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Aliyu Betara, Best Man For 10th Assembly Leadership

Sani Tureta highlights the qualities that rightly position Hon. Aliyu Betara as the best man for the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the next 10th National Assembly

Since the dawn of Democracy in 1999 and the birth of the fourth Republic to date, power-sharing among the six geo-political zones is a convention easily adopted by political parties to address Nigeria’s regional and religious diversities.

This theory of political exigency in power-sharing also cascades to the allocation of offices after the election of presiding officers of both chambers in the National Assembly.

Interestingly, both the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) as ruling parties have had their members in the National Assembly torpedo power in the 2011 and 2015 elections of Presiding Officers in both chambers.

In the year 2007 easily referred to as the 6th House of Representatives, the 360 members from the then-ruling PDP, ANPP and AD were initially led by Hon Patricia Olubunmi Etteh; a South-South Christian from Osun and Babangida Seidu Nguroje, a Northeast Muslim from Taraba State before they bowed to pressure and threw in the towel following the rebellion against the leadership. The two leaders were believed to have been foisted on an unwilling House which kicked against the PDP. The party became helpless once the members from all the parties were unanimous to force them out. Thereafter, Honourable Oladimeji Sabur Bankole, the youngest Speaker from Ogun State and Honourable Bayero Nafada from Gombe state were elected to serve the House.

In 2011, members of the PDP, again, being in the majority ignored the party leadership to install Rt. Honourable Aminu Bello Tambuwal from the North West as the Speaker and Hon Emeka Ihedioha from the South East as the Deputy Speaker against the choice of Hon Mulikat Akande from the South West.

However, as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) completes the conduct of the 2023 elections at the Federal and state levels, and with the composition of members from the parties now in numbers after handing over the certificate of return, it is getting clearer that as the jostle for the  Principal Offices begins, the North West has produced the most Speakers of the House of Representatives while the South East and North Central zones have produced the most Senate Presidents and Deputy Senate Presidents.

When the 10th National Assembly formally convenes in June after the dissolution of the 9th Assembly, one Honourable member of the House that has become a positive feature in the last five Assemblies is being favoured to lead the House of Representatives. He is Honourable Muktar Aliyu Betara, an accountant and high-ranking lawmaker who was first elected into the House in 2007 to represent the Biu/Bayo/Shani Federal Constituency.

Betara has become a strong force to reckon with in his state and the National Assembly since winning elections for the first time in 2007.

The successes of the current budgeting system now in place by the Federal Government could be attributable to his efforts in the 9th Assembly that first sat on the 11th day of June 2019. As the current Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, presiding over all other committees regarding appropriation and committees of both chambers for the budget and subsequent signing by the President, he worked so hard to ensure compliance by all organs of government. Betara indeed succeeded in causing the positive change from the June – June budget cycle to the much-preferred January to December for more effective oversight and implementation.

It was indeed during the period that the Appropriation Act 2022 and the 2022 Finance Act 2021 were passed and reenacted for the third year running with zero failure rate. This makes proper preparation and fiscal changes by stakeholders easier while implementing the budget.

Having won elections again for the 10th Assembly which marks his fifth term under the ruling APC, the detribalised Betara whose impressive leadership character has endeared him to agencies and colleagues in the National Assembly, it will surely be fitting to elect him as the first among equals to lead his colleagues.

A party man to the core and nationalist, he has been consistent with presentations and contributions to national and international issues in the House, 2007  when he was first elected to the House he acted as the Chairman of the sub-committee on NDIC, Banking and Currency and equally serving as a member of the House Committee on Customs, Immigration and Prisons Pension Office

Again, when he returned to the 7th Assembly and following the collateral damage caused by the Boko Haram terror group, the House leadership was unanimous to select him as Chairman of the Committee on Army where he made direct recommendations to empower and sustain the activities of the army against the rising insurgency in the Northeastern part of the country.

As Betara returned to the 8th Assembly in the year 2015, he moved further to serve as the substantive Chairman of the House Committee on Defence but he is more renowned as a bridge builder and crisis management expert with critical decision-making skills in the National Assembly. On several occasions, his national and bridge-building skills were called to action when he brokered the logjam between the House, the Senate, and MDAs on fixing the actual budgets and critical projects that needed pruning down of numbers to meet realities of inflow into the national treasury. He not only settled the issues, but he equally followed them through to ensure that critical projects were prioritised.

One of the few lawmakers easily described as not being obstinately unreasonable, prejudiced, or antagonistic towards people based on their affiliations or membership, his constituents and colleagues in the Green chambers of the National Assembly are quick to say that his legislative interest is not localised in his immediate village but strong interests in National Security, youth and women empowerment, good governance and development that saw him construct 20 health centres, 10 ambulances, a mini stadium and installation of over 600 solar-powered street lights.

A devout Muslim married to Hajia Hauwa with whom he has four children, he deploys personal resources to fund transplant surgeries and empower individuals and local businesses in his constituency. Betara who worked as an accountant with the Presidency on the Directorate of Foods Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFFRI) between 1986 to 1990, returned to Ramat Polytechnic for his studies observing the NYSC in Asaba Delta State before joining the defunct NITEL in 1993. He resigned in 2006 to venture into politics.

Though he was not intent on politics at the initial stage he won his election into the House under the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and is one of the few members that has consistently won reelection 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and now the 10th Assembly under the APC as a core party man who won the Democracy Heroes Award as the Best performing member of the House in 2020.

With the controversies surrounding the conduct and results of the 2023 elections into different elective offices, the party at the centre will no doubt find Betara very useful if they listen to his colleagues who want only the best to lead them for the next four years.

Source: thisdaylive