The Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KAINSEC) has said the introduction of compulsory drug test for candidates in the forthcoming local government elections was as a result of the prevalence of drug abuse in the state.
The chairman of the commission, Professor Garba Ibrahim Sheka, who made this known during an exclusive interview with Chronicle, said the commission considered it a good idea “because Kano is a major state with that problem, so we have to start checking from this level; if you know you are going to contest and lead people, you must be free from drugs.”
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Sheka also said all political parties participating in the election must support the resolution as the law establishing the commission empowered it to introduce the condition.
“The law governing this commission has given that leeway for us to introduce guidelines and it is written in our guideline that you must be tested before the election and once you take our form, it means you have accepted it.”
However, Yusuf Ibrahim Sharada, an aide to the 2019 gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kano, Abba Kabir Yusuf, said KANSIEC lacked the basis to subject aspirants to a compulsory drug test.
Sharada further stated they had reservations on the matter and on the possibility of participating in the election, as PDP in Kano State was awaiting further instructions from the national leadership of the party.
He said the decision ought to be backed by law as legislation was required to make the request legitimate for all political parties.
Meanwhile, the State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has directed all cleared contestants for the forthcoming local government election to subject themselves to the compulsory drug test.
The Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, who disclosed this in his office while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the State Executive Council meeting, said the decision was part of government’s effort to rid the state of illicit substance abuse.
Similarly, a letter signed by the Permanent Secretary, Research, Evaluation and Political Affairs, Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Hajiya Bilkisu Shehu Mai Mota, stated that the state government had requested the National Drug Laws Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Kano Command, to conduct drug screening test on all candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) participating in the election.