The Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat Independent Campaign Council (ICC) met with the People Living with Disabilities (PLWD) and Arewa communities on Wednesday in preparation for Saturday’s Governorship and House of Assembly elections.
The Arewa group in Ikeja, the Arewa Christians Community in Lagos, and the PLWD were all represented at the engagement, which was held at the ICC Secretariat in Ikeja GRA, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Speaking to the groups, Mr. Tayo Ayinde, the Director General of the ICC, urged them to cast a large number of ballots on Saturday in favour of the reelection of Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat as well as other APC candidates.
Ayinde, who is the Chief of Staff to Sanwo-Olu, said that the council was glad to receive the groups, assuring them that the governor would address all their complaints and teething challenges.
The Chief of staff in company of other APC leaders, who engaged the groups on various issues affecting them, said that after the elections, the government through his office would deepen engagement and provide a solution to their challenges.
Ayinde explained that the PLWD had complained that they were not being carried along in government and that positions meant for them were being occupied by others..
“All their complaints will be addressed as soon as Gov. Sanwo-Olu is re-elected. By the Grace of God, I have given them the assurance that their complaints and problems will be addressed,” he said.
The DG said that the groups had assured the ICC that they would be voting for Sanwo-Olu and all the APC candidates in the polls.
Ayinde, who educated the special people in the state on how to vote on Saturday, urged them to use their index finger, as against thumb, to reduce cases of void votes.
Speaking, Prince Rotimi Adeniyi, President, PLWD, Lagos state, said the group was on a solidarity visit to the DG, ICC to show support for the APC in the forthcoming elections.
Commending the state government for its continuous support towards PLWD, Adeniyi said that the government, however, needed to do more.
“People living with disabilities are stakeholders in the state because we have the right to vote and we want to fulfill our constitutional right,” he said
Expressing confidence that PLWD would vote for the re-election of Sanwo-Olu, Adeniyi said that most of them were APC members, because the party had created sports for the physically-challenged in the state.
“In all fairness, we have enjoyed this government, though it might not be to the satisfactory level. We need to reach out to others. I have no doubt that the PWD will deliver,” he added.
Adeniyi said that the group was also at the vanguard of promoting inclusive governance to prevent people seeing PWD as beggars.
He said that there should be quotas for PWD in all sectors of the economy.
“We know that the Lagos State Government pays attention to any issue of PWD, so we need to reciprocate this, we need to come out and ensure that the next election is better for APC in Lagos,” he said.
He listed challenges affecting PWD to include lack of employment, rape, suicide, dejection, discrimination among others.
“If we are not financially comfortable, we will become a problem and menace to the society. So employment is key.
“This does not necessarily mean to be in office, it can come in form of empowerment and other ways of engaging the PWD.
“Give us a sense of belonging, make us human. Let us have a voice and when issues come, address them. Do not let us feel neglected.
“Whenever issues of employment come in, the qualified PWD should be employed. We have recorded multiple cases of rape and people take advantage of them all in the name of giving them help.”
Adeniyi, however, assured PWD that with the engagement, there is a ray of light at the end of the tunnel for the physically challenged in the state.
Speaking with NAN, Mrs Abiola Rahmon, a physically challenged athlete with the Lagos State, lamented that the state had not paid them their grants since 2021.
“Up till date, they don’t give us our grants. I had to turn to become a bus conductor to fend for myself.
“With my disability, LASTMA officers also frustrate me a lot. They impounded my bus and towed it to their office in Oshodi,” Rahmon, the table tennis athlete, who participated in the Asoju Oba Competition’s Table Tennis Special Sports said.
Also speaking, Alhaji Yusuf Mohammed, a representative of Arewa group, Ikeja said all members of the group were ready to cast their votes for Sanwo-Olu and all APC candidates.
He urged the governor and other elected officials to remember the Arewa community in Lagos after their victory. (NAN)