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2023: IPAC slams NDLEA, rejects drug test for presidential aspirants

A coalition of 18 political parties under the aegis of Inter Party Advisory Council has rejected the proposal that political parties should make drug integrity tests part of the screening requirements for aspirants seeking to contest political offices in the 2023 general election.

The organisation described the proposal by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency as outrageous and a deliberate attack on the sensibilities of lovers of democratic governance in Nigeria.

The Chairman of NDLEA, Brigadier-General Mohammed Buba Marwa (retd.), had asked political parties to make drug integrity tests part of the screening requirements for aspirants seeking to contest various political offices in the 2023 elections on their platforms.

But the National Chairman of IPAC, Yabagi Sani, in a statement on Friday insisted that the proposal portrays politicians as drug addicts who must be certified fit to run for various elective offices by the NDLEA.

While demanding apology from the agency, Sani said there was no justification for the extra constitutional requirements as proposed by Marwa.

He said, “IPAC demands an apology from NDLEA and strongly warn the anti-narcotic agency to desist from impugning on the character and integrity of politicians including those contesting for president who are patriotic, highly respected, well accomplished statesmen and women with proven integrity. There should be a limit to rascality in the discharge of public duties.

“It is amazing that Brigadier General Buba Marwa (retd.), who lacks the audacity to make similar proposal to the nation’s armed forces that have on several occasions “accidentally bombed” civilian settlements killing innocent citizens including children in the course of military operations to get ride of terrorists, insurgents, militants and bandits should target politicians who are working assiduously along with fellow compatriots to build a strong, virile, united, progressive, egalitarian and decent democratic nation.

“It is high time we begin to show regard for the nation’s political leaders as obtainable in other democracies.

“IPAC strongly condemns drug abuse by misguided citizens and urges NDLEA to discharge its duties in tandem with the law establishing it. A nation is governed by the rule of law, not by impunity.”

Sani maintained that political parties’ activities are guided by the 1999 constitution as amended, Electoral Act 2022, INEC guidelines/regulations and respective parties’ guidelines.

“This is the position of the Supreme Court ahead of the contentious 2003 general election where it held that INEC had no power to impose nomination fees on aspirants vying for elective offices outside the requirements provided by the constitution. This is the clear position of the law and the position of IPAC for aspirants seeking political offices in the 2023 general election. Political parties will not be distracted by this absurdity.

“IPAC will continue to uphold democratic ideals, ethics and ethos as we jointly build a better, greater and prosperous democratic society”, he added.

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