Politics begins at one’s Ward or Constituency level is one truth that has come to stay. If you want to be known among your kinsmen and family or relatives and town’s people, the right place to start is at one’s Ward level. There you will be well known and may be recommended to represents the Ward as a Councillor, House of Assembly member, recommended for political offices like Commissioner, Special Adviser and even get backing of your Ward to contest at Governorship and Presidential position levels. It all depends on which position you are after; once your Ward or Constituency can back you up, you are good to go!
At the Ward’s level, there’s low participation of the Deaf Community. For example, there are over 337 Wards in Lagos State. If you ask these Wards Chairmen if the Deaf attends their Wards meetings, few will answer positively. And if you ask the Deaf why they aren’t showing interest in their Ward’s meetings, they will tell you they can’t just flow with proceedings without an interpreter!
When goodies are being shared therefore, and people are being nominated or elected for posts, the Deaf are always left out. If you ask the Ward’s Chairmen why they don’t support the Deaf participation by helping them to pay for sign language interpreters, they will give all kinds of excuses. And also include among the excuse that the Deaf are yet to complain.
There we go. When will our Wards Chairmen starts helping us to pay for sign language interpreters? Even, most significant is that, members of a Ward, when they see that there are Deaf persons in their Ward, why not they take interest in learning the sign language and thereby assist in bridging the communication gaps? Someone said until Disability Bill is passed before all these inadequacies are addressed but I beg to differ. The time to address this communication gap is now. The Deaf are also enjoined to train their children and relatives in sign language so that they are not left out in the scheme of things. Inclusiveness cannot just happen if we don’t fight for our place no one will fight for us. By Engr Bima Abdullahi, Deaf Coordinator.