Chief Ayuba Gufwan, the Director Mobilisation, Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) Directorate of the the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) has said that its presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu will run an all-inclusive and non discriminatory goverment if elected in 2023.
Gufwan, who is also the Executive Director, Beautiful Gate Handicapped People Center, Jos, said this at a press briefing on Monday in Jos.
Gufwan was reacting to the recent comments credited to Amb. Umar Damagum, the Deputy National Chairman, North, of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP).
He alleged that Damagum made some derogatory comments referring to Tinubu, adding that the comment also had some direct effects on PWDs across the country.
”This briefing is to express my deep displeasure over the reckless, irresponsible, callous and heightened discriminatory comments by one Amb Umar Damagum, the Deputy National Chairman, North of PDP on PWDs against the person and dignity of the Sen. Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the APC and the millions of PWDs, at its rally recently held in Maiduguri
”While addressing the crowd at the rally Damagum made inter alia, absurd, unprintable, weird and disgusting comments about Tinubu alleged health challenges and likened it to that of PWDs.
”When translated to English from his Hausa narrative, he said ‘Let me ask, between a cripple and one that has legs, which one do you prefer? You are seeing somebody that can’t stand, would you allow yourselves to be deceived into voting a cripple? It is time for you to tell yourselves the truth, and don’t allow yourselves to be deceived’
”The crude and foul language to say the least, very offensive as it is, portrays those who are crippled or living with disabilities as totally unfit and improper to be allowed to be elected into public office.
”No PWD and even non PWDs created himself or herself rather nature and other man made factors made them to be under such conditions, therefore it is sad that a party will make such unpalatable mockery of the condition of bonafide citizens it seeks to govern and our constitution which is our groundnorm frowns at any iota of discrimination in any form and substance”,he said.
Gufwan, maintained that such statement presents the the PDP as a party that has crude hatred for PWDs and unfit to be voted for into any position in the country.
The director, who sited example with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who became President of America on wheelchair, said that Tinubu has the mental capacity and ability to move Nigeria forward.
”By making such reckless statement, the PDP showed ignorance and hatred and also forgetting that many decades ago, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a PWD served efficiently and successfully as the President of America.
”This has set a precedent that PWDs can be elected and entrusted to hold public office as much as they meet the constitutional requirements and have the mental capacity to occupy the office.
”Physical disability is no barrier known to our constitution for any political pursuit to any office and as Tinubu doth say, the 2023 election is about who has the mental capacity, intellect, and political sagacity to govern this great country, to inspire hope and lead it to prosperity.
”The PDP and opposition are advised to stick to issue based campaign and realities of the times other than go on uncivilised attacks on personalities and its citizens”, he advised.
Gufwan, who promised to take legal action against Damagum and his party, called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to investigate the matter.
He also called on all PWDs in Nigeria to vote Tinubu in 2023, insisting that he is only candidate with a defined blue print that would solve their plights.
”By this, I call on millions of PWDs across the nation to have a total rethink and outrightly reject the PDP as a party during the 2023 election because it has overtly shown its disgust and contempt for PWDs and it’s obvious PWDs will not have any place in its Government if elected.
”That is in contrast to the APC which made history when President Mohammadu Buhari signed the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities Act and appointed a PWD as it’s Executive Secretary.
”Also, it is worthy of note that, the APC is the only party which created a directorate for PWDs in it’s Presidential campaign council which is replicated at the states level accordingly.
”While it is not yet Uhuru, nonetheless, PWDs have reasons to support Tinubu and the APC in next year’s election as they have shown in words and deeds that they will run an inclusive government which does not discriminate on the basis of disability,”he said.