Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji has said that his administration would ensure that people with special needs and students of Special Schools in the state get the desired attention with the appointment of a Special Adviser (to the Governor), in charge of people with special needs.
This, according to the Governor, will give the physically challenged people a voice in his administration and help redress their usual agitation over neglect. The occupant of the position would be someone with requisite knowledge in special education and who has genuine passion for welfare and wellbeing of the physically challenged.
Governor Oyebanji made this known on Saturday when he made a surprise visit to the State Special School for the Blind in Ikere Ekiti. He said people living with disability are special to his administration and that his government would work hard to bring out the best in them.
Oyebanji, who was conducted round the school for an on-the-spot- assessment of facilities by the principal, Amogbonjaye Felicia, assured the students and teachers that the school would witness a facelift that would make the environment more friendly, accommodating and conducive for learning.
The Governor, who was accompanied to the school by the Secretary to Ekiti State Government, Dr Habibat Adubiaro, Head of Service, Barrister Bamidele Agbede, Special Adviser on Media, Yinka Oyebode, and other top government officials, appealed to the well-to-do in the society to come to the aid of people living with disabilities. He said individuals can adopt some of the special students or volunteer to fix facilities in their homes and schools, in order to compliment government’s efforts.
Recalled that he appealed to his friends to make contribution towards his last year birthday to the three special schools in the state, the Governor said he was happy that the donations yielded a good result as the proceeds from the birthday were used in renovating the school’s hostel.
Governor Oyebanji spent some time singing and addressing the students after assessing the state of facilities at the school. He urged them to see themselves as specially created by God for a purpose, adding that they are as precious to God as other children and should not feel inferior to anyone.
The Governor said: “I want to let you know you are not an accident, God created you for a purpose and you will fulfil the purpose. I have come to let you know you are not inferior to anybody and to assure you that your government, the government of Ekiti State will stand by you, we will partner with you in a way and manner that it will give good meaning to your lives.
“I assure you, there will be changes, there is ability in disability and we will work so hard to ensure that we play up those abilities in you.
“We are going to have a Special Adviser for people with special needs and our special schools so that you can stand alone and have someone in the cabinet that will be speaking for you.
“You will recall that when I celebrated my birthday last year, I appealed to my friends that they should convert their gifts to donations to the special schools in the state. I am glad today that the money they made from my friends is being used to renovate the school and it speaks to the fact that we can be our brother’s keeper.
“I am using this opportunity to appeal to people that God has blessed to please come to the aid of People Living with Disabilities, government cannot do it alone but as government, we will continue to do our best to ensure we give them the best”, the Governor said.
The Governor later presented cash and material donations to the school. He also made a personal cash donation for the sponsorship of five students for further training in arts and craft at a training school in Lagos, as requested by the students.