Says new rule for psychiatric evaluation of erring motorists not needed
By Sola Ogundipe
A professor of Psychiatry at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu campus, Professor Jude Ohaeri has advocated for psychiatric assessment of leaders, politicians and other public officials before they assume office.
Ohaeri, however, said the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, requirement of mandatory psychiatric evaluation of traffic offenders, may not be necessary.
“It is neither here nor there to subject people to these evaluations, but they may be necessary at a stage,” he remarked during the 14th annual scientific conference and gathering of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, CMUL, themed: “Mental Health in recessed Economy.”.
Presenting the Guest Lecture entitled: “Mental Health Promotion As a National Development Strategy: The Role of Professionals in the Field” , he said: “For instance, when you want to go to the university, we do not wait till after you enter before applying the tests on you.
“We test you before you apply. You go through aptitude tests before you are allowed in, so we should be doing this evaluation at a level before people contest.
“If we do it for people entering university, what is wrong in doing ot for people going to be public officers? Public officers affect our lives through their actions, so we have a case for doing it for them if we are doing it for university students who do not have anything to do with our lives.”
On the need for psychiatric evaluation of road traffic offenders as required by the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, he argued that such test was not really necessary.
“There is already a need that if you are depressed and taking psychiatric drugs, the drugs affect your motor coordination and you should not operate machinery. There is already the rule about that so you cannot start bringing other rules. They do not need another rule. They should just implement what is on ground. Calling for a mental health promotion policy in the country, Ohaeri said: “I do not know how many people are killed on the roads, but I think our lives are affected more by what happens in Aso Rock, and the various State Houses. I think more lives are put in danger by their actions.
“What I’m saying is that we have to do something called mental health promotion in order to make sure that people who aspire to heights of public office are people who in general have the element of humanity.
“When you are depressed, the law bans you from contesting for anything on earth, but then if you are not depressed you could be deficient in altruism, kindness, and good neighborliness and when you become whatever you want to become, you bring all those deficiencies into whatever you are asked to do and that is the problem we are currently facing.”