GOODWILL MESSAGE BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, HIS EXCELLENCY, SENATOR (DR.) ABUBAKAR BUKOLA SARAKI (C.O.N) ON THE OCCASION OF THE 12TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE KPAKPANDO FOUNDATION FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES – HELD AT THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE, ABUJA ON 30TH OCTOBER, 2017.
1.I thought it was very important for me to be here today to support this very worthy cause. The 12th Anniversary of the Kpakpando Foundation For Persons With Disabilities is indeed a very significant milestone in the life of an organisation that had been in the trenches, working for the upliftment of the physically challenged in our society.
2.I thank the Distinguished Senator Osita Izunaso, APC Publicity Secretary, and the visionary who started this initiative. And I must tell you that there is nowhere else I would rather be at this moment. That is how important the work of the Kpakpando Foundation is to me – as I believe it is to all of us here present.
3.It gives me great joy to see how far this organisation has come in over a decade of positive impact on the lives of some of the vulnerable persons in our country. We should all take pride in the work of the Kpakpando Foundation and appreciate its immeasurable contributions. This Foundation proves, every day, that there is ability in disability. It works tirelessly to empower our Special Citizens to live more meaningful lives, enabling each and every one of them to make his or her own contributions to the growth and development of our country.
4.Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my firm belief that everyone is born with potential, everyone is born with talent and ability, everyone can make a positive impact on the lives of others and to their community, and to society as a whole. Those living with disability among us can contribute just as much as the so-called able-bodied, if not more. Persons With Disabilities don’t want our pity; they just want the opportunity to contribute their quota. That someone is physically or otherwise impaired, should not mean that they should be condemned to a life of begging or dependency.
5.The Kpakpando Foundation recognises this and works daily and tirelessly, under the visionary guidance of Distinguished Senator Izunaso, whose foresight in initiating this organisation, cannot be commended enough. This is a shining example, worthy of emulation. I have paid close attention to the activities of the Foundation over the years, and I marvel at how much has been achieved. This is an organisation that caters to the needs of over 5000 Persons with Disabilities. Thousands have benefitted from the provision of Healthcare, wheelchairs, canes and other materials that aid and enhance daily activities, thereby helping to increase the quality of life for our Special Citizens. Scholarships, computers, sewing machines and other appliances have been made available, to enable Persons With Disabilities to fend for themselves and their families. All these, enhance the self worth, independence and economic potentials of Persons With Disabilities. The list is endless, when we talk of the Kpakpando Foundation’s areas of intervention in the lives of the Persons With Disabilities.
6.And yet, there is still so much that needs to be done, to minimise the sense of alienation that can be experienced by Persons With Disabilities. We must pay attention; we must not look the other way. We only need to look on the streets of our major cities to see the often unacknowledged and marginalised among us, who live on the edge desperation. We not only owe it to help them achieve a more fulfilling existence, we should also do our best to help them realise their God-given potentials.
7.Any society that embraces the promise of the future must care for Persons with Disabilities. There are many success stories around the globe, of Persons With Disabilities who have helped to transform the world, from musicians Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles to Professor Stephen Hawking, author of ‘A Brief History of Time’. Closer to home, can one quantify the contributions of musician Cobhams Asuquo – and the joy he has contributed to our lives?
8.Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, you will all agree with me, therefore, of the indispensability of the work that the Kpakpando Foundation does on behalf of all of us. I call on each and every one of us to support this work in cash and in kind, and help raise awareness about this brave endeavour. Let us think upon the ways in which we can help to advance this cause. Nothing is too little, no effort is too small. I might also add, that nothing is too big or too much.
9.In the 8th Senate, we are committed to seeing better provisions for Persons With Disabilities, whether it is through legislation that will increase access to education, health and other welfare facilities – or even a requirement for all public buildings to have wheelchair access and other facilities for the physically challenged. We will continue to work with the Kpakpando Foundation, to look into ways of enhancing the lives of Persons With Disabilities. You can count our unflinching support.
10.Once again, I commend the hard work, vision and commitment of Senator Izunaso and his team in the organisation. Long live the Kpakpando Foundation.
Thank you for listening.
PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE