Sunday, 25 June 2017

N’Assembly rules out medical test for presidential aspirants

Members of the National Assembly have ruled out the possibility of recommending compulsory medical evaluation for future presidential aspirants.

Some Nigerians had urged the federal lawmakers to seize the opportunity of the ongoing constitution review process to insist that all presidential aspirants should undergo medical tests to ascertain their health status before vying for the office.

They made the call against the backdrop of the failing health of President Muhammadu Buhari, whose second round of medical leave to the United Kingdom is 50 days old today.

The late President Umar Yar’Adua also faced similar health challenges spanning several months before he eventually passed away in 2010.

However, the legislators who spoke with SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday, argued that such legislation, either by a clear provision in the constitution or an amendment of the Electoral Act 2010, would not guarantee the life of a presidential aspirant.

The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitution Review, when contacted through his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Uche Anichukwu, said the clause had not been considered.

He also ruled out the possibility of recommending such in the ongoing exercise.

“That is not included in what has been done so far and I don’t think such will be recommended for now for obvious reasons, especially with what is currently going on in the country,” he said.

Also, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Health Services, Mr. Chike Okafor, noted that while a medical evaluation was a “brilliant idea,” it did not guarantee good health or life.

He observed that a presidential aspirant could present a fitness certificate or be certified fit by an approved body before the election, but could die the next moment.

Okafor added, “If at the point of vying for the election, he was certified fit, but he becomes ill soon after taking the oath of office, what happens? Otherwise, the idea is good.”

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