The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) viewed with sadness thedamp and dismal reception given to our glorious Team Nigeria to the London 2012Paralympic Games by the Federal Government on Tuesday, which is unbefitting ofa team that brought glory to the nation against the backdrop of the recentdepressing outing by the able-bodied compatriots. Given that they won a basketof 13 medals, comprising 6 gold, 5 silver and 2 bronze while making four worldrecords, the President’s unsavory body language in not sending even oneofficial of the National Sports Commission to receive the Team Nigeria at theairport on their arrival, smacks of insensitivity, which cannot be erased evenas the Presidency announced that the Paralympic Team would be received togetherwith the Falconets at the State House on Saturday. We believe that these wheelchairsports giants are heroes in their own right, and deserve special attention.
Furthermore, with a population that runs into tens ofmillions, people with disabilities are a neglected constituency in our greatnation, and this is not supposed to be so. In other advanced democracies,schools and other public buildings are made accessible to these citizens;walkways of roads have ramps, public conveniences have special features, andpublic vehicles have instrument of access. Sadly enough, even when the NationalAssembly, in 2010, sponsored and harmonized a bill to catalyze the culture ofcaring for these physically challenged citizens, President Goodluck Jonathanhas not deemed it important to sign it into law up till this moment.
We would love to put it on record that our great party witnessedwith joy, the exhilarating performance of The Nigerian Team at the justconcluded London Paralympic. This has further confirmed our belief in theindomitability of the human spirit, a driving philosophy which had urged usinto accommodating the physically challenged citizens of our great nation inour party’s internal political process. With a deep conviction that physicaldisabilities are not a handicap to one’s service to his or her country, we havea policy of encouraging the physically challenged by offering them freenomination forms and sponsoring them in elections.
The ANPP therefore calls on President Jonathan to sign thePeople With Disability [PWD] Bill into law as a matter of urgency, if not forany other reason, but as a reward to the Nigerians with disabilities who wentto London, saw and conquered the world, and by this singular outing, wiped awaythe shame of our nation, as Nigeria finally appeared with other victoriouscountries on the medal table at London.
Hon Emma Eneukwu