Epelle stated that the President’s dedication to incorporating individuals with disabilities into his cabinet would not only positively impact millions of lives but also inspire a transformative change in society.
By Musa Aliyu, Abuja
The disability community, represented by TAF Africa, expressed their plea to President Bola Tinubu on Thursday, requesting appointments in his cabinet.
Amb Jake Epelle, the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of TAF Africa, conveyed this message during a press conference through an open letter addressed to the President. He emphasized the importance of including qualified Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in the cabinet, highlighting their status as citizens.
Epelle stated that the President’s dedication to incorporating individuals with disabilities into his cabinet would not only positively impact millions of lives but also inspire a transformative change in society. Therefore, appointing persons with disabilities to the cabinet would symbolize the President’s commitment to equality and social justice, fostering a fair, balanced, and prosperous Nigeria for everyone.
The letter reads in part, “TAF Africa writes you this open letter as a concerned organization that advocates for the rights and recognition of persons with disabilities in Nigeria.
“We strongly urge you to prioritize the inclusion of persons with disabilities in your cabinet appointments, thereby fostering an inclusive and representative government.
“It is an unfortunate reality that persons with disabilities in our society often face significant barriers to accessing basic rights and opportunities.
“Despite the progress made in recent years, we continue to witness the marginalization and exclusion of this significant population.
“As the leader of our great nation, you have the power to change this narrative and make a resounding statement about the values and potential of persons with disabilities.
“By Including persons with disabilities in your cabinet, you would not only ensure their representation in decision-making processes but also harness their unique perspectives and expertise.
“The experiences and insights of persons with disabilities can greatly contribute to the development and implementation of policies that address the specific needs and challenges faced by the community.
“Their inclusion would bring about more comprehensive and effective governance, fostering a society that truly upholds the principles of equality, diversity, and social justice.”
The letter also contained some recommendations to Mr President, “To achieve this, we appeal that you consider the following recommendations: Actively seek out qualified and competent Persons with disabilities who possess the skills, expertise, and experience required for your cabinet positions.
“Establish a transparent and inclusive selection process that ensures equal opportunities for persons with disabilities to apply and compete for positions.
“Collaborate with relevant disability organizations, advocacy groups, and experts to identify suitable candidates and ensure their smooth integration into the cabinet.
“Provide necessary support and accommodations to facilitate the effective participation of persons with disabilities in their roles.
“Encourage other public and private sector organizations to follow suit and promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in their leadership positions.
“Invest in disability awareness and sensitivity training for all government officials and employees to foster a culture of inclusivity and eliminate discrimination.”
According to him, two State Governors have assured appointments for PWDs into their cabinets, therefore, said the 36 State Governors are to follow suite in appointing PWDs into their cabinets.
“We urge you and thirty-six (36) state governors to take immediate action in addressing this critical issue by actively seeking out qualified persons with disabilities to serve in your cabinet as Ministers, Heads of Parastatals, Ambassadors, and Commissioners”, the letter added.
However, he (Epelle) also said there will be capacity building of PWDs appointed into federal and state cabinets, and he would ensure they perform, because the disability community do not want to fail, but if any of its members fail to perform they will be removed from the cabinet.