By Uche Amunike
The disability wing of the All Progressives Congress (APC), under the aegis of the Progressive Disability Forum (PDF), has sounded a note of warning to the party against capitalizing on former Governor of Nasarawa state, Tanko Almakura disability as a basis for disqualifing him from running for Chairmanship of the party.
This concern was raised by the PDF National Coordinator, Abdulaziz Onibare, in a letter addressed to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) and released to journalists in Abuja on Sunday.
According to the letter, Onibare stated that using Tanko Almakura disability as an excuse to disqualify him from contesting for chairman of the party would mean contravening the National Disability Act and its constitution.
Part of the letter read: ‘It has come to our notice that some group of people are moving around castigating the person of His Excellency, Senator Umaru Tanko Almakura, questioning his capacity on the basis of his disability. They didn’t question his capacity when he was contributing his millions, time and energy for the progress of the party.’
He further stated that it would be wrong to use Tanko Almakura disability as a yardstick to measure his competence in being the party Chairman because he has given great representation to the disability community these past years and has paid his dues as far as the APC was concerned.
He went on to plead that Almakura’s contribution to the party is not allowed to count for nothing, even as he lamented the continued marginalization of the PDF by the leadership of the APC, considering that they have never been given the opportunity to hold any tangible position in the party.
He pleaded that the former governor is given the chance to lead APC to a resounding victory in the coming 2023 elections.
‘We should be given the opportunity to lead this party, and our disability cannot be counted as a barrier. Hence, we felt it a point of duty to emphasize it’, he maintained.
As more and more Nigerians expressed concern over Tanko Almakura disability, especially as it concerned the noise and rowdiness that characterize political activities on election days and the possibility of him successfully managing party affairs with his hearing loss, the Tanko Almakura Campaign Organisation Spokesman and Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Segun Tomori assured that his principal used hearing aids and as such, would not have any impediments in playing his part well.
He assured that Almakura will strengthen all he has done in the past and allow access and more opportunities to persons living with disability because he understands their pain.
Hear him: ‘he has a hearing impairment so people with disabilities are his natural constituency. We should not be debating that because he is part of the constituency’.
He stressed that the former governor will always protect the interest of the disability community in the party.