|This image was culled from CBM & DRAC|
Society still treat issues with disabilities and persons with disabilities with disdain due to wrong or negative misconceptions they have held for long and festering in the society. Despite contemporary modern times fast paced growth and development, issues with disabilities still takes the back burner in the society why??
Therefore, I want to examine various ways some persons who can help the course and causes of disability, who should be seen as people with the "midas touch", people who can mold opinions and help in immeasurable way to ginger disability to take front burner in the society and most importantly who can help in passing the disability law and change conditions of persons with disabilities for the better.
THE TRADITIONAL RULERS
Every society respects its traditional institutions. These traditional institutions are as old as humanity itself. Every society has a mechanism through which laws and regulations are dispensed and co-ordinated. Therefore, the royal leaders: Kings, Queens, Duke, Duchess, Obas, Obis, Emirs, Sultans, Emperors, Chiefs, Princes and Princess etc are important in molding opinions and regulating the direction a society should take. Their role is very important in shaping the destiny of people living with disabilities because they can offer advice, counsel, and influence decisions.
Its believed that if their Imperial Majesties, Royal Majesties, and Royal Highness-es, as the case may be, lend their voices to support disability causes, inclusion and mainstream of people living with disabilities in the policy and governance, in their country, chances are that their voice and support can change direction of disability causes and destiny of people living with disabilities.
Let me give a picture about what I am driving at; I knew of an Oba in Yoruba land, South West, Nigeria who fully supported three (3) persons with disabilities in his domain. Two among them are physically challenged, one uses wheelchair as a spinal cord injury while the second person uses crutches and braces as a polio survivor. The Oba in question personally took over their welfare. He was the one who helped in sponsoring their education; he simply helps found some wealthy persons to donate towards the education of the three disabled persons. After graduation, he referred them to some people in government to help them secure jobs.
As they are now working and making progress in life, two of them opted for their own business. Its the same Oba that assists them to be able to raise capital to start. They were successful in their endeavors and to appreciate their Oba, anytime they are coming home, they will buy some gifts for him. This story teaches that our traditional rulers have a role to play in changing destiny of disabled people in their domain or country.
THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS
Karl Marx said that: "religion is the opium of the people". It hypnotized the adherents and has powerful effects on their spiritual and mental state. This in effect suggests that religious leaders can influence their followers to accept persons with disabilities; change their orientation and thinking to the course and path of disability and development.
Religious leaders be it orthodox and traditional religions: churches, mosques, shrines, including Pastors, Pope, Imams, Traditional religion priests and others, can influence their followers and adherents both positively and negatively. Therefore, its assumed that if these religious leaders "shook their mouths" and lend their voices to advance the cause of people living with disabilities, there will be some progress and change in the mindset of an average worshiper in their thinking and orientation towards people living with disabilities.
THE TOP ECHELONS OF THE ARMED FORCES
Every nation has its own Armed Forces. This may consists of the Police, Army, Naval and Air force.
The top brass in the military for example: General Officer Commanding (GOC), Flag Officer Commanding(FOC), Chief of Army, Naval, Air force and Inspector General of Police carry lots of influence which if exercised or used can impact many lives. What is more, some of these military top brass have persons with disabilities within their families too, this supposed to pitch them in the vanguard of disability advocacy and campaign efforts.
CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRIES
The CEOs of businesses and industries that shaped a country's destiny also have a lot of role to play in influencing disability issues and development in their countries. Because, the companies and business concerns both public and private are concerned with profits and growths of the economy. Part of their profits is donated towards charity. In essence, businesses regulate the life of any nation. Sequel to that, these captains of industries and business concerns can influence destiny of many people living with disabilities if they give their support.
VOLUNTARY AND NON - GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS
Many voluntary and Non Governmental Organizations have as part of their core values, respect for human rights, human worth and dignity. It has been noted that several organizations are driven and propelled by forces to better humanity and remove all kinds of barriers to good living and equality of mankind. In view of the above, these voluntary and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are better equipped to partner with persons with disabilities in their campaign for better society and end to all discrimination.
Students by their orientation, are trained to discern the good and the bad and support social justice, fairness, equality before the law and rule of law etc. Therefore, students, with their slogan: "Aluta continua, Victoria ascerta" are viewed as partner to the disability movement in the fight against oppression in the society.
Written by Mr Adewale Adeyanju & Chidi Olujie
Edited by Chidi Olujie
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