By Diana Omueza
Center for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), an non-governmental organisation (NGO), has condemned the exclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) at the recently-held Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) covenant and in its election of the party’s National Executive Committee.
Mr David Anyaele, the Executive Director of CCD, made the allegation in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to him, “It is incomprehensible to note the none inclusion of persons with disabilities in the leadership positions of the People’s Democratic Party in the just-concluded convention of the party in Abuja.
“It is unacceptable to also note that out of the 21 elective positions of the National Executive Committee of the party, none is set aside for persons with disabilities neither is there any position for PWDs leader in the party hierarchy.
“This is a sad reminder of the pains and agony the party caused the community of disabled persons during its 16 years reign where the PDP-led government denied assent to the National Disability Bill.
“An important Bill, which is now an Act that provides for the full Integration of persons with disabilities into the Society and provides for the establishment of the National Commission to ensure that education, healthcare, social, economic and civil rights of PWDs are catered for,” he said.
Anyaele said sadly, the non-inclusion of a disability leader or a PWDs office in the PDP constitution and the deliberate exclusion PWDs in the party’s elective positions were bad pointers to the disability community and to Nigerians.
He called on the PDP leadership to take appropriate measure to implement section 30 of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018.
According to him, the section provides for the full inclusion of citizens with disabilities in a party’s elective positions.
“PDP should include the state and national disability leadership positions in their party constitution.
“This is to ensure inclusion of persons with disabilities in the party structure as obtainable in the constitution of other parties.
“PDP leaders should know that the days of tokenism and charity-based approach to addressing disability issues in Nigeria has gone since President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018,” he said
He said the CCD would continue to enhance access to justice and political participation of young, women and elderly persons with disabilities through engagement with political parties, and stakeholders