Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Tuesday 6th December 2011

...everybody was equal albeit for a few hours.

I looked forward to the rally last week and ...completely forgot about it this morning. Fortunately, my friend L texted me asking me where I was when she couldn't find me.*shock horror*
*Wheew* I got there quite alright and met cars queuing up for miles on both sides outside the National Assembly(NASS) gate. A sight cheered up my spirit when I got there. Loads of PDs in nice colored shirts(which youu'll see in the videos). Most who were mobility challenged were strategically positioned at the gates. Ha! Who would have the guts to roll down on wheelchair-bounds and those on makeshift manual trolleys. I was impressed that none of them were harassed by the police or any security detail. Harassment of Persons With Disabilities is usually the order of day in NGR. Rifle buttings on the head, barks and scowls. Not today! Instead some policemen were even fighting themselves and giving the rest of us the luxury to film them on our phones and cameras. *sigh*
My friend L went along with Gov Al-Makura, former Senator Bode Olajumoke (who tirelessly pushed for the passage of the Disability bill on the floor of NGR's upper House during his time as a Senator in the last dispensation) and a couple others into the 'hallows'. The rest of us were feeling chuffed to cause a bit of a commotion among the normally impatient and ruly Abuja drivers who wanted to enter or exit NASS.
The general mood among the rally participants was one of bated hope. People hoping against hope. Hope for wider recognition of their basic human rights. Hope that people would finally understand that it is NOT charity that PWDs want. Hope that people would finally get that disability is not a crime. Hope that others realise that they could get a disability tomorrow and that disability is not a choice. And of course, hope that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria would make a fist around a pen and sign the National Disability Bill indelibly into law. And thus make 22.5million PWDs (and their families and communities) happier. Is that too much to ask for?!!?
I had a lot of interesting conversations particularly with blind and mobility-challenged who came for the 'sensitisation' rally. I must say that the blind in particular inspire me. I was told a story of how a blind man actually and thoroughly enjoys a game of football by visualising ....from a radio commentary!
I think that the police had just a wee bit of humanity and became 'our friends' just for that time...

Please bear with me; I am quite tired right now and I promise to finish up later.

PS Finally I get to upload a video. Some notes of warnings...the video is more than 5minutes long- (BIG APOLOGY TO THOSE VIEWING IN PLACES WITH POOR INTERNET CONNECTION); the quality is uhmmm..... please bear with me! I WILL get better with time!!. If I can get hold of some photos, I'll put them out here.

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