Inclusion: Stakeholders Hold Discussions On Osun Disabilities Bill

Byadulawo

Jan 24, 2024

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In a significant push towards setting ground for the implementation of the Osun Disabilities Bill when it’s finally passed, stakeholders from different sectors on Tuesday gathered in Osogbo to discuss better lives for persons with disabilities in Osun State.

The stakeholders engagement, which was midwifed by the Centre for Disability and Inclusion Africa, had participants with diverse knowledge on a panelist section, each contributing expertise and insights into the advancement of inclusive policies.

In his welcome address, the Executive Director of Centre for Disabilities and Inclusion Africa, Mr Yinka Olaito gave a warm welcome to attendees and panelists. Emphasizing the importance of inclusion, he urged everyone present not to leave anybody behind, stressing that each individual possesses untapped potential. The representative highlighted that the objective extends beyond mere charitable efforts; it’s about fostering a culture of inclusion.
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Furthermore, he shed light on the challenges faced by people with disabilities, emphasizing that they are often demeaned and excluded. Drawing attention to government programs, he acknowledged existing initiatives but underscored the need for a more advanced and inclusive approach. With approximately 4 million disabled individuals in the South West region alone, he emphasized the necessity of boldly advocating for rights, creating a lasting impression, and ensuring that the voices of people with disabilities are heard.

The representative articulated a clear purpose for the gathering, calling on stakeholders to unite and deliberate on actions that will benefit the Persons With Disabilities (PWD) community. He stressed the importance of developing a seamless program that facilitates collaboration, ensuring clarity and swift action in addressing the community’s demands. This insightful address set the tone for the meeting, fostering a sense of purpose and unity among the participants.
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Sponsor of the bill at the House of Assembly, Hon. Adewumi Adeyemi led the discussion on the bill, revealing that the House will ensure its passage before the end of the second quarter of 2024.

Adeyemi insisted that the right to good life for persons with disabilities is not an entitlement, but a must, adding that he was inspired by strengths of some persons with disabilities he has encountered in the past.

“Everyone with the right to vote should also have the right to share in the dividends of the government.”

He emphasized the need for equity and a dedicated governmental sector for people with disabilities.

Adeyemi expressed gratitude towards the leadership of the house, acknowledging their instrumental role in facilitating the bill’s journey to the House of Assembly. He highlighted that the bill’s presence in the assembly is a priority, focusing not only on its passage but also on its subsequent implementation.

Anticipating further progress on the bill, the Obokun State Constituency Lawmaker disclosed, “The bill has been expanded to encompass additional elements, and it is slated to be passed in the House of Assembly before the second quarter.”

In his contribution, Publisher of Insight Multi-Links Media, Mr Jare Tiamiyu called creation of a database for PWDs in Osun State.

Tiamiyu, who is also the Executive Director of Insight Initiative for Community and Social Development, enjoined the association to make their activities visible by partnering with media organizations in Osun.

“By now, we need to have a database for all PWDs in Osun State. This is highly necessary. We also need to make the yearnings, aspirations and exploits of the PWDs in Osun visible. Many PWDs are doing great and making their communities proud. This, we at Insight Media have commenced and we want to do more.”

He emphasized the importance of showcasing data on people with disabilities at the local government level and establishing a functional secretariat for enhanced visibility through social media.

He also called on Governor Ademola Adeleke to appoint a Special Adviser on Persons with Disabilities as that will help bring about inclusion in government.

Speaking on the panel, the Chairman of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, Osun State chapter, Mr Stephen Oluwafemi lauded the efforts of Hon. Adeyemi and Jare Tiamiyu for ensuring the bill got to the Assembly.

Oluwafemi said the association has tried several times in the last administrations but no success.

“He has spent money and is kind enough to make this dream a reality. We will continue to appreciate his efforts for what he has been doing for our association and our people.

Mr. Olufemi saud “There is still a long way to go, and we will be fast-tracked. We want to have a database and establish a good relationship with the people around us, giving them the equity impression. We will move closer to the government and the House Assembly, fostering strong relationships for them to understand our plight. Disability clusters will unite, speaking with one voice. We will scrutinize the bill, identify missing gaps, and work to accommodate as many as possible. Tightening security for maximum protection is a priority. Plans include involving the media to publicize the community’s movement, and frequent meetings will be held to navigate our path forward.”

Elizabeth Ishola, the women leader of Osun JONAPWDs shed light on the vulnerability of women with disabilities, citing disparities in healthcare amenities, accessibility, and societal stereotypes.

She said “Women living with disabilities are vulnerable. Disability only makes it worse.” Solutions proposed included tailored programs, training sessions, and orientations to empower women with disabilities, fostering a sense of capability.

PWDs desk officer of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, CSC Khadijat Bakare, General Secretary and Financial Secretary of JONAPWDS, Smith Aghanti and Lanre Olakusibe made valuable contributions at the event.

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