The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) of Nigeria has kicked against the recent proposal to subject all political parties to drug integrity tests, to form a part of its screening perquisites for aspirants seeking political offices in the much anticipated 2023 general elections.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), had earlier made a proposal which required political parties to carry out drug tests on all their aspirants running for political offices in the country.
National Chairman, IPAC, Yabagi Sani expressed disdain over the proposal, describing it as “outrageous, outlandish, preposterous, despicable and deliberate attack on the sensibilities of lovers of democratic governance in Nigeria.”
“The awkward proposal portrays politicians as drug addicts who must be certified fit to run for various elective offices by the agency. It is reprehensible and unacceptable,” he was quoted saying.
The chairman went on to demand for an apology from NDLEA for demeaning political candidates, saying it showed pure disregard and respect for the character and integrity of reputable people gunning for government offices within the country.
“It is high time we began to show regard for the nation’s political leaders as obtainable in other democracies.
“It is obvious that political parties’ activities are guided by the 1999 Constitution as amended, the Electoral Act 2022, INEC guidelines/regulations and respective parties’ guidelines.
“There is no justification whatsoever for extra-constitutional requirements as proposed by the NDLEA.
“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 elections,” Sani stated.
In a final note, the IPAC chairman said the council was strongly against drug abuse, and would on no account, compromise to the set rules and standards of its modus operandi.
He went on to encourage NDLEA to continue to discharge its duties effectively within the frameworks of its establishment.