FIVE months after the National Assembly dispatched the nominations for the National Assembly Service Commission, NASC, to President Muhammadu Buhari the President is yet to formally make the nominations as required by the provisions of the National Assembly Service Commission Act.
The Act requires the President of the Senate in consultation with the Speaker of the House of Representatives to make nominations to the 13-man Commission.
The Commission is the supervisory body over the National Assembly bureaucracy with powers and functions equivalent to that of the Federal Civil Service Commission, FCSC.
The unique crafting of the law establishing the Commission was a diplomatic play in the doctrine of separation of powers. While giving itself the power to nominate persons to serve on the Board, the National Assembly nevertheless recognised the fact that only the President of the country can make nominations into boards of Federal Government commissions.
It was in that light that the legislature conferred the right to the President to formally make the nominations forwarded to it by the National Assembly.
This is explained in Section 3 (3) (3): “The President of the Senate shall, upon consultation with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, submit to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a proposal list out of which the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall nominate for appointment, the Chairman and Members of the Commission.”
Section 5(3) of the Act specifically gives the President 30 days to make the returns to the National Assembly once he has received them.
This procedure has been followed since the establishment of the first Board under the chairmanship of Mr Ishaya Akau from Kaduna State in 2001.
However, nearly six months after the list of nominations for the next Board was forwarded to the President and acknowledged by the Presidency, the appointments are yet to be made.
This is not just a violation of the law establishing the Commission, it has also caused the delay of recruitment and other staff issues which the Commission should attend to.
Buhari’s mandate has been renewed. It is an opportunity for a new beginning and righting of all wrongs noticeable during his first term.
One of these challenges is to know where to draw the line between petty partisan squabbles and putting the right people with proven competence on the job without minding their religious, ethnic, gender or political backgrounds.
The Board of the NASC should immediately be appointed to enable it to grapple with the needs of the Ninth National Assembly which will be inaugurated next month.
It is an issue of urgent national importance.