Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji has advocated better and improved living standard for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) noting that God has not created anyone to be useless or without potentials.
Governor Oyebanji, who stated this on Sunday at an event commemorating this year’s International Day for Persons With Disabilities held at Jibowu Hall, Government House, Ado Ekiti, assured persons with disabilities that his government would continue to make policies that would bring them at par with other citizens as regards fulfilling their God-given talents and potentials.
He added that his administration would not relent in prioritizing their welfare.
The event which was attended by Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Adeoye Aribasoye; his deputy, Rt. Hon. Bolaji Olagbaju; Secretary to the State Government, Dr Habibat Adubiaro; members of State Executive Council and House of Assembly has as theme: “united in action to rescue and achieve the SDG’s for, with and by persons with disabilities”,
The Governor noted that the remarkable and landmark improvement in the lives of Children in the Government Special schools has shown that his administration had not made mistake by taking the affairs of persons with disabilities out of the Ministry of Education and creating the office of Special Education and Social Inclusion.
He highlighted some of the interventions in the special schools to include, several ongoing projects such as renovation of hostels and classrooms, adding that his administration has given approval for employment of 17 therapists and 91 permanent support staff which may include qualified people with disabilities and single mothers with children with disabilities.
The Governor added that his government has also developed a new curriculum for pupils in the Special Class to address their special needs and prepare them for independent adulthood.
Governor Oyebanji called for renewed efforts to create a fully inclusive world where everyone must work together to break down barriers and build a just society that values every individual’s unique perspectives and potentials.
“When it gets to the issue of Persons with Disability (PWDs), I get a little emotional about it and as long as I remain the Governor of this State, we are in it together. Because, my Bible tells me, we are fearfully and wonderfully made and we are made in the image of God and God doesn’t make mistake, so in whatever form God has created us, its for a purpose and God will use me to achieve those purposes in your lives.
“I don’t agree that anybody is created useless but I agree that if you don’t have the right support, you don’t have the right access to opportunities, it may be challenging to fulfil your potentials, so, the duty of any government is to create opportunities for those of us that don’t have access to those opportunities so that we can fulfil those God-given potentials in all of us.
“It is vital to support people with disabilities (PWDs) by creating employment opportunities for them. Advocacy for fair job advancement and placement of PWDs has been quite effective in this government. As a result, Mr Victor Olowokere was recently appointed to the admin cadre after successfully going through the rigorous process.
“To improve the inclusion of people with deafness in essential interaction within the office space, all civil servants are currently having sign language lessons online.
“Across the community, particularly in schools, we have several ongoing projects to improve the lives of children with disabilities. These projects include the renovation of hostels and classrooms, approval of 17 therapists and 91 permanent support staff for employment, including people with disabilities and single mothers with children with disabilities. We have also developed a new curriculum for pupils in the Special Class to address their needs and prepare them for independent adulthood.” The Governor added.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Education and Social Inclusion, Mrs Adetoun Agboola expressed her appreciation to Governor Oyebanji for his consistent support for people with disabilities noting that the Governor’s support is a rare gesture.
Mrs Agboola commended the unwavering commitment of the Governor towards promoting their welfare and advancing their rights through various initiatives and policies that his administration has put in place to improve the lives of persons with disabilities.
She highlighted the various initiatives of the government towards this direction to include employment opportunities to education and training, as well as sensitisation and awareness campaigns.
The Special Adviser called on government to create a more inclusive society where everyone has equal opportunities to thrive as people with disabilities face numerous challenges in their daily lives, including discrimination, lack of access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities, stressing the need for a united effort to achieve an egalitarian society of equal opportunities.
There were goodwill messages from the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt Hon Adeoye Aribasoye; Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Peju Babafemi and the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Dayo Apata( SAN) among others.
The event featured dance, quiz competition, choreography, panel discussions, and award presentation.
During the Panelists session which featured persons with disabilities, parents and government officials, it was agreed that the three special schools at Ikere, Ido and Ikoro had witnessed tremendous increase in enrolment since the inception of Governor Oyebanji one year ago.
The panelists opined that the perception of residents of the state about special schools has changed and many parents have been encouraged to register their children and wards in the schools.
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