All-rights Foundation Africa, formerly known as The Albino Foundation (TAF) has urged the incoming administrations at all levels to promote inclusion in government by recruiting people with disabilities into different positions in their cabinet and allowing them to play active roles in policy making. The group’s chief executive officer, Ambassador Jakes Ekpelle, stated this in
All-rights Foundation Africa, formerly known as The Albino Foundation (TAF) has urged the incoming administrations at all levels to promote inclusion in government by recruiting people with disabilities into different positions in their cabinet and allowing them to play active roles in policy making.
The group’s chief executive officer, Ambassador Jakes Ekpelle, stated this in during a press briefing on Wednesday, demanding that PWDs be given the authority to assume important posts in government such as ministers, special advisers, and heads of prominent parastatals.
Mr. Ekpelle noted that the 2023 election has already opened doors for the PWD community and that some of them were encouraged to run for elected positions across the country. He added that, while none of the PWDs who ran for office were successful, the process served as a wake-up call to the government to ensure their representation in decision-making and policy implementation.
He expressed his displeasure with the federal government’s failure to include people with disabilities on the presidential transition committee, explaining that if they had been included, the social stigma associated with them would have been lifted, setting a good example for the incoming administration.
Mr. Ekpelle also urged PWDs who had run for elective office but were unsuccessful to keep improving their competence and capacity because their appointment to positions in government will only be based on their capacity to bring about social change.
Additionally, he urged all labour employers to adhere to Section 29 of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018, which mandates that all organizations must have at least 5% of their employees with disabilities. He claimed that this would put an end to discrimination against PWDs in the nation.
The statement partly reads, “Though none of the engaged PWD candidates won the polls, their willingness to contest is a strong message that persons with disabilities are capable of contesting for elections in their various states and at the national level and will be willing to perform when given the opportunity.
“With the end of the 2023 general elections and the emergence of elected individuals, an opportunity to drive disability inclusion and strengthen the political voices of persons with disabilities in Nigeria’s political process has been birthed. These elected individuals have a duty to entrench disability inclusion in their governance by making their political appointments disability inclusive. By being appointed as ministers, commissioners, heads of parastatals, special advisers, etc, persons with disabilities are empowered to take their place alongside other citizens in affecting wide-ranging policies as it affects disability inclusion.
“As it is said “Nothing About Us Without Us” relies solely on the principle of participation. No policy should be decided by any representative without the full and direct participation of members of the group affected by that policy, hence the need for disability inclusion in every sphere of governance.
“We wish to express our disappointment that despite the disability inclusion interventions at the national level, the transition committee of the president-elect has no representation of the community of persons with disabilities. This could have been a unique opportunity to break down social stigmas by ensuring that persons with disabilities appear alongside other citizens as active participants in the transition process of the president-elect.
“As the world beams its torchlight on disability inclusion in electoral processes, we call on the President-elect, Governor-elect, and all elected individuals in the thirty-six (36) states of the federation including the federal capital territory to take the opportunity of the vast awareness and global interventions available to collaborate and commit to driving disability inclusion in their governance, by appointing persons with disabilities to become political office holders in their respective states.
“We also want to encourage all elected individuals to prioritize the appointment of persons with disabilities who contested for positions during the 2023 general elections but could not make it at the polls. We wish to emphasize that political appointments of persons with disabilities should not be based just on their disability status but on their capacity and competence to drive positive change in public office irrespective of their disability status”.