Mr Ishola Gbenga
Nigerian Media has been called upon to continue to set good agenda that will protect the interest of People Living With (PLWD) in order to allow them realize the good potentials inherent in them.
An Information Officer with the Kwara State Ministry of Information and Communication, Mr Ishola Gbenga made the call on Tuesday in his lecture at the annual event organized for people living with disability held at the Premises of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Ilorin.
Mr Gbenga whose keynote address was titled “The Role of Media in Realizing the Potentials in People Living with Disability” , emphasised that Nigeria media should be seen as a viable tool for the promotion of good living for the PLWD.
He advocated for an unfettered right for every person with a disability such as right to education without discrimination, adding that they should be entitled to free education up to the secondary school level.
He suggested that all public schools; secondary or tertiary shall be run to be inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities, accordingly, pointing out that every school should have trained personnel and special facilities that will cater for the needs of PLWD.
He commended the leadership of the NTA for ensuring that the lots of people living with disability in the society is sustained in our national consciousness through the focus on the roles expected of media professionals in making life more bearable for PLWD in Nigeria.
He lamented that most media houses in Nigeria are yet to understand this truth, hence the in-house style of under reporting the potentials embedded in people living with disability, as well as failure to perform its watchdog function have adverse effect on the lives of these innocent members of the Society.
Mr Gbenga who is also a public speaker, called on other media houses in the country to take a cue from NTA’s exceptional passion for the well-being of PLWD so as to collectively create a serene and egalitarian society where all will be treated equally without minding whose ox is gored.
He advised PLWD not to lose hope but have a strong belief in their potentials, saying that happenings around us in Nigeria and beyond show clearly that there is ability in disability.
He sited several examples of PLWD in Nigeria who have made it to the top of their chosen careers, saying that inaccurate must be accurate if there is endurance and untainted determination.
Gbenga said his privileged to be part of the team that developed a 5-year Strategic Plan for Rehabilitation Programme for People Living with Disability for the Kwara State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development which will be submitted to the Kwara State House of Assembly for it passage May this year changed his impression about PLWD.
He was confident that there will be light at the end of tunnel for PLWD in the state, adding that their interests are being given utmost priority by the present administration in the state.
“During the three days deliberations, organized by an International Agency known as Leprosy Mission Nigeria, my personal encounter with some of the people living with disability I met and established contact with at the end of the assignment not only changed my sense of reasoning towards them, but got me convinced beyond reasonable doubt that there is in indeed ability in disability.
“Let me state that, in the effort to reposition our brothers and sisters living with disability, there should be no short cuts, our solutions must be united by one common thread, the focus on innovation towards that direction must be collectively championed.
“In the main, I am confident that today’s gathering will help in opening the vista of new ideas and refreshing strategies through which our media organizations will help in further showcasing the people living with disability to the next height it deserves.
“From this event, I look forward to seeing a Nigerian media industry positioned to embrace the culture of accepting people living with disability with both arms more than ever before irrespective of their tribes, religions or political affiliations.
“My passion and concern for people living with disability, who I see always as members of my family might have accounted for my choice of invitation.
“Just this year, May to be precise, I was privileged to be part of the team that developed a 5 year Strategic Plan for Rehabilitation Programme for People Living with Disability for the Kwara State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development which will be submitted to the Kwara State House of Assembly for it passage” he said.
Gbenga added that life will be better, refreshing and whortwhile if all and sundry, irrespective of social, economic and physical differences, are given adequate and unbiased consideration in the scheme of things.