The executive secretary of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), James Lalu has cautioned the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar to stop fraternizing with people with disabilities ahead of the 2023 elections.
He said when Atiku and the PDP were in power, they paid little or no attention to the plight of people living with disabilities in Nigeria.
Lalu lamented that even currently, the running mate to Atiku who is the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa is yet to sign the disability bill into law in his state.
He stated this at a press briefing on Thursday.
Naija News understands Lalu made the stand known in response to a recent call by the PDP presidential candidate that people living with disabilities in Nigeria should not vote for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2023.
However, Atiku’s call has been rejected with Lalu submitting that the best friend and best president of people living with disabilities in Nigeria is President Muhammadu Buhari.
He added that many APC-controlled states including Plateau, Lagos, Nasarawa, Zamfara, Kogi, Jigawa, and many others have taken steps on the law for people with disabilities, unlike their PDP counterparts.
He said; “During the first and second terms of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and the PDP, the disability community struggled, even when the bill was passed by the national assembly, Atiku and PDP did not sign it into law.
“I can still remember when the disability community went out to protest and called the attention of the then government, the only result we got was that we were tear-gased.”
Buhari Is Our Hero
He continued by saying Buhari made a promise to them and fulfilled it when he became President.
“We will always appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari. He is the best friend of disability community and PWDs.
“When he came to power, he was able to listen to the cries of PWDs. In 2014 in Lafia, Buhari, during his campaign, promised to sign the disability bill into law.
“On January 17, 2019, Buhari signed the Discrimination Against PWDs Prohibition Act. On August 17, he approved my appointment and that of the governing board.
“That marks the beginning of the NCPWDs and here we are. This testifies that Buhari has since commenced the implementation of the act, something Alhaji Atiku and PDP could not do,” Lalu submitted.
PLWD Tackle Okowa, Tambuwal
Speaking further, Lalu charged Atiku to prevail on Okowa to take action on the disability law in Delta State.
In his words, “We also want to remind Governor of Delta, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, that the disability law had not been passed or signed in Delta.
“Also to Aminu Tambulwal, the law was passed in Sokoto state, but he is yet to sign and implement it.
“We want to call the attention of the PDP’s presidential candidate for the 2023 election to focus his energy on calling on the governor of Adamawa to sign the disability bill into law.
“Many states controlled by PDP are yet to domesticate the disability law. The disability community now knows the people that know the road and favour them.”
Buhari Is Our Best President
Lalu went ahead to heap praises on Buhari, describing him not only as their best friend, but also their best president.
He said: “So, we are doing a lot, but we are not happy when we see politicians making bad comments and trying to condemn the government of Buhari that has done so much for us in Nigeria.
“As far as disability community is concerned, Buhari is the best president in the history of the country. He has set a standard and the next government would have to maintain and improve upon it.
“Ordinarily, this should not have attracted our response, but it is very important for us to put the record straight so that every Nigerian would know the truth and the Buhari’s achievements for PWDs.”