BY MAYOWA SAMUEL
Barthiya Wesley, a physically challenged lawmaker representing Hong Constituency, has emerged the Speaker of the 8th Adamawa State House of Assembly.
With his election, Barthiya became the first physically challenged person to be elected leader of a legislature, a critical fulcrum of government.
Though he was not born with a disability, Barthiya survived a crash earlier in life, leaving him with one of his arms amputated.
Recall that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in its 61st session of the General Assembly by resolution A/RES/61/106, states the criteria that establish disability.
It says, “Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments, which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”
Therefore, Barthiya’s election as Adamawa Speaker is seen as a new chapter in Nigeria’s democracy.
Similarly, another first in Nigeria is the current Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Umo Eno, a man living with albinism.