Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Physically challenged persons celebrate appointment of visual impaired as permanent secretary

By Okechukwu Onuegbu

The Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), Anambra State chapter has commended the state governor, Willie Obiano for confirming and swearing-in a visually impaired person, Azuka Ofomata as a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social, Children and Women Affairs.

Ofomata, a former Director of Rehabilitation Department in the Ministry of Social, Children and Women Affairs, was among the nine distinguished civil servants the governor in a meeting of the State Executive Council held at the Government House, Awka on 27th February, 2017 performed their swearing ceremony as permanent secretaries of their respective ministries.

Others elevated from the post of Directors include Linus Nwankwo, Chukwudi Ike, Nneka Ezeanya, Patricia Ezeaku, Emeka Ohuoha, Stephanie Keri-Uzor, Caroline Njaka, and Pauline Nwandu.

Speaking through a press release jointly signed by the Anambra State Chairman, and Secretary of JONAPWD, Lawrence Nwanolue, and Ugochukwu Okeke, described the new permanent secretary as person with proving records of dedication, and diligent to duty over the years.

They said that, “Despite that he was stagnated for many years in a particular rank as a result of his visual impairment before the intervention of the former Governor of Anambra State Governor Peter Obi who made it clear that disability is not incapacitation and directed that he should be promoted to the rank of director alongside with other visually impaired in the civil service that are qualified for the same position.

“However, his recent appointment as a permanent secretary is another mile stone of His Excellency, Willie Obiano who not only made history to be the first to appoint a visually impaired person into such prestigious rank in the civil service in Nigeria but also proved once again that every hard work deserved its reward despite the nature or disability of the person involved and his recognition has proved that disability does not mean inability”.

According to the JONAPWD executives, “APGA government is a disability friendly government, and only the state government which has given us participation in every developmental processes. He first appointed one of our own, Chuks Ezewuzie, a physically challenged legal luminary as his SSA on disability matters.

“He also, okayed employment of over 50 members of ours who are degree holders into the state civil service despite the economic crunch in the nation, built accessible rehabilitation centres at Oba and Aguleri, rehabilitated special school for the Blind at Isulo, empowered persons with disabilities with tools such as grinding machines, sewing machines, shoe making tools, Laptops, provision of micro credit facility etc.

“We therefore called on Ndi Anambra with disabilities to stand out from their inside and shun self-pity as well as low self-esteem and believe in themselves so that the potentials God deposited in them would be properly utilized for the benefit of the society while we call on Government to continue to provide access and equal opportunity to persons with disabilities to enable them make meaningful contribution for the development of our nation and this could achieved through making good laws and policies that will protect the rights of every citizens including persons with disabilities.”

During the ceremony, it would be recalled that Governor Obiano explained that the new permanent secretaries were selected on merit, and urged them to abide by the Oaths they had taken and ensuring that they bring their wealth of knowledge and experience to bear in transforming the State Civil Service.

He also disclosed that a one-week training programme would be organized for the new Permanent Secretaries on the programmes and policies of his administration for them to effectively play their expected roles in driving the vision of the state government. 

The Head of Service, Harry Udu, on his part, disclosed that the governor's approval for the appointment was in line with his total commitment to the repositioning of the State Civil Service and ensuring that the machinery of Government is continually fine-tuned for optimal service delivery.

Responding on behalf of the new Permanent Secretaries, Oformata thanked Governor Obiano for the appointment and promised that they will put in their best in the discharge of their new offices. 



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