Bathiya Wesley makes history, becomes first Person With Disability (PWD) to emerge as speaker in Nigeria

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Barthiya Wesley has made history as he becomes the first physically challenged person to be elected leader of a legislature in Nigeria.

Wesley was elected and sworn in as the Adamawa State House of Assembly Speaker today, June 13, 2023, during the inaugural session of the state’s 8th Assembly.

Bathiya Wesley represents Hong constituency within the same Adamawa Central Senatorial District, where the immediate past Speaker, Aminu Iya Abbas hails from.

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Also sworn in at the House of Assembly Complex in Yola was the new deputy speaker, Buba Mohammed Jijiwa who represents Jada MMbulo State constituency of southern Adamawa. Both speaker and deputy were elected unopposed.

With his election, Barthiya became the first physically challenged person to be elected leader of a legislature, a critical fulcrum of government.

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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 Speaker of is seen as a new chapter in Nigeria’s democracy.

Similarly, another first in Nigeria is the current governor of Akwa Ibom state, Pastor Umo Eno, a man living with albinism.

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