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Saturday, 27 January 2018

2019: Presidential candidates must undergo compulsory health tests — NMA, CMA



In a bid to ascertain the health fitness of future Nigerian presidents, the Nigerian Medical Association and the Commonwealth Medical Association have said presidential candidates should henceforth be made to undergo compulsory health tests before the 2019 elections.

This, they said, would help reveal the health status of presidential aspirants starting from next year ’s elections.

The medical associations also said they would love to be involved in assessing the candidates ’ health status , asking Nigerians to push for the exercise to be made a part of the electoral process.

Though they believed that any leader could fall ill at any time , they said knowing the candidates ’ health status would help to avoid a situation whereby the President ’ s illness would hold the country “hostage ” as experienced in the past.

The Vice - President of the Commonwealth Medical Association and a former President of the Nigerian Medical Association , Dr . Osahon Enabulele , said that his position had always been that presidential candidates should be subjected to health test so that Nigerians would know if they were medically fit to hold the office.

Enabulele said it should be a requirement in the country ’s electoral process, saying he was in full support of the test.

He said, “I even canvassed for this at the National Conference . However, the selfish interest of the political class has not allowed this to happen and so they have been holding us hostage.Nigerians have always borne the brunt of this selfish interest . The case of President Buhari is not the first and may not be the last unless Nigerians push harder and back compulsory health test for presidential aspirants."

“The time has come for us to ascertain the health status of anyone who aspires to lead us . And this is not about a candidate just presenting a medical certificate to the public; medical reports can be purchased . The health test should be conducted by trusted persons and I ’ ll love to be involved . Though ill health is something no one proposes , at least let ’s start getting things right. It ’ s a way of moving this country forward . ”

During the first two years of his administration , President Muhammadu Buhari’ s frequent medical trip to London had generated so much controversy amid calls that his health status should be revealed to the public.

First , the President had on February 5 , 2016 , barely a year into his administration , gone on a six - day vacation to London, the United Kingdom , to see his doctors.

Then , on June 6 , 2016 , four months after he returned from his first trip , he took another 10 - day vacation to London to see an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist . Two days after the trip , Buhari confessed that he was suffering from a “ persistent ” ear infection.

On January 19 , 2017 , he again jetted out of the country to London for a 49 - day medical break . After he returned, he admitted that he had never been that sick in his life , adding that he would again embark on another medical trip in the future .

This is also similar to late President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua.

In order to avoid such situations in the country again, the President of the Nigerian Medical Association , Prof . Mike Ogirima, said the NMA was willing and ready to carry out the medical test for all presidential aspirants so as to ascertain their medical fitness.
He said , “ If Nigerians want us to subject presidential candidates to medical test , we are ready . It ’ s a welcome idea . You know recently that the Emir of Kano [ Muhammadu Sanusi II] called for a law to compel Nigerian political and religious leaders , including lawmakers and governors, to undertake drug test , saying that he too would be happy to subject himself to the test."

“ He said anybody with an element of drug abuse found in him should quickly resign as he is not fit to hold a public position."

“ Ideally , if anyone is about to be employed in an organisation , they are subjected to a pre - employment medical test . Similar tests should be carried out on all presidential aspirants seeking to hold the most important office in the country . And the test should be as comprehensive as possible . ”

Asked if the NMA would be willing to assume the responsibility of assessing presidential candidates ’ health status, Ogirima said the association had the facilities to conduct the exercise.

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