THE need for the country to include the disabled and able alike in its agenda for development was stressed by public office holders, non-governmental organizations and various stakeholders at the 25th Anniversary Public Discuss of The Christ Foundation, held in Ibadan, on Wednesday.
Various speakers on the theme, “Disabilities: Predispositions, Prevention, Management and Rehabilitation, Public Health Policies to Improve Health Care Access”, emphasized the need for the society to highlight the best abilities of the disabled rather than treat them as a peculiar or weak set of people.
Wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, who functioned as a guest speaker, observed that the nation had not sufficiently tapped into the resource of the disabled community in its task of nation-building.
She decried that millions of persons faced various societal ills like s3xual violence, discrimination, bullying and poverty, praying that government, neighbourhood associations, non-governmental organisations and well-meaning individuals advance ways to improve the social well-being of those living with disabilities.
Speaking further, Osinbajo lamented that the nation continued to face the challenge of having facilities for the disabled in buildings and public places.
Also speaking, wife of the governor of Oyo State, Mrs Florence Ajimobi said the society must support and respect the disabled, nurture them, treat them with dignity and include them in its agenda for development.
For the nation not to lose their “great resource”, Ajimobi who was represented by Special Adviser to Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Due Process, Mrs Rose Oyedele, admonished the disabled to contest for public offices across various levels of government.
President, Christ Foundation, Mr Wale Adedeji, in his remarks, prayed for more funding assistance by the government, individuals and corporate organizations in the foundation’s resolve to rehabilitate, provide vocational training, skills development and accommodation for the disabled.
Other speakers at the event were, Executive Director, Sahara Group, Mr Tonye Cole; Chief Responsibility Officer, Let the CP Kids Learn Project, Ms Tobiloba Ajayi; and, Head, Institute of Public Health, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Professor Emeh Owoaje.
While Cole spoke against some members of the society dissing the ability of the disabled, Owoaje called on individuals and NGOs to support the disabled to live the life they desired.
Other guests at the event included co-Chairman, African Newspapers of Nigeria Plc, Rev Mrs Tola Oyediran; former Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor A. B. O. O. Oyediran; Oyo Commissioner for Women Affairs, Community Development, Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs Atinuke Osunkoya; Chairperson, Board of Trustees, Christ Foundation, Mrs P. C. Ajayi-Obe; Ekerin Olubadan of Olubadan land, Oba Abiodun Kola-Daisi, who chaired the event.
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