From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, on Disability Matters, Chuks Ezewuzie, has urged those in authority to provide scholarships and employment for people with physical impediments, rather than offer sympathy or throw money at them.
Ezewuzie, who addressed newsmen in Abuja, argued that dishing out money would reduce the disabled to economic liabilities when they could put their hands and brains to good use.
He boasted that no state governor had prioritised the wellbeing of people living with disability like Governor Willie Obiano, in terms of job creation and education.
We call people with different abilities instead of calling them people with disability. The office of the governor on disability matters is to encourage other governors in Nigeria to emulate Willie Obiano,’ he said.
‘The plight of persons with disabilities is unemployment and lack of education which the governor has been able to address.
‘After encouraging persons with disability to go to school they go, come back and never gain employment and they go back to the street begging for a living the problem is that when people see persons with disability the first thing that comes to their mind is that this is a beggar.
‘The attitude we get in the society is the stereotyping. People with disability are seen as beggars. If we can change our mindset that the person with disability is a fellow citizen and can contribute to the development of the society he can pay his tax make a make meaningful contribution we should give them the same opportunity we give to every other person.
‘The first thing governor Willie Obiano did was to employ the persons with disability into government civil service workforce. As at today we have over 200 persons with disability employed by the governor since he assumed office.
‘When people talk about people with disability during electioneering process but after election they forget about them.
‘Governor Willie Obiano is not like that; he keeps his promises, he has empowered persons with disability to earn a dignified living no more hanging on the streets.
‘The governor has made it mandatory that if a person with disability has the required qualification to gain access to after school the person automatically has employment.
‘When you mobilize the people they have power. This is the first time a person with disability is being a member of the executive cabinet,’ he said.