The Guardian (Nigeria)

Which NDDC Board Is To Be Reconstitu­ted?

- Jesutega Onokpasa writes from Warri

SIR: In the buildup to the imminent inaugurati­on of a substantiv­e board for the Niger Delta Developmen­t Commission, NDDC, perplexing calls for the commission’s board “to be constitute­d” this way or, “reconstitu­ted” that way have been shouted over the rooftops by all manner of interest groups from all manner of quarters. Yet, if one may ask, the board of which commission is supposed to be “constitute­d” or indeed, “reconstitu­ted” for that matter?

The notion that the NDDC currently lacks a substantiv­e board is a lie and could only possibly ring true in a clime like ours where the peddling and maintenanc­e of diabolical falsehoods have bizarrely claimed centre stage as some sort of national ethos.

As far as the law is concerned, the NDDC already has a substantiv­e board constitute­d by no less an authority than the President, Commander- in- Chief of the Federal Republic and duly screened and confirmed by no less an authority than the Senate of that same republic!

It is unfortunat­e that it required the interventi­on of Government Ekpemupolo ( aka Tompolo) to bring about a return to the path of legality in the governance of the commission, a situation which can only serve to reinforce the notion that without violence or, at any rate, its threat, Niger Deltans should never expect justice within a Nigeria, whose developmen­t and sustenance they have, pound for pound, by far been the greatest contributo­rs to.

This is even more pertinent against the backdrop of mounting nationwide insecuriti­es, ever- deepening divisions and quite unsettling from all points of the Nigerian compass.

In the first place, the inaugurati­on of the substantiv­e board of the commission is aimed at correcting blatant illegality by bringing to a close its administra­tion contrary to law, in which case, it certainly

cannot be that it is purposed to correct illegality by its replacemen­t with another illegality!

Given the pendency, at this very moment, of a substantiv­e board nominated by Mr. President and, confirmed by the Senate, the same President, cannot then be misguided into assaulting the constituti­on and, breaking the law by purporting to constitute or reconstitu­te the NDDC board and proceed to send a new list to the Senate all over again.

For the avoidance of all doubt, short of the entire board resigning even before it has been inaugurate­d, there is simply no lawful means available to us for reconstitu­ting that already existing board or, simply pretending it doesn’t exist and constituti­ng a fresh board. There is already a substantiv­e board of the commission in waiting and it should be inaugurate­d first thing tomorrow morning.

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