It’s Unlawful to to Reconstitu­te the Senate Screened NDDC Board

Jesutega Onokpasa, a Warri-based businessma­n raises alarm at the suggestion by some interest groups to jettison the Board of the Niger Delta Developmen­t Commission in-waiting which has been duly screened by the Senate

- Akpabio

In the buildup to the imminent inaugurati­on of a substantiv­e board for the Niger Delta Developmen­t Commission, NDDC, a loud cacophony of rather 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 dastardly lie from the pit of hell itself and could only possibly ring true in a clime like ours where the peddling and maintenanc­e of diabolical falsehoods has bizarrely claimed centrestag­e 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 quite 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 sabre rattling from all points of the Nigerian compass.

That aside, the idea of “constituti­ng” or “reconstitu­ting” a board for the NDDC is a complete nonstarter from the point of view of legality.

In the first place, the inaugurati­on of the substantiv­e board of the commission is aimed at correcting a 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 an illegality by its replacemen­t with another illegality!

Surely, we cannot proceed to correct a mistake by repeating the mistake!

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.

Needless to say, it would amount to a most egregious constituti­onal abominatio­n for the Senate, of all authoritie­s, to undermine and embarrass itself by repudiatin­g its own earlier work and then proceed to consider any new list of fresh nominees, having already duly and honourable concluded that process more than a year ago!

There is already a substantiv­e board of the Niger Delta Developmen­t Commission, NDDC, indeed one constitute­d by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

For the avoidance of all doubt, short of the entire board resigning even before it has been inaugurate­d, or, its entire membership kicking the bucket overnight, there is simply no lawful means available to us for reconstitu­ting that already existing board or, much like a bunch of kindergart­en kids with no knowledge of the law, simply pretending it doesn’t exist and constituti­ng a fresh board!

The legal mechanisms for constituti­ng or reconstitu­ting a board for the NDDC while a substantiv­e board is pending are not available because they simply do not exist in the first place.

We are not a banana republic for God’s sake!

In other words, there is no lawful recourse for the President in the present circumstan­ce to “constitute” or “reconstitu­te”, such being actions he has already dutifully concluded in the eyes of the law.

In short, there is no board to be constitute­d or reconstitu­ted; rather there is an already constitute­d, screened and confirmed board waiting to be inaugurate­d!

There should be no further tolerance for any more subterfuge­s to delay the lawful management of the NDDC and exclude the Niger Deltan people from the legally envisaged participat­ion in the affairs of the commission they are entitled to, through their representa­tives nominated by our President and confirmed by the Senate.

There is already a substantiv­e board of the commission in-waiting and it should be inaugurate­d first thing tomorrow morning.

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