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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Why Betara should lead the 10th NASS

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By Abdulrauf Mohammed
It is a rare thing to have Nigerians appreciate the work of a Lawmaker at any level, given the public perception that the National Assembly is peopled by self-serving men, yet that is what the people of Biu/Bayo/Shani/Kwaya Kusar Federal Constituency where seen doing in a trending video on Youtube; they crowdfunded the purchase of the nomination forms of Aliyu Muktar Betara, a sixteen-year veteran of the Hallowed Chamber.

The people of Betara’s constituency trooped out in their thousands to contribute the required funds to send their illustrious Representative back to the Senate because, in the words of former Deputy Governor of Borno State, Adamu Shettima Yuguda Dibai, “People cannot repay him for what he has done for them”.

The people’s enthusiasm indicates that Batera is a man that understands the place of Justice in a powerful set-up as the National Assembly, and if anything, he will be in a position to use that power to empower the people beginning from his colleagues in the 10th Assembly down to his constituents and Nigerians at large.

Indeed, Batera’s sense of justice comes across in the Appropriation Committee, which he headed in the 9th Assembly. An otherwise, sensitive Committee that is historically prone to complain about how revenue is shared among the federating units uncharacteristically became quiet during his term, signaling satisfaction in his handling of their dues according to rules of equity and justice. It was a tenure that also saw a timely passage of the appropriation bill to fit the fiscal calendar that commences in January. This has greatly helped in the budget performance, which shot up to 75 percent in 2022 from less than 50 percent in previous years; 89 percent capital release in 2021.

Members of the NASS will be led by a team player who plays for the team. It is recalled that he was in the race to become the Senate President of the 9th Assembly but because of his team-playing attributes, he stepped down for the incumbent, Femi Gbajabiamila and this was despite, a good majority already calling him ‘Head Boy” alluding to his leadership qualities and impeccable credentials for the role.

In stepping down, despite all the odds, favouring him, he displayed that beyond being a Party man, his overriding desire is the development of the country. Such a selfless man is needed at such a time that Nigeria needs the kind of leadership that will steer it to a respectable country among the committee of nations.

The 10th Assembly needs such a committed veteran to mentor the 140 freshman members not only to navigate their ways in the Chamber but also to help them direct their respective geniuses and patriotism to the ultimate interest of the country.
Batera who entered the NASS in 2007, has been overheard on many occasions talking about the capacity building of fresh members. This indicates an interest to see them contribute effectively to the needs of their constituents. It also shows an officer interested in the welfare of his younger, less experienced colleagues.

Betara reportedly entered the race for the House of Representatives on the platform of the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) and got elected as the member representing the interests of Biu, Kwaya Kusar, Bayo, and Shani Federal Constituency at the House of Assembly in 2007.

Since then, he has been re-elected three times, emerging as one of the few members to have served in the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth assemblies in Nigeria, with the current and immediate past tenures secured on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Posts held in the House of Representatives
Between 2007 and 2011, Betara acted as Chairman of the Sub-committee on NDIC, Banking, and Currency. He also served as a member of the House Committee on Interior and was subsequently appointed as Chairman of, the Sub-committee on Customs, Immigration and Prisons Pension Office (CIPPO).
At the seventh assembly (2011 to 2015), he was appointed as Chairman of, the House Committee on the Army, directly making recommendations to empower and sustain the activities of the army against the rising insurgency in the Northern region of Nigeria.

From 2015 to 2019, Betara served as Chairman of the House Committee on Defence. He is the current Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, presiding over all other committees regarding the appropriation process in the House of Representatives.[9] Under his leadership, the committee has succeeded in having the June-to-June budget cycle changed to a preferable January-to-December one for more effective budget implementation.[10] As a result, the Appropriation Act, 2022, and the Finance Act, 2021 have been passed and enacted respectively for the third consecutive year without fail, enabling all stakeholders to prepare adequately for any fiscal changes.

Legislative Interests
Betara has been lauded for his critical decision-making and crisis management skills in the House. His legislative interests include Youth and Women Empowerment, Developmental Governance, Health, Education, Social, and National Security, as well as providing equal opportunities. He is believed to be responsible for the construction of 20 healthcare centers, 10 ambulances, a mini-stadium, and the installation of more than 600 solar-powered street lights in his constituency.

Betara has received the following awards;

Democracy Hero’s Award for Best Performing Rep Member of the year, 2020.[13]
Award of Excellence by the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), North-East Zone, 2013.
He is also a member of the Nigeria Institute of Management.

Mohammed is a Public Policy Analysts based in Abuja

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