Access to Leadership in Nigeria; Any Hope for Persons with Disabilities?

The International Day for Persons with Disabilities was first declared by the United Nations in 1992. The day was create awareness into the issues that hindered the social , economic and political development of persons with disabilities. Also, it was meant to advance their rights and wellbeing.

Persons with disabilities usually suffers marginalisation and are often subjected to discrimination in terms of access to social amenities and opportunities to improve their capacity so as to demand for their rights. For instance Nigeria has over 25 million people with disabilities however only 3% are educated. They are generally considered to be the “poorest of the poor”.
The situation is so horrible for women with disabilities as they faced with multiple forms of discrimination even within disability community.

This theme for this year’s IDPD is Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world seeks to promote the inclusion of disabled people in political participation. This will lead to an inclusive developed society that is accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.

Nigeria ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007 and its operational protocols in 2011, January 2019 marked a giant landmark for the Nigerian disability community as the Nigerian government signed the Disability Bill into law. Section 30.1 of the bill specified that persons with disabilities should be involved fully in political process while point 2 mandated the government to providing an enabling environment for their inclusion.

It is therefore imperative that the government ensures that they ensure the full implementation of this section of the bill. In fact we can draw lessons from Uganda, where there is a 5% reservation of seats in the Parliament to enable the participation of persons with disabilities. With this, our society will experience growth and development.

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