By Abimbola Johnson –
President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointment of a visually impaired man, Dr. Samuel Inalegwu Ode Ankeli as his Senior Special Assistant has generated various reactions from Nigerians.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, had announced on Monday that Ankeli would be responsible for Buhari’s dealings with persons living with disability.
While some Nigerians think that it is worrisome that Buhari decided to appoint a disabled person on his team, others are applauding the move of the federal government.
A Nigerian, who pleaded anonymity said he was disappointed that Buhari appointed a visually challenged man, adding that the president should not have tasked Ankeli with the responsibility of dealing with disabled persons, as such a task was a tedious one and needed a physically fit individual.
The source further said that it was obvious that president Buhari, who had faced criticisms for lack of diversification and inclusivity in the areas of gender, youth and demographic representation was trying to make things right. The source, therefore frowned at this latest appointment.
The source said, “President Buhari appointing a blind man as a senior special adviser, is a worry for most Nigerians, because as a human, the eye is said to be the most important organ of the five major sense organs in the body, and if you can’t see physically, you can’t advice a person, not to even talk of the president of Nigeria, in a time like this.
“Even though he is the Senior Special adviser for the less privileged, I would recommend he appoints a person with either hands or leg disability, not a blind or a dumb.
“Don’t you think that the adviser should be able to see what he even wants to advice the president?” the source asked.
Another Nigerian, Raymond Imoudu, who spoke to The Whistler, commended president Buhari on Ankeli’s appointment.
He said, “The appointment of Dr. Samuel Ankeli, has gone far to show how people-sensitive the Muhammadu Buhari government is, in carrying everybody along irrespective of their religion, ethnicity or abilities.
“Dr. Ankeli has proven to be a great hand and has a great mind and vision as well, this has shown in his activist days before the campaigns, during and after the APC’s campaign.
“He is going to help the administration in bridging the social and psychological gap amongst those living with disabilities. This is a plus for the Buhari administration and Nigerians should continue to give him their best support.”
Also speaking, a Nigerian who simply identified himself as Solomon, said the appointment is a good move as those with special abilities are given a chance to feel loved and appreciated.
“Being blind does not hinder his abilities to work. It is mostly in Nigeria that you see physically challenged as intellectually handicapped. People without arms and legs go to work in developed country with sound mind. To be blind is not a crime,” he added.
On his own part, one Agboola Oluwasanmi, said that if Ankeli was the special assistant on blind people, it would have been better.
According to him, “a blind man does not feel what disabled people feel.
“I can assure you that he would not even give Buhari a rational advice. He won’t deliver on the expected results”
Nigerians, therefore called on Buhari to apply caution and sensitivity as he engages on his appointment spree, as all would be affected should in case a wrong person is appointed.