More than 18 political parties in Nigeria are gearing up for the 2023 general election to take over the government from President Muhammadu Buhari, who is leaving the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in a year after two terms. now says it needs to be involved in the process by conducting drug testing for all applicants.
NDLEA Chair Buba Marwa has written to all political parties to support the application to participate in the screening to be checked.
The Constitution and Electoral Law do not require drug testing for candidates and the Electoral Commission is not bound by NDLEA’s request.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has done so major political parties listed, such as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who are expected to be the main contenders for most positions.
Not excluding appointments
< p >Mr Marwa said the tests would not be limited to elective office-seekers, but other appointed office-holders. “We have campaigned and will continue to campaign for drug testing of politicians; Some state governments like Kano are already doing this and not just politicians but for all government officials.
“And I just sent a letter this morning to the national chair of APC who will be the first of the national working committee would like I am going to see an attorney on the matter.
“I have recommended that drug testing be included in the screening process for anyone seeking to run for public office. We will do the same for all parties,” Marwa said.
“Given the rampant drug use by some officers, it’s good that we test them and know how mentally and physically fit they are. It is important that politicians cooperate to enable competent and qualified individuals to take up leadership positions,” he said.
According to him, if the candidates fail the drug test, they should not be allowed to run in any elections , not just presidential elections, but every electoral office.
“Sometimes you wonder what their problem is when you see officials doing something. Obviously it’s a result of drug abuse,” he said.
Political parties on the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) platform have called NDLEA’s call an affront to politicians.
< p>IPAC Chairman Yabagi Sani said the statement was outlandish and inappropriate.
“It is absurd and an affront to the political class,” Mr Sani said, describing it as rascality of the highest order .
“I’ve never heard of a country where people who want to govern are asked to undergo drug tests.
“Marwa shouldn’t tell Nigeria such a thing . Contesting an election is a serious matter. This announcement is misguided,” Sani added.
PDP reviewed all of its presidential hopefuls on April 29 in preparation for the primary. It disqualified two and retained 15, including former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi.
Other contenders include former Senate President Bukola Saraki; the current Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nysom Wike; Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto; Bala Mohammed, governor of the state of Bauchi; and Udom Emmanuel, governor of Akwa Ibom.
APC has not yet started screening its 15 contenders, including the party’s national leader Ahmed Tinubu and current Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Others who have expressed an interest in the presidency include Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi; Ondo Governor Kayode Fayemi and Ex-Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosu; Labor Secretary Chris Ngige.
Other political parties are Omoyele Sowore, a journalist, and Kingsley Moghalu, a retired Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
INEC requires from all 18 registered political parties to submit the names of candidates for various electoral positions before June 4 for the elections that would take place in February 2023.