By Bolaji Buhari
The Deaf Support Group of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State on Tuesday appealed to the governor-elect, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to embrace inclusiveness and accommodate all interests in his administration.
The secretary of the group, Mr Adewale Adeyanju , made the appeal at a news conference in Lagos, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
NAN also reports that Adeyanju’s speech was interpreted by a sign language expert at the news conference organised by the Lagos State Association for the Deaf.
Adeyanju who said that people with disabilities, particularly those with hearing impairments were part of the society, urged the governor-elect to give them a sense of belonging.
He said that the deaf community in the state, particularly the APC’s deaf group, played an important role in the electoral victory of Sanwo-Olu.
The secretary urged the governor-elect to consider members of the deaf community for political appointments.
He said that his members had the competence to contribute their quota to the development of the state just like normal people.
Adeyanju said the deaf community had continually suffered discriminations in the state and urged Sanwo-Olu to create opportunities for them and other people with disabilities.
He commended the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former Gov. Babatunde Fashola and Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode for their strides in the state.
He said that that much was also being expected from Sanwo-Olu by the residents of Lagos state as soon as he assumes office.
“’The incoming government should embrace inclusiveness and practise it to the letter if Lagos State must remain the Centre of Excellence it is known for.
“Virtually, all the programmes and policies must be tailored-made to include the deaf and other categories of people with disabilities.
“’The deaf are homogenous, with one common problem-deafness and inability to hear as well as lack assess to information as at when due.
“The problem of language further limits the capability for some deaf people to express themselves clearly.
“Due to this, the deaf are always overlooked when it comes to sharing and distribution of resources, privileges and positions in any community.
“’We are appealing to the incoming administration to recognise that the deaf community has capabilities despite their disabilities.
“Sanwo-Olu should give us a sense of belonging in his administration and see to our needs,” he said.
Adeyanju also appealed to Gov.-elect Sanwo-Olu to provide jobs and housing for his members.
He said these were part of the major challenges confronting the deaf community and advised Sanwo-Olu to evolve programmes and policies that would address them.
Adeyanju added that many members of the deaf community did not have access to education because of their peculiar challenge and urged Sanwo-Olu to promote special education for the deaf.
He also urged the incoming administration to employ interpreters in hospitals, courts and other public places to enable the deaf communicate with other people.
“’We commend the state government for establishing the Office of the Disability Affairs to cater for the needs of people with disabilities.
“’However, we believe the office should be strengthened to do much more and give official roles to people with disabilities.
“’We appeal to Sanwo-Olu to empower the office and employ there more people with disabilities to run its affairs for better service delivery,” he said.
Also, the chairman of the group, Mr Fatai Onifade, in his address said members should mobilise themselves across the state to ensure the electoral victory of Gov.-elect Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat because they believed in them.
He urged the duo not to neglect the deaf community after they would have assumed office on May 29.
Onifade promised that his members would continue to contribute their quota to the development of the state.