Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
A former paralympian, Vitalis Lanshima, has declared his intention to seek elective office in the House of Representatives in the Jos North/ Bassa Constituency under the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Lanshima, who is an indigene of Plateau State and lived in the United States of America for over 15 years, made the declaration yesterday at a news briefing, pledging to empower the poor.
In year 2000, Lanshima represented Nigeria at the Paralympic Games in Australia and set three world records in 100, 200 and 400 metres.
He was subsequently recruited and awarded an athletics scholarship in the US, becoming the first international Paralympic athlete to compete for a college in the US.
Lanshima was 12 years old when he was electrocuted after the crossbar he was holding, when practicing high jump at the University of Jos inadvertently touched an electric high-tensioned power cable.
The accident dashed any hope he had of becoming successful in life and escaping poverty as it resulted in the amputation of both his arms.
He only enrolled in J.S.S. I at the age of 18 after facing rejection from several schools on account of his disability
The business community leader is the first person with disability to serve in the elected office on Louisville Metro Council in Kentucky in the US.
He said as a member of the House of Representatives, he would work with other members to find ways to stimulate economic development in Nigeria, work for lasting peace in the country and ensure transparency.
“Transparency is the best disinfectant to fight corruption and that is my keyword. I will ensure that every penny allocated to my constituency is published online for easy tracking by the public.
“I want to create a Nigeria that traveling on its road is not a suicide mission. We want a Nigeria where a child who lives in Bassa Local Government has equal opportunity with a child in Dubai.
“With my wealth of experience as a metro councilor in Louisville, USA, I can contribute to make Nigeria a beacon for Africa.” Lanshima promised yesterday.