende who represented the governor, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Special Needs and Equal Opportunities, Hon. Mohammed Abba Isa, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Barr. Yusuf Iyodo, Hon. Prisca Nwangwu, Public Relations Liaison Assistant to the SSAP and other dignitaries.
The program, which is a brainchild of SSAP Hon. Abba Isa, is a strategic partnership and engagement with Nigerian Governors to fashion national consensus on disability friendly policies in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
According to the Chief of Staff to the SSAP, Barr. Yusuf Iyodo who represented Hon. Abba Isa, the program seeks to connect with Governors, raise awareness on disability issues, facilitate their compliance with disability norms, provide technical support through the process, rate and induct compliant administrators into the disability friendly Hall of fame, and to continue monitoring their compliance.
Barr. Iyodo noted that the program’s action plan includes disability inclusion audit of the various states, seminars/awareness raising, holding of governors connect conference on disability inclusion geared towards forming a national consensus on disability friendly policies across the States of the federation.
He added that as part of implementation strategy for the success of the program, the OSSAP has provided certain parameters which shall serve as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) through which the 36 States of the federation will be assessed and rated for their Disability Inclusion Compliance.
The parameters for Disability Inclusion Compliance, according to Iyodo, include: Enactment of Disability Law, Setting up of Implementation Agency, Inclusion of Disability Sensitivity in Development Plan, Provision of Disability Responsive Budgeting Across Sectors. Ensuring Disability Sensitive Procurement and Provision of Disability Inclusive Governance.
On the choice of Governor Sanwolu as the premiere launcher, the Chief of Staff to the SSAP explained that the choice was arrived at given that Lagos State is the State of origin of the disability -friendly President Tinubu.
He noted that “the launching is a commitment by the government to abide by the spirit of the program which is disability inclusion, and to join us in the advocacy for other governments to follow suit. Essentially, we expect Lagos to be an ambassador for the program.”
Speaking on behalf of the governor, Mr Ogunlende, stated that the Lagos State government remains committed to working with the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Special Needs and Equal Opportunities to realize the noble objectives of its Disability Inclusion Governors Connect Program. The Governor promised to enlighten and liaise with his brother governors to achieve the objective of the program.
Highpoint of the event included on-the-spot assessment of Lagos State for it’s level of compliance with the set parameters after which Barr. Iyodo, on behalf of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Special Needs and Equal Opportunities, Hon. Abba Isa, declared Lagos State the first State to meet all requirements for Disability Inclusion Compliance in the country.
Barr Iyodo announced that this assessment will be carried out in the remaining States of the federation, while urging other State governors to emulate the exemplary leadership of Lagos to mainstream disability inclusion in all spheres of their governance.
Recall that President Tinubu, in his determination to ensure that every segment of the society is adequately catered to within the ambit of his Renewed Hope Agenda, appointed Hon. Abba Isa as his SSA on Special Needs and Equal Opportunities.
The President tasked the appointee to proactively create avenues of opportunity for inclusion through the inculcation of PWD requirements and perspectives in the policies and programmes of all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of the Federal Government.”
The president has also mandated him to work closely with “sub-national authorities to build a national consensus on PWD-friendly policy and environmental conditions in collaboration with the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD)”.