Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general election, says persons with disabilities (PWDs) deserve a better nation and improved standard of living.
In a statement issued on Sunday to commemorate the International Day for Disabled Persons, Obi said bad governance in Nigeria creates undue hardship which greatly impacts PWDs.
If well cared for, Obi said PWDs can contribute to nation-building.
“As the world commemorates the International Day of Persons with Disabilities today, I join other compassionate Nigerians in identifying with and celebrating these differently-abled persons in our midst,” Obi said.
“I join in demanding a better nation for them as fellow compatriots, living with disabilities not by their making.
“Living with a disability should not be a death sentence, or society stigmatization, but should be a platform that calls up the humanity in us as their brothers and sisters.
“It’s unfortunate that in our clime where good governance is hard to come by leading to needless hardship, those living with disabilities in our midst feel the pinch more as life becomes more difficult for them.
“The World Health Organisation reports that about 35.1 million persons are living with disabilities in Nigeria.
“Such a significant number of people must be cared for by the government so that they can live their lives in full, and contribute positively to the development of the nation.
“In caring for persons living with disabilities, the government must ensure that they have access to healthcare and education, which are not only critical for national development, but will ensure that they thrive and fully explore their potentials.”
The former Anambra governor encouraged Nigerians to “break all barriers of discrimination” against those living with disabilities.
“The government should also ensure social inclusion for persons living with disabilities. In keeping with the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, all public organizations are to reserve at least five percent of employment opportunities for these persons,” he said.
“This will ensure that they are adequately represented in both governance and the public sector.
“Every Nigerian has the potential to contribute to nation-building and we will leave nobody behind in our journey to a new Nigeria.”