Metaphor of drug tests for aspirants – Vanguard

The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, retired Brigadier-General Buba Marwa, ruffled the feathers of politicians when he wrote the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, requesting drug tests on all aspirants of the party.

Although he made it clear that the tests will also be administered on aspirants of all the political parties heading for the 2023 general elections, many questioned his motive for writing only the APC when he could have fired off letters to all political parties at the same time.

He was even accused of targeting some of the party’s aspirants who have shown obvious signs of compromised health.

Since there is no law that compels aspirants to undergo drug screening before their candidacies could be validated, politicians can exploit the legal loophole to evade the exercise. Without a legal compulsion, political parties can simply reject the request, especially as aspirants are the major party funders.

These notwithstanding, we commend the NDLEA boss for coming up with this idea which is already being implemented among staff of his agency.

The NDLEA had also recently approached tertiary institutions to partner with it to establish NDLEA units on campuses for screening, rehabilitating, counselling and sensitising staff and students who need help.

We believe the idea is a noble one, particularly as it pertains to the targeting of those aspiring to lead us. We all know that poor leadership is the main problem of Nigeria at all levels of governance. The law already provides for security screening for aspirants to elective and appointive offices. Prospective political officeholders are also made to declare their assets at the Code of Conduct Bureau, but all these and more have failed to achieve their intended purposes.

Security screenings have also failed to stop enemies of the nation from infiltrating our high offices to collaborate with terrorists, bandits and armed herdsmen endangering the lives and property of innocent Nigerians. It did not stop those whom former President Goodluck Jonathan described as “Boko Haram in my government” getting in.

As a nation, we must take a number of drastic measures to ensure that those aspiring to lead us are people who are suitably qualified not just academically but also in good psychological, mental, overall health, security and integrity standing.

We must attack the disease of poor quality leadership materials at the source through appropriate screenings.

Political parties which are supposed to play the role of screening out people who are unfit for public office have failed across board to carry out this function. They have thrown open elective offices to the highest bidders, not minding the damage that such people will wreak when elected.

We must take leadership recruitment very seriously.

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