RECENT agitations for and against the dissolution of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, are reflective of the self-centred zealousness that has derailed the attainment of the goals of the regional development agency.
The NDDC was conceptualised at the advent of the Fourth Republic with the specific mandate of ensuring the development of the Niger Delta region. The establishment of the agency followed years of caustic relations between successive federal administrations and the people of the region which peaked with the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni Nine in November 1994 and the upsurge of militant agitations of Ijaw warlords in the creeks.
The establishment of the Commission followed decades of neglect in the development of infrastructure and the degradation of the environment of the region as a result of the unbridled exploitation by oil producing companies which paid scant attention to their host communities.
However, the mandate of the Commission has repeatedly been derailed by the intrusion of political considerations both by board members and stakeholders. The agitation on the tenure of the present board is the latest intrusion into the normalcy that is needed for the execution of the mandate of the agency.
The present board which has Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, SAN, as the Chairman and Mr. Nsima Ekere as the Managing Director, was inaugurated in November 2016.
The current rumpus rocking the Commission followed allegations by Senator Paulker Emmanuel (PDP Bayelsa) that moves were being made to “extend” the tenure of the Ndoma-Egba led board. He argued that the present board, being the “continuation” of the board led by Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw, should end in December 2017.
The Senate referred the issue to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Mr. Boss Mustapha, who affirmed that since the Ewa-Henshaw board was dissolved its lifespan had ended. His assertion that the board headed by Ndoma-Egba has a tenure of its own has given a clear government perspective on the matter. Besides the Ewa-Henshaw board, the tenure of the preceding board led by AVM Larry Koninyan was also subjected to tenure dislocation.
We strongly believe that the frequent mid-way termination of the tenures of the NDDC boards foist a politically-motivated culture of instability on the Commission and contributes to its dwindling effectiveness in delivering its core mandates. This should stop. Those appointed should be allowed to complete their tenures so that their performances can be tracked and evaluated.
The agitations and unnecessary politicisation that go with the life of the boards of the NDDC have assumed very worrisome proportions. The security of tenures of the boards of the Commission should be guaranteed to allow those mandated to work for the good of the people to concentrate on their duties.